I’m not one for grieving.
I don’t like to focus on that emotion much – despite writing quite a bit about the importance of it.
I guess I’m speaking to myself as much as you when I do that.
But despite our best efforts to shy away from it, sometimes grief hits you when you least expect it to.
This Friday it hit me when I gathered up our dog in my arms from her spot on the grass uncertain if her legs worked anymore. It hit me as I held her hoping she’d stay alive long enough for everyone to say goodbye.
It hit me again a little when I told the boys that she was probably going to die this weekend and that they needed to tell her goodbye. It definitely hit me when I saw my oldest swallow hard and then turn away from the subject completely.
I don’t know what it is about telling kids something sad that makes even the most stoic person crumble a little.
The twins took it pretty well. In fact, they shouted over the fence at the neighbors, “Our dog is probably gonna die today, but it’s okay… she’s really old and she has a best friend in heaven anyways.” They took it really well.
Maybe it’s because we had done this just a year earlier with our other dog. Maybe it’s because she was almost 20 and we drilled into the boys that was pretty dang long for a dog to live.
Maybe it’s because she didn’t really interact with them much. She actually ran from them for most of their lives.
Still it was so sweet to watch the twins sit with her and pet her and tell her she was going to be okay now.
My oldest has had moments of grief over the past few days, but he’s mainly held it in. He did ask that she be buried with Whooley her best friend, and he did say goodbye.
I feel like his grief will come out much like it did with our old dog… over time and at unexpected intervals. He still says randomly, “Mom, I just miss Whooley so much.”
In a way, I think we all were saved a little by the bundle of energy, Riley, demanding our attention and distracting us.
Grief is always mixed with joy.
Light is always shining through any darkness.
If we allow ourselves to see it.
I love this quote by Henri Nouwen because I’ve been thinking a lot about loving this new dog – inviting the potential for grief in the future.
We could’ve left well enough alone and said Margaretta would be our last.
But we didn’t.
And now he’s here and he’s demanding that we love him no matter what.
So here we go.
Because isn’t the risk of love always worth taking?