Monday, February 9, 2015

It's Worth it to Love

Today has been a sad day. My brothers (who are twins) dog, Magnus, that they shared died unexpectedly today. They got him when he was a puppy and he was in our family for almost eight years. He's been there through many moves and lots of joys and heartbreaks, including when Lily was born and died.

My sister-in-law and I took him to the vet today for some follow-up care he's been having for health issues. However, he was doing so much better and he was just supposed to be getting some routine tests and x-rays done. The vet told us we could go run an errand and that they'd take care of him and let us know when he was ready to go home. She said she'd give us a call if she needed anything... well maybe thirty minutes later, we were in Michaels when Kala got the call from the vet and she said she didn't have good news and that his heart had stopped and they were performing CPR. We were so shocked and confused and went back to the vet as quickly as possibly, not knowing at all what to expect when we arrived. When we walked in the door, the vet came out and said with a sad face, "I'm so sorry." Kala and I burst into tears. He was just so happy this morning and was wagging his little tail and putting his face out the window on the way to the vet. We were laughing and talking about him. And then he was gone. Suddenly and unexpectedly.

It stirred up some painful memories for me. The vet's face and words saying she was sorry and that he was gone reminded me of my doctor telling me Lily's heart was no longer beating. The shock. The confusion. The tears. Feeling like a dream. No warning. Having to say goodbye to Magnus forever and seeing his lifeless body reminded me of what I went through with my own daughter.

The situation reminded my family of losing Lily as well. My brother Joseph was saying in his truck as we were leaving that he is so sad over losing his dog and he couldn't imagine losing a child. It made him think of Lily and me. His wife, Kala, later said the same thing... she said, "she lost HER CHILD." It meant a lot to me to know that they thought of me and that others see what a great loss I have endured. It feels like they validate my loss. I don't *need* others to validate it, but it means so much to have my family be there for me and love and miss Lily with me.

My family and I sat around quite a while today talking about memories of Magnus. He was such a happy (as you can tell by the picture below that my sister-in-law took a couple weeks ago), funny, and sweet dog with lots of nicknames. I mostly called him "the puppy" or t.b. (the boy). He loved to play and loved cats and adored my brothers. He will be missed. Losing an animal is so hard. Animals truly become part of the family and to have to say goodbye to a pet that you love so much and who loves you so much is painful. But as the cliche but true saying goes, "it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Animals bring much joy to the world. And to love an animal (and especially a human) means to be vulnerable. We cannot protect ourselves from the pain and separation of death. But oh, it is so worth it to love.

We were also talking quite a bit about Lily and about how the loss of her has affected our family. Joseph said something that means a lot. He said he wishes he would have held Lily. He saw her, but he didn't hold her. It made me feel very sad that not many people did, even those who were at the hospital. I understand that it was scary, but she was still my baby and she was still beautiful and perfect. And that would be the only time anybody ever could hold her in this world. So to hear him say he wishes he had held her and hugged her, putting his arms around her and telling her "I'll see you later," was so, so precious for me to hear. My family thinks about Lily. They love her. They miss her. Wow, I am so blessed. Joseph was saying how shocked he was when he got the call that she was gone and how he couldn't imagine being me and my other brother, Adam, said "of course it was harder for her, but that it was still really hard for them as her uncles." I love when people talk about her, even when it's painful. I need to know she's not forgotten. And they show me that.

Life is so fragile and fleeting and we never know when anyone will die. I pray that we live today the legacy we want to leave. I pray we live for Christ with all our hearts and lives and love others in a way that we won't regret if they die or we die. Oh Jesus, may be live with an eternal perspective!


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