My plan today was to post about the metal stand Mr. Wonderful made a few days ago.

Just one thing: some days don't go according to plan.

Just after twelve o'clock today, we received a phone call from a lady we didn't know.  She was so sorry, her car had just hit a dog on the road by our house. 

Our dog.  Our Cruise. 

30 minutes earlier, I was in the middle of a chocolate bread recipe when I realized it called for applesauce and I had no applesauce.  I told the kids to sit tight, I'd run down the hill to the store and be right back.

I was only gone 30 minutes.

Cruise loves to go with me in the car, and when I climbed into my Suburban headed to the store, he pranced all around at my feet.  But he wouldn't jump in the car.  I almost lifted him ~ he was just being silly ~ but then I actually told him outloud, "Okay, if you're not climbing in, you'll have to stay behind."

As I pulled out of our driveway, I saw him sitting at the top watching me leave.  He tried following the car once before, but hadn't done so in several months.  Since he was sitting down, I assumed he'd stay in the yard.

But he didn't.  Apparently he tried to follow me down the hill, but he couldn't catch up once I was on the highway.  And a lady hit him.  And now he's gone.

I was pulling back into our driveway when I got the call from her.  She was crying, so upset because she has dogs, too.  She told me where Cruise was lying.  I drove back down the road a few hundred feet and found him there beside the road.  Lying so still, like he was sleeping.  There was no blood.  He just wasn't there anymore.

The kids are devastated.  I've never heard my house this quiet.  We cried and held each other as we laid Cruise on a blanket in the garage.  We were able to say good-bye as we petted his still-warm body, our tears dripping into his fur.

We dug a hole under some birch trees in our yard and laid him on his dog bed in the hole.  The kids each put a special token of their love for him in the hole, too.  A necklace.  A carving.  A written name.  We each took turns telling Cruise how much we loved him and what he meant to our family in his short 2 1/2 years with us. 

After we buried him, the kids circled his grave with rocks, then used smaller rocks to spell out his name on top.  It was quite simply one of the hardest things we've done together. 

And now there's just a heavy sadness.

I told the kids we should think about the fun memories Cruise brought into our lives, and how fortunate we were to know him.  At lunch, we shared a few chuckles over Cruise.  And it was good.

So maybe I'll get to the metal stand a little later.  I do want to tell you about it because it's a creative solution to one of our decorating challenges around here.

But right now I'm not quite ready to talk decorating.  Not yet.