Don’t let them leave without saying goodbye
Posted by wlebolt
My dear old Rosy is nearing the end. I can tell. She hardly eats or drinks. She can stand with help. She teeters when she walks, those decrepit hips barely balanced, as she lists to one side. Once she gets going she can still navigate the wonderful ramp my husband built for her. But the time we have with her is growing short. I can tell.
Now, she lies on the bed as is her custom. Content to rest. She has lived an incredible life. Taught us amazing lessons about perseverance and dedication and making everything you can out of what you’ve been given. She is a miracle of modification. A tail that swirls for balance, hips the have created their own new socket, feet (they look a bit hobbit, really) and toes that have literally angled themselves in to give her a central place to stand.
Today and in the days she has left she is giving us one more gift. She is letting us say goodbye.
I would like to pretend there is no death. No dying. No separation from here to there. But I know better. I’ve lost pets I’ve loved. I’ve lost people I’ve loved. Death is real. What I have learned from those I have lost is to take time to say goodbye before they go. Rosy is offering us this, and I am claiming every minute.
Patting her. Petting her. Bringing her bits of food and water. Walking beside her out in the yard, tapping her every so often so she knows I am there. Because she can’t hear me. These moments are just a small token of my gratitude for her life so very well lived.
Do you pray that their time is not up? Do you pray for one more miracle for this dog who lives them daily? Today, I don’t think so.
Do you imagine they will romp and play in heaven? Do you wonder how they will get along with all those other golden retrievers chasing balls up there? I’m not sure. Rosy has never really romped or chased balls. I wonder if she would know how, even in heaven.
And what about heaven? Is it reserved for humans? Do dogs really get to go?
So I sit with Rosy this morning, stroking the soft, curly fur of her ears. She sighs and settles her head between her paws. Not resigned, just content. And I ask God, where will she be on her next stop? It can’t just be humans that have the divine invitation. For this creature has taught me more than perhaps anyone I have ever known about the love of God lived out, without uttering a single word.
And God said, “She is as surely mine as you are.” That, I believe. And I feel certain that whatever God has in store for Rosy it will be more than I can ask or imagine.
Dear sweet Rosy. How I love you. How I thank you. Somehow I hope God can convey this to you, properly. Today I only have words and pats. Let it be enough.