I’m sorry for your loss. My wife spoke at her neice’s funeral a couple of years ago – a young woman of 29 who left four little children and a husband behind. I remember reading her talk and one line stood out in my mind, “We can’t have happy reunions without tearful goodbyes.” I have to believe that not only applies to people but to everything living thing we love.]]>
In a reversal of the usual roles, Lili was supposed to be my mother’s dog but she was such a little brat that no one else wanted to take care of her. So she became mine instead. Many nights in high school I’d drag myself out of bed to take her out. Bleary-eyed and often freezing I’d stand there, trying not to think how few hours I had left of sleep before school or before morning seminary, while my precious, infuriating fuzzy-thing sat on the deck and stared at the stars!
Eventually, of course, I went off to university and though I was no longer there to be her “number 1,” she still snuggled under the blankets with me when I was home, curled on my lap, and most importantly, tore across the house like a torpedo to throw herself in my arms when I came home. Then even university ended and I moved on with my life, spending months in Canada before moving to Japan for three years.
Two months after 9/11 and only weeks before I was going to be home for Thanksgiving, I got the news that Lili had had to be put down. I screamed. I screamed and screamed. It hurt so much that my “baby” had died. That I hadn’t even known she was sick! I’d known she was having some trouble but I’d no idea it had gotten so bad. I’d just gone ahead with my life and left her behind and she was gone and I hadn’t been there for her.
Yeah, it hurt. Yeah, it still hurts.
I’m not dragging you through my pain for nothing, though. Two years later, the night I was leaving Japan for good, I spent a lot of time in prayer. I was all worked up about the future. (“Can’t sleep, future will eat me!”) At last I reached the end of me and just said “Ok, God. I’ve said all I have to say… if You have anything to say, I may finally be quiet enough to hear You.”
A Voice, not loud but strong, a Voice I have to give that capital to because I heard it as clearly and completely as I feel the effects of gravity said: “Lili misses you.”
Everything was created spiritually before it was created physically, right? We’ll definitely have our beloved pets in heaven too.
In the meantime, my heart goes out to your family as you face this loss. Knowing you’ll see them again eases but does not erase the ache of missing them now.]]>