I spent most of the day crying. Do you ever grieve so hard you just wonder if your body can produce any more tears--but then it does? That was me today.
I attended a Celebration of Life service at school for a man who was a father, a husband, a son, a friend to many , though I personally never met him. His two younger children go to our school. The girl is in the 9th grade, the boy in 3rd. The man was 43. It was a beautiful service, and the man left quite a legacy. They said he was full of hope, love, courage, integrity. He was a thinker, an electrician, a fisherman. He was quick to help anyone in need. He was not afraid to die; he was ready to meet Jesus. He loved his family deeply and his Savior passionately.
But my heart has been broken. The family lost their home in a fire two days before Christmas, and now they've lost their dad. Can't wrap my mind about that kind of sorrow, that great a loss.
The other reason it's been a hard day is that we've decided the time has come to say goodbye forever to our dog Brownie.
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll recall that Brownie is the senior pup we adopted on June 1st at the tender age of 14 years. We weren't sure how much longer she'd last, but we took her anyway. I never knew how hard it would be, as her demise has been slow and gradual.
When I got home from Brad's funeral today, I knew I'd be facing a mess to clean up from our old dog. Sure enough. So I got out the mop and Pine-Sol and got to work. Just as I was finishing, I felt her nose on the back of my knee, so I turned around to pet her. She was squatting to pee again. I broke down and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I called my husband at work and managed to tell him I can't do this anymore. I can't keep up the pace and I can't keep watching a dog lose control of her bladder.
Last night in small group, I shared my heart about this with them. They are all dog lovers, so I didn't feel ashamed to offer this burden. The leader prayed that we'd have wisdom and be able to see the situation from the dog's viewpoint, and that we'd know for sure when it was "time."
Today God answered that prayer. He gave me a memory and He gave me nothing but empathy for my dog today, replacing anger and impatience.
The memory stems back 11 years ago, Valentine's Day 2002.
That day I fractured my pelvis in several places while giving birth to my last child. The very rare injury, known as postpartum pubic diastasis, left my SI joint separated 5 cm instead of returning to normal within hours. The injury paralyzed my bladder;my hips were in agonizing pain. I had to be turned in bed every two hours, helped to the bathroom and I wore Depends because, too often, I failed the guessing game called, "Do I have to go to the bathroom? Yes, it's been two hours."
God healed me miraculously and instantly six months later. I was free from pain!
But the recollection of that memory was an answer to prayer today. I could readily empathize with my dear old dog at 8:00 a.m as she struggled to rise to her feet. I steadied her and led her by her thin pink and black collar to the door. Many times a day, this is what I do to help Brownie. When I can't be here, or when I'm not watching, she makes a puddle.
There is no spite in her, no laziness. She simply can't help it anymore.
She doesn't mean to mess up my floor. She would go out every time if she could help it. But her kidneys are shutting down, I'm afraid. It's become commonplace to clean up several pee messes from the kitchen where she has been confined for the past week, so as not to have an accident on the carpet (again).
Brownie is virtually blind. When I reach down to pet her head, she thinks I have food, and will snatch the invisible treat--or my hand! It doesn't hurt because she has very few teeth left, but it scares me, and saddens me.
Brownie is pretty much deaf. But she can hear water running into her bowl or the food bowl being filled.
She has lost weight, not that she had much meat on her bones to start with, but I can count her ribs now. She has a great appetite, though, but apparently the nutrition isn't sticking with her.
Her eyes seem weepy. Cloudy, tired, and weepy. And sometimes, I think, apologetic. I made a hard call to the vet's office. "How much do you charge to euthanize?"
I could barely say the words.