It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. Ten days ago I lost my brother in law, Jason. Jason was only 41 years old when he slipped and fatally hit it head. He wasn’t found until the next morning and all efforts to save him ultimately failed. The family is understandably devastated. Jason was such a generous soul. Here he is setting up the swag that his brother, Jamie (my husband) and I slept in when we first bought our new property.
Another thing that Jason loved to do was burn big bonfires and they were the tidiest bonfires that I’ve ever seen. This one took place a few weeks ago, just before the fire season started. He was always very responsible and was so looking forward to helping us clean up our property once the danger period was over.
We moved to our new home on 30th November, our youngest son’s 18th birthday. It’s a ten acre property on the Surf Coast of Victoria about a 20 min drive inland. It’s a beautiful property with so much birdlife, as I type I can hear so many birds twittering away. On the day that our son entered adulthood another tragedy was about to unfold. While we were busy unpacking, our blue staffordshire bullterrier Rex got into the next door neighbour’s yard and attacked their baby goat, the neighbour’s screams brought us running. Having always lived in houses with fences this was something that none of us had ever experienced with Rex – he was always such a gentle soul with even the smallest child. I guess we were naive, Rex was just following his instincts, which, as we were to find out later, possibly saved our lives. Unfortunately the goat didn’t survive, it was too badly injured and here’s where my instincts took over – something I never knew I had in me. The goat was suffering and I knew it had to be put down but to call in a vet would have taken too long. I won’t go into details but I was able, through sheer compassion, to put the goat to rest. It certainly wasn’t the best way to be introduced to your neighbours. Understandably upset, the mother of 3 wanted Rex reported to the council, we knew this wouldn’t end well for Rex. Immediately we build Rex an enclosed area and I assured her that I wouldn’t let him off his lead if he wasn’t in it and I hoped that she’d reconsider. Our son was devastated, he’s had Rex since he was nine and they’d slept together every night since. It was just awful. Here’s Rex in his enclosure. He didn’t like it one bit.
As it was our son’s party was the next day, a Saturday, we asked that the neighbours hold off reporting him to the council until the Monday and they agreed. Now I’m not sure if I believe in Karma but what happened next seemed very Karmic to me. The party was held on the property. Two fires, one for our son and his friends and one for the “grown ups”. I let Rex out of the enclosure and put him on a long lead tied to tree. He could move about freely among us and was happy enough doing that. A friend of ours, Ross, who is a transplant recipient (kidney) was clearing a path between the house and the area that we were all sitting in. His wife and I were inside doing something when we hear, “Snake! Snake!” We ran to the back door in time to see Rex trotting back to Jamie. The snake was dead and I knew Rex had been bitten, this was his second snake bite. As I went to him he reared up and collapsed. We rushed him to emergency but it was too late. He wasn’t breathing on his own and even though they gave him a shot of anti-venom he was going to need another as well as having to be put on a ventilator and still with no guarantees of survival. It was going to cost thousands, money we didn’t have and so we made the very painful decision to have him put down. We didn’t tell our son until the next day.
So the month of December has been full of beginnings and endings. It’s been such a difficult time and I’ll be glad when this year is over. We will miss Jason and Rex so much and are ever grateful that Jason was able to donate his organs to 3 people and that Rex very likely saved Ross’s life as organ recipients have very compromised immune systems and wouldn’t likely survive a snake bite.
Here are some pictures of happier times. And as you can see below, one of the most beautiful beginnings is our niece Jaya – she will miss never knowing her Uncle Jason but we will keep his stories alive and believe me there are so many of them to tell. RIP dear Jason, you gave us so many laughs with your quirky ways. We will miss you terribly.