“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I John 4:8 (NIV)
December 5, 2014 we celebrated Max, our four-legged family member’s 12th birthday. Unfortunately, part of the celebration involved a seizure. We were used to these because they began when he was one and one half years old. Everyone in the family knew what to do because when a 100 pound dog has a seizure and loses function of his back legs – well, let’s just say it takes more than one person to help him get outside until he finds his legs again.
December 16th began as a normal day. However, around noon, it looked like Max was going to have another seizure. Again, nothing out of the ordinary as he had them regularly most of his life. However, this time, he never fully went into one and never fully came out. Two hours later I could tell something was drastically wrong. The vet told us to come in immediately. The only comfort I had was that only his organs were still functioning…neurologically he was already gone along with his ability to walk. Those beautiful, soulful eyes that looked up at me with trust his whole life were now vacant. Three hours later we returned home without one member of our family, the one who had loved with his whole heart his entire life.
Walking into the house without him was terrible. Not having my four-legged child to take care of was…lonely! Despite the five people who still lived here, the house felt dead. I told my husband that as much as I missed him, I knew I had loved him with no regrets and we had given him a great life. I could let him go knowing that I loved with my whole heart.
I realize that when many people lose their four-legged family members, they cannot bear to get another and start the process of saying goodbye all over again. Since the odds of our pets outliving us usually aren’t in our favor, if we choose to be pet owners we will probably say goodbye multiple times throughout our lives. However, I have too much love to give and when I don’t have someone to pour it into, the outcome is…Lonely! I don’t want to suffocate my husband or children by smothering them and clipping their wings of independence, so we started looking for another forever family member very soon. I knew if we got a puppy, I was looking at a lot more work than the easy relationship of my 12-year-old companion, but I also knew the hard work in the beginning would reap rewards for many years to come.
The main point of today’s post isn’t profound. Instead it’s just this simple message: God is love. When we’re His children, we love. When we love without regrets and the hard times come (and they will), it’s easier to move forward and love again.
We ended up getting a new puppy, not as a replacement for Max but as another opportunity to love. With this decision, we have chosen less sleep, more activity, and much more busyness. We have also chosen to fill our hearts with love again for another living creature that is totally dependent upon us. We have made the choice to love again without regrets. More than likely I will outlive this little guy as well. But if I do my job right, when it’s time to say goodbye (hopefully many years from now) I will again grieve with peace, knowing I did my job and loved with my whole heart.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014
6 Replies to “Lonely”
I totally understand….we went through this a few years ago. It’s hard to say good-bye, but how wonderful that God allows us to love again.
Welcome, Tammy, to our family! I’m so sorry for your loss. Do you have a new family member to love as well? Not as a replacement but to continue loving. A great reminder that God rescued us and chose us to be part of His family.
Blessings to you and your family!
Hi Cheri, I am sorry to hear the news about Max, I always liked giving him attention when I visited. We recently had a loss just 3 weeks ago. My wife Eva had adopted a bunny at eight weeks old which she named Graysee (she spelled it weird because it was a boy instead of Gracie for a girl..I know silly right) , and when he was just 6 months old we took him in to get spay/neutered, the surgery went fine, but he passed away during recovery. We were blindsided by this as it was totally unexpected. You think a routine procedure would have been safe, but not in this case. We can’t always understand why some things happen, we just have to trust that it is all part of Gods plan. And I am happy to report that this afternoon I am going to the local humane society to pick up our newly adopted bunny which Eva renamed “Hope”. We too decided to love again even though we are still stunned by the unexpected loss just 3 weeks ago. I look forward to meeting your new puppy maybe later this coming year.
I’m so sorry to hear about Graysee (LOVE his name by the way and the spelling!). I think being blindsided like that is a lot harder. Max was older and so I think mentally and emotionally I had been preparing myself that I would be faced with his death in the near future although when it actually came it was still devastating.
I have to say – I absolutely LOVE the name Hope for your new bunny. I’ve asked God to give me a word for each year for the past three years now. My word for 2015: HOPE! 🙂 So when I hear that word I can’t help but smile. I can’t wait to see pictures of Hope. Congratulations!
I think loving again takes courage but the rewards are worth it. Can’t wait for you to meet Snickerdoodle – we miss you! The kids talk about you all the time and wonder when they get to see you again.
Give our love to Eva and lots of cuddles to Hope. Beautiful name and great time of year to celebrate life.
I’m so sorry. I certainly know the pain of losing a beloved pet. I am praying for you and your family.
Have a Victorious Day! Marianne
Sent via phone so please excuse typos and brevity.
Thank you, Marianne. He was older so I had been preparing myself mentally and emotionally for a while – still takes you off guard because you don’t think it’s going to happen so quickly.
Blessings to you and William and Happy New Year – blessings for a wonderful 2015!