Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

There are defining moments in a relationship that help foster an even deeper connection than before. These junctures are often heavy, damp, and impossible to fully comprehend unless you personally experience them. Some of ours include those horrible minutes leading up to the first deployment, me waking up from an emergency D&C to him crying by my side, and this morning when we laid on the floor of the vet office cradling our beloved dog as the sedative took effect.


We said goodbye to Lucy this morning. Through our tears, we told her how much we loved her, how much joy she brought to our lives, and how we’ll eventually see her on the other side. We nuzzled against her head as we stroked her back in hopes to comfort her. She’ll always be our first baby –  we will miss her terribly.

Like a lot of military couples, Clay and I spent our engagement and first six months of marriage apart. But by the summer of 2005, we were living together in Fort Drum, New York and wanting to adopt a new member into our little family. From the moment we saw Lucy frolicking with her brothers and sisters, we knew we were meant to take her home.

During her puppy months, we’d run across the Madison Barracks parade field in Sackets Habor with Lucy nipping at our calves. She swam in Lake Ontario with the biggest grin and she’d accompany us on walks into town for coffee at Chrissy Beanz Bakery. That winter, we felt like the happiest family of three that ever did live. She was 7 months old when Clay deployed to Afghanistan.

It was just me and Lucy for the next 16 months. She’d lick my tears when I received bad news and she’d be waiting by the door wagging her tail when I’d return from a memorial service. She kept me company when I’d go weeks without word from Clay and slept next to me every single night because she knew I was scared. And when Clay returned home, we resumed our roles as the happiest family of three.

Over the years, she vacationed with us, moved with us, and saw us add more team members along the way. She sent Clay back to Afghanistan and whenever he’d walk through the door after yet another Army-induced separation, she’d run up to him with her whole body wagging with excitement. She loved our children and never showed jealousy when we brought them home. Her nightly checks included popping her head into their rooms to make sure that they were asleep and safe. And when I had my miscarriage, she laid next to me in bed with her head in my lap. For as much love as we showed her over the years – she gave us more.

Lucy managed to visit 30 states during her life. She absolute loved road trips to see our family – swimming in the Atlantic Ocean outside of Wilmington, North Carolina and being on the boat on Lake Lanier, Georgia. She seemed happiest when at the Great Lakes – she swam in both Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario countless times. And she broke through waves in the Gulf of Mexico and even hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail. 

December 17, 2018

We took one last family picture this morning. It will take time for us to adjust to life without Lucy and work through our grief. Lucy was always more than just a pet – she was a full-fledged family member. And she just happened to be the best damn dog that ever did live.

A Holiday Pops! Home for the Holidays NSO Concert

Last night was truly a magical holiday-themed evening that culminated with snow falling from the ceiling at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as the National Symphony Orchestra, Ashley Brown, Santa Claus, and the Washington Choir sang We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

A Holiday Pops! Home for the Holidays NSO Concert

Founded in 1931, the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) presents approximately 175 concerts each year. As part of their ongoing Notes of Honor: NSO Salutes the Military initiative, the NSO has offered a free holiday concert in collaboration with the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore for all members of the armed forces, veterans, and military families for the past three years. We were lucky enough to score tickets and so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to attend such a great event.

 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

It was our first time seeing a performance at the iconic DC landmark. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, commonly referred to as The Kennedy Center, opened in 1971 and hosts roughly 3,500 performances each year (check out this NY Times article from 1971 about the structure – “[Washington DC]… is the home of government of, for and by the people, and of taste for the people—the big, the bland and the banal. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, opening officially Wednesday, does not break the rule.”}. Attending a performance at the Kennedy Center has been on my list as a must-do during our time in the nation’s capital so I spent the evening wide-eyed with a big grin on my face.

NSO Holiday Pops! Concert

When we attended the NSO concert on the Capitol lawn on Labor Day, one of our favorite parts was when the orchestra played Armed Forces Salute, which is a melody of all the service songs. Veterans and those currently serving are invited to stand when their branch song is performed. So last night, because the majority of the audience were military-affiliated, the concert hall was booming as soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines sang along. I get chills every time.

 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Notes of Honor

We all agreed that it was a spectacular night. I love that our children enjoy attending such events and it truly is a joy to watch them develop an appreciation for the arts. 

 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

So thank you NSO and the Notes of Honor program for putting together such a spectacular show for military families. We can’t wait to go again next year (assuming we are still stationed here..ha!).