Empty Stalls, Empty Beds

Most of the animals we keep were acquired when our children were young.


Our oldest animal, a goat (The Old Lady), died at the ripe old age of eleven just a few months after Hans left us.  She was one of our original breeding stock and was a sensible and reliable animal.  But one day the old gal just couldn’t get up any more.  She was healthy, still enjoyed a day in the sunshine, but she was done and she let us know it.  Just a goat, but another break with The Way Things Used To Be.

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A few months later our buck, whom we never did name, who gave us mostly little bucklings just like himself, and on whom the whole operation depended, turned up dead in his pen one crisp fall morning  with no explanation.  Just old and unwilling to face another winter I guess.  So, Rosebud (The Old Lady’s daughter – sleek, spunky, and psychologically unbalanced), is the only resident ruminant on the place now.  And that’s fine with her – she likes the extra attention.  However, for some odd reason, she did not conceive this season.  We are blaming the old buck, though I cannot believe a male goat ever loses his vigor no matter how old he is.


Then the rabbits started dying, one by one.  I had forgotten that when we brought them home, we were still driving the old Custom Cruiser station wagon which was our main vehicle when the children were growing up.  Hans was very attached to “The Cruiser” and planned on restoring it someday.  He made a fairly good start on the rust repair some years ago, but then moved on to other things.  Sometimes I look through the clouded windows at the empty plush maroon seats.  There is junk in it from that last trip to town, still on the floor, and the seat belts are flung here and there like they were just unbuckled by sticky little hands.


With most of us working the seasonally frantic Alaskan summer schedule, we did not fish or hunt moose last year – a serious blow to the meat supply – so we had to purchase meat from a farmer, a whole cow and pig, instead.  Hans was so excited about getting that beef, meat acquired without him having to slog around in the wet underbrush on a frigid morning.  “I can’t wait to eat those steaks” – he must have said it daily during the months we waited for the farmer’s call to come pick up our meat.  And he did call, a few days before the crash.  The last meal I cooked for Hans was pork chops – he never did get his steak; not one bite from that cow after all those months of waiting.  The farmer had custom packaged everything for a family of six.  Six steaks, six chops, etc.  in each package.  So, for a whole year after Hans left us, we had one extra steak.  It was strange to see it laying there on the platter at the end of a meal, another silent reminder of The Way Things Used To Be.

We lost a couple chickens over the winter, which is not unusual, but a loss just the same.   And the regular local moose performed a severe and unwelcome pruning job on my roses, including the ones I planted at Hans’ resting place.  The cat walked off one day and never came back.  And our dog, our daughter’s dog, actually, has a few gray hairs and is beginning to move a little slower.  I would rather not lose the dog any time soon.


Then our daughter moved out – not far, just down the highway – but now there are two empty beds in the house instead of the one.  Not a problem, just emptiness where sweet treasure used to sleep.

So we are in the midst of some changes right now.  Some big, some smaller.  All under the complete control of our loving Lord.  I am definitely sensing that one season of life is drawing to a close and another is beginning.  I have never been a big fan of change, especially major ones.  Change can be unsettling and is often inconvenient.  But after giving Hans back to the Lord, most of these changes barely register on my Richter scale.

I do not know what the Lord has planned for us.  I rest in the fact that He is God and He knows what He is doing.  I began this journey without knowing all the twists and turns it may involve.  But my Captain knows all.  I do not need to fret or peer over His shoulder to make sure He is on the right course.

I am just along for the ride wherever He takes me.

I trust the Captain.

Because I know Him.

And He knows me.

This is peace.


18 thoughts on “Empty Stalls, Empty Beds

  1. Rachael Yenna

    Your faith is a beautiful thing to glimpse into, Kim. . . And you writing is so personal, I cry every time. Miss you all. Maybe you need a vacation to Craig? Much love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Rachael. We miss you guys a lot. Love seeing the pictures of all those little (and not so little) Yennas. Thought of you as I flew into Sitka a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t mind a trip to Craig – such a beautiful part of Alaska. Thanks for your sweet words. ❤️


  2. Kim
    Thank you for sharing your family with us. Your words are inspirational and steeped in you faith in our Heavenly Father. I lost my 18 year old son (Curt. 4/29/68-2/18/87) almost 30 years ago, then his Dad Bruce, 15 years later. God be with you and your family. ✝️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sandy

    my Lydia took her life January 20, 2016. I will never see her again. she didn’t believe in God. I just can’t wait to die to be out of this pain.


    1. Sandy, I know this time of year is hard – especially as the anniversary date approaches. I am so sorry you are hurting. I pray God would grant you His peace. Stay close to Him.
      From my post: “Not Sure” – “The worst sinner in the world can, while taking his last breath, cry out to God from his heart for mercy… while I am quite certain I will see Hans again, I can only be certain to a point. I cannot see into Hans’ heart the way God can. I cannot know his profession of faith was authentic. I can look at Hans’ life; I can remember his words and what he told us he believed, but I can only be one hundred per cent certain of my own salvation.
      Likewise, you cannot be one hundred per cent certain that your child is eternally lost. Not knowing for sure, you will suffer. But there is hope. And there is God. The God you can trust. Even with this.” https://youcantrusthim.com/2016/10/23/not-sure/


  4. Pingback: Re-Post: Empty Stalls, Empty Beds | You Can Trust Him

  5. Kim, thanks for sharing. Ugh. These departures hurt…at all different levels. My remaining son told me last week that he thinks he’ll be out of the house by the end of the year. I had to bolt to another room so he wouldn’t see my sadness. I can’t hope to keep him here forever to help fix me after losing his brother – it’s not fair. He’s 27 and has been saving up to get his own place. I would have been sad even if we hadn’t lost Ian 7 months ago. It’s just a bit harder now, but I am truly happy that he is continuing his life and not stuck in grief. I thank God for that. We are, indeed, on this journey planned by God. So, I must trust that it all works out. Thanks again for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s good to know I am not the only one struggling with these things. Emptying nest on top of bereavement on top of middle-age stuff. Sometimes I feel like such a cry-baby. You said it…Ugh!.


  6. Jennifer Morrow

    Your word rung true for me as well. Lost my son Taylor for years ago… Lost three dogs, one after the other. It hurt but nothing has come close to the loss of my sweet son. I will never view life the same. Change is hard… my youngest moved out two weeks ago…i cried for days. He lives 10 minutes away…i just can’t explain the loss i feel. The ranch is quiet…too quiet and i feel like a new chapter has begun. Lord give me strength….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jennifer, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear Taylor and that you are hurting. I know just how you feel. It just hurts. I am praying for strength, too…for both of us. For all of us.


  7. Brandy Davenport

    Love this one, Kim. Especially the pictures! May our Lord continue to comfort your heart thru the losses and remind u of his goodness. I love u, Brandy

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  8. The details are slightly different but every word rings true for me as well. It was coincidental that a number of our animals “aged out” in the year after Dominic left us for heaven. Every death was a reminder that nothing stays the same. It was also a reminder of the high cost of sin. I used to tell the children that when they were young-that one day there would be no more death and no more sadness. Oh, how I look forward to that day now!

    Liked by 1 person

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