Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“When I’m alone I dream of the horizon and words fail me.
There is no light in a room where there is no sun,
And there is no sun if you’re not here with me, with me.
From every window unfurls my heart the heart that you have won.”
“Time to Say Goodbye” Sarah Brightman
There is no sunshine anywhere as I sit here in the very early hours of this morning. It’s about two-thirty, and I have taken a moment from my resting place next to her and from ten feet away from where she lays, as I share with you, I can see her chest slowly and weakly rising and falling.
It is the second night in a row that I have stayed with our precious little Lily downstairs in the kitchen area on a pallet of pillows on the floor next to her bed so she does not feel alone in what the doctors say is her last season with us. Lily, who won our hearts at first glance nine years ago, is the last, for now at least, in a long line of Basset Hounds who have blessed our lives. Together we catch an occasional moment of sleep, and I am there to pet and calm her when she stirs and raises her head trying to understand where she is and what is happening.
Hate. It’s a word I don’t like to use. As a society we use it too casually. I tell my Granddaughters Hannah and Ellie Kate, it’s too harsh and strong to be used at all, but certainly not as much as we do in our every day conversations—and encourage them to try “I really don’t like…”
But honestly “hate” fits for this moment of sadness and emptiness. This last span of our family dog’s life as they begin to slip away, especially—as in Lily’s case—at too early an age because of a disease that you can’t beat back. I hate this part of a life of loving her, and all those others like her—who have left their footprints across our hearts in their short time with us. I know where they’re going and one day I look forward to our reunion—but as for now the emptiness is all-consuming.
Our Granddaughters were feeling the impending loss deeply a few hours ago before they headed to bed. Our elder Granddaughter Hannah was unable to calm herself at all for a moment tonight as tears flowed from her eyes while she held Lily. The memory of a recent loss of another dear pet also served to elevate her present sorrow over Lily.
In my transparency and tears, as I held her in in my arms for a time, I talked to her about a word in Korean which comes close to capturing what we were feeling. Han. The translation into English escapes complete accuracy, but as closely as we dare, “han” means a deep sorrow and sadness, so deep and numb that often tears don’t even come, encompassing a sense of incompleteness and emptiness—and yet in the midst of all of that—a glimmer of hope shines through.
Hope that maybe Lily will be cured and we’ll have her for a while longer. It’s my survivor, fighter mentality I suppose that keeps me going for her. But you never know. Certainly there is the bright hope captured in the words of the One who conquered death and rose from the tomb to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, as we are reminded…
“And He Who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”
Revelation 21: 5 (NAS)
That hope—which assures our reunion together in Heaven one day. People, the earth and “all things” in it. All things, of all nature, and of all His creation. And today especially, with not one iota of a doubt, all those most precious of animals of His creation who have touched our souls with theirs.
Heaven—that place where we can’t begin to paint the picture of beauty, of loved ones and things we will enjoy and of all those whom we hold dear. That eternal place reserved—beyond our wildest imaginations—for all the most beautiful, wonderful and cherished people, creatures, things, moments and memories of our lives.
It may soon be time to say goodbye—but only for a moment.
Eternity is ours—yours, mine, Lily’s—forever and ever.
Heading back to my pallet now, next to Lily—a place of honor as I know you would agree.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2011. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved