Yesterday we buried our dog.
My husband had Whooley for 18 years. I, not a pet person, got two dogs with the marriage almost 8 years ago. Whooley was one of them. And he’s been there ever since.
When I got home with the boys an hour before my husband, I decided to be a good wife and break the news. I was less emotionally involved so this should be easy, right? “Boys,” I said. “Whooley was really sick and he died.” I swear I thought this would be a good idea… until the words actually came out of my mouth.
And then, my oldest fell apart. As the tears streamed down his face, he bombarded me with 1000 questions about death and Heaven. I fielded every one like a mommy expert, but inside I was dying.
I mean how do you answer questions like “If Heaven is a wonderful place with no germs, why can’t I go right now?” or “How do I find Whooley in Heaven? Will he remember me?”
Or the kicker: “Mommy, are there humans as powerful as God who can make a potion that will bring Whooley back?”
Man kid, you are 7 for crying out loud! Why am I forced to try and explain why we don’t play God?
Needless to say, it was a rough hour. When my husband finally arrived, my son walked up to him and said through his tears: “I know just how you feel dad, it’s how I felt about LuLu, my chicken.” Organic empathy at it’s finest. It was even harder to hold it together when he snuggled up to his dad and said “Don’t you just miss him?”
A little later, we went outside to bury him. This whole time my twins had joked around and wondered if puppies got buried at sea like fish. “Flush!” they shouted at each other breaking into hysterics. But when they actually stooped down to put their hands in the dirt and throw some on their friend, I watched the tears fall unabashedly down their cheeks.
So what am I praying for today? I’m praying for a Heaven like the picture I painted for my sons. A place with no germs and every single pet and person you have ever loved waiting there to welcome you home.
And I’m praying even harder for a little Heaven on earth – that you and I get a chance today to feel God’s presence hugging us close… even as we all grieve a multitude of losses this year.