My last post about Pines was written while I was watching and praying for my dog Lily to make it through the week and get better. She didn’t get better, in fact this morning she died. We did what we could to make her comfortable and we spent extra time with her, being close to her and not leaving her alone. It was hard and still is.
Some of what follows was written before her death, some after:
“The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:11-16).
Death feels so final when you hold a living thing in your arms and it takes its last breath. I’m watching one of my dogs, Lily, do all she can to stay alive. She keeps sitting up in an attempt to scoop in one more wisp of air, one more breath. She just laid down, I wonder if it will be her last. The struggle between sitting up and laying down is so agonizing to watch. I wouldn’t say it out loud but I wish for her to give up, to yield her body to whatever comes next.
She has been a good dog, a great gal, a sweet sister to her brother Roki and a fun and loving friend to my family. I didn’t really want another dog after Bandit died because I knew this day would come, another dying. Now that its here, I know our few years with her brought far more joy than these last few hours have sadness.
Watching a fellow creature die is difficult to experience and difficult to describe. So many thoughts fill my mind, sentimental thoughts that control my mood. I remember past deaths, times when I sat with a friend as they waited during a loved one’s death or visiting children that were near death–one a toddler full of life but given an overdose of cancer medicine, another a premature baby that never seemed to have a chance.
Even putting Lily’s death into the same conversation as a child’s death seems a bit thoughtless, even selfish. There is no comparison between losing a baby and losing a dog, is there? At least not in the amount and depth of grieving. But I maintain that it is still grieving, I feel similar emotions, I cry the same tears, experience the same tug in my heart and feel the same dislocations.
It’s grief and all its untidy feelings I write about. I can’t control them or make it better. I can only keep breathing myself.
And that’s what I hope to do, God willing.
In the meantime, rest peacefully Lily.
Back to today, Sept 9th. Now Lily is resting. In the last year, I’ve seen other people’s loved ones go to their rest; dogs, cats, people–loved ones. I long for the sting of death to be gone. I long for the day when Jesus can say that death is finished, that death no longer has any say in our lives. I long for the life that God has planned for us. I really love the words of God to David in the passage from 2 Samuel. Listen to the care that God lavishes on David and his family. Those were deeply comforting words to a Warrior King who made so many mistakes and came up short in so many ways. Somehow God is able to see past all that and look at David in a deeply caring way, as if God knows exactly what David went through and grieves with Him.
And of course, we believe that is exactly what God is. He has suffered with us, for us, through us and amongst us, and suffered for all of us and all the sufferings of humanity and His creation have gone through Him and affected Him.
So I can rest my loved ones and their future in His hands. I can rest everything there.