Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Monday, December 19, 2005

My First Real Loss

I know--at first glance this post may not seem very apt for the week before Christmas! Micah and I certainly would not have chosen to lose our beloved little puppy, a 2-year old ball of energy and affection, at this time.

Fluffy suddenly became very sick last week. After two costly trips to the veterinarian and one 1:00 am trip to the animal emergency clinic, we learned that Fluffy was suffering from a serious internal infection that would have to be treated with a very expensive surgery. Even if she could be stabilized enough to go into surgery, there was only a small chance that she could be saved even then. We had to make the very difficult decision to have her put to sleep.

My sweet puppy was in so much pain by yesterday afternoon, that she could barely move or open her eyes. I petted her and talked to her as the nurses gave her the final shots.

I still can't help crying every time I think about her. We miss her so much, and the house feels so quiet without her little pitter-pattering paws and the jingle of her collar.

I know that I am blessed to have been spared until now from losing any person I'm close to, or any special pet. (Even my two childhood puppies are still living, though they are extremely old and will not be around much longer.) I didn't know it could hurt so much, and that's scary when I consider that many more sorrows--much deeper and more breath-taking--are sure to come as my life continues. Unfortunately, there is no way to escape the reality of sin and death and sadness in our imperfect world.

Christmas itself--the most joyful of seasons--is only significant as the advent to the larger story of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, the greatest pain known to man. But out of the pain and sorrow of Christ's death sprung the fruits of hope and salvation for the world! God has a way of transforming people and situations. From the dust of broken dreams--beauty. From meaninglessness--purpose. From agonizing loss--comfort. From hardship--growth.

I think this is the story of Christ's plan for our lives: that every missing piece, every loss, every dent or scratch we suffer might be filled and made whole again with Him. He is the only One who can. Without Him, we are broken with no hope for healing. Worldly success won't do it. Money won't accomplish it. Our relationships with others cannot heal us, for others are broken too. And no one can heal himself: try it sometime! All of that inward focus will only serve to make you even more depressed at the depths of your own depravity, and the desolation of your shattered soul.

From Micah's and my grief at losing Fluffy has already come one sweet fruit: We have had the chance to communicate from our hearts about our perspectives on life, death, loss and trust in God. We agree that we want to put our faith in Him to hold our moments. Though we both have a certain amount of fear of the pain and loss that might be asked of us, we want to try to focus on God's love for us instead.

"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us."

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us."

1 John 4:15-16 and 4:18-19


Blogger Carrie said...

Oh Erin, I'm so very sorry to hear of the loss of your precious little pal. :( I know that pets can often mean work their way into our hearts nearly as much as people can, and that your home will feel strange and quiet for a while. I hope you can still enjoy a special Christmas together, even at a difficult time.

By the way, Fluffy was truly one of the cutest doggies I have ever seen--and it always made me smile to see the picture of her here on your blog! I'll be praying for your comfort and healing.

12:36 PM, December 19, 2005  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

My husband and I found a stray dog that looked so MUCH like your 'Fluffy'(she was a maltese mix)a month before we got married and we ended up naming her 'Kisses'. We lost her 3 years ago and I so remember the pain of it. My husband and I STILL miss her terribly....for us it was the end of an era (we had her for 10 years) and it was such a reminder of how quickly time the Bible says, 'our life is but a vapour'.

I'm VERY sorry for your loss...

2:37 PM, December 19, 2005  
Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

I'm so sorry about Fluffy. I pray your pain will be eased and our Father will comfort you. Your post was full of truth. You are very blessed to be so wise.

3:06 PM, December 19, 2005  
Blogger zan said...

I am so sorry. I lost my beloved cocker spaniel 6 yrs ago. She was the greatest dog. I am so sorry that you lost her only after 2 yrs. It is hard to see the young die. Lady my dog was 11.

3:54 PM, December 20, 2005  
Blogger Sarah Ellsworth said...

Erin, I remember how hard it is to loose a dog. Growing up I was never a dog lover, and then I married one. We got two dogs, Luther and Calvin and I tolerated them. It wasn't until almost 2 years later that they ran off and were both hit by a truck and killed. I grieved and grieved. I didn't know that they had captured my heart like they had. A couple weeks after that we went to the pound and got a dog and her pup. I remember petting Suzy and crying because I didn't want to pet her, I wanted my other two dogs. But 5 years later, Suzy and her pup Gus (that is twice her size) have proven to be great dogs, at least most of the time. I don't know why dogs can capture your hearts in a way no humans can, it's a mystery. I'm so sorry about your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers during this time.

9:06 PM, December 20, 2005  
Blogger Erin said...

Thank you all SO much for your thoughts and prayers! I can't say I'm glad that a lot of you have been through this too, but it is nice to know that others understand:o)

It's true! We knew we loved her, but we just didn't realize how much a part of our family she really was! She came to live with us only a few months after our wedding, so I can barely remember our little home together without her being there. She certainly brought us a lot of joy--and entertainment during her life! She was a goofy little thing. She had this way of "grinning" at us:o)

11:41 PM, December 20, 2005  
Anonymous The Happy Feminist said...

I am so, so sorry. I've lost both human beings and dogs, and I grieve every bit as much for my little doggy friends. I will be praying for you and for Fluffy.

1:53 PM, December 21, 2005  
Blogger Lydia said...

Erin, I was touched reading your post. You have some wise words to share concerning death and suffering. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I pray God woud comfort you and Micah and perhaps provide a new dog in his perfect timing and will.

My family has never owned a dog, but we have had three dutch rabbits that passed away. One we had to put to sleep because of a severe ear infection that we could not get cleared up. My mom and younger brother just cried and cried when we decided to take him in. I know it was the right thing to do since he was suffering so much.

I hope you and Micah would have a very blessed Christmas despite losing Fluffy from your family. Please update us of your lives and work in the months to come. I have missed reading your blog:) P.S. Merry Christmas a day late!

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Proverbs 12:10

9:33 AM, December 26, 2005  

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