Thursday, September 27, 2012

Show Me the Way

Thorin is still taking medicine.  I open the antibiotic capsule, dump half of it onto a slice of deli meat, wrap it up, and feed it to him.  It’s not the same without Sam wagging his tail, waiting for his treat, and I feel a pang on my heart.

We all sit on the couch in the living room as Thorin races through the house.  Lexi sobs, “It’s not complete.  It’s wrong to just say Thorin cuz it’s Sam and Thorin. It just doesn’t make sense.  He just brings a lot more light to this place, Mom.  We’ve gotta get him back.  He’s ours.  We’ve gotta get him back.  How can this be the right thing for us when it’s putting us through this and we’re losing part of our family?  It feels empty already.  It feels empty.  Having Sam here was the closest thing to having a father here because he’s a protector.”
“What’d you say?”  I’m startled by her connection.
“Sam is a protector, like a dad.”
“Sam’s the best thing I have from my childhood,” Laina cries.  “They’re all I have left.”
Lexi continues, “Thorin’s running back and forth ‘cuz he’s anxious.  It’s literally like losing part of our family again.  Having pets was one of the only secure things we had.  With you and dad fighting and getting divorced, the only secure thing we had was our pets.  Sam makes me feel safe.”
          “It’s true; he does make you feel safe.  You know, when Sam’s there, you just feel safe,” Laina adds.
          “Whenever I’d lie down next to him, and he would put his paw on me I just felt safe in that moment.  It radiates from him.”
          “When I was lying there petting him, he was comforting me.”
          Lexi sobs, “So what does that mean, what does it mean?  Is nothing in life ever secure?  Is there nothing in my life that’s secure?  Is there nothing that can be secure besides God?  Why?  This doesn’t make sense.  I can’t breathe.”
          “I can’t breathe at all,” Laina cries.  “He makes you feel warm and loved even though he can’t say a damn thing.  He can’t say anything to us, but you know that he wants to be with you and love you. It’s cold without him.  There’s not as much life in here anymore.”
          Lexi yells at me. “Talk to us.”
          “I’m listening.  I’m letting you get it all out.”
          “I don’t know,” she says. “It’ll just take the next few days to process this.”
          “Not days,” says Laina.  “I’m never getting over it.”
          “I’m really sorry you’re hurting so much.  This is hard and it sucks and it’s not fair.  It’s okay to be sad and angry and hurt and heartbroken but know that Sam will be okay, and we’ll be okay.”  I stand.  “Come on, girls, let’s pray.”  The three of us lie on the bed, the cats around us, Thorin at our feet.  “God, I confess that we’ve been angry and we’ve been hurt and we’ve been sad.  We’ve been stressed and overwhelmed and I’ve been tense.  We’ve been impatient and I’ve even been in despair.  But, we’ve also been blessed and we’ve learned so much and we’ve been so happy and we’ve had so much fun.  We’ve loved and we’ve been so grateful for this time with the dogs.  No matter what happens, thank you for that.  Please help us with whatever’s supposed to happen.  If it’s the best thing for Sam to go to this family, then please help us accept it and heal and let him bless that family.  If it’s better for him to stay with us, then please provide a way, show us the way. Please help us.  Amen.”
          A long pause.
          Lexi sighs.  “I guess we can find a blessing.  There’s something there.  This is helping me deal with something from my childhood, so it won’t affect me as an adult.”
          The girls focus on finishing homework as quickly as possible.  They cry themselves to sleep while I toss and turn and finally sleep.


  1. Rachel, I had to get rid of a dog after I graduated from college. During my jr and sr years she went with me everywhere, even to classes. She'd wait outside and visit with everyone and run up to me when I came out. She even had a picture student ID! (I still have it!) After graduation I went to work full-time and she was home alone all day. She got destructive and found a way out of my apartment and ran the streets. It wasn't safe, she was lonely and unhappy, and I had to do what was best for her. I gave her to my boss, a young married man with a stay-home wife and small kids and a fenced yard in New Hampshire (I was in Mass.).

    It was awful at first - I went back to the apartment that evening and called her as I went in, and it hit me - she was gone. I eventually got over it and actually enjoyed not having to think of her needs all the time (I was 22-23 and single). But it was years and years before I could talk about giving her away without getting a lump in my throat. Of course she is long dead but I trust she had a happy life and was well-loved by her new family.

    It will take a while, but believe you did the best you could for him. It sounds like he will have a very happy life and be beloved and cared for. You and the girls will miss him, maybe forever, but remember that nothing is permanent and practice non-attachment (one of the tenets of yoga). It doesn't mean be uncaring, just recognize that life is a series of lovs and losses, joys and sorrows....

    Big hugs~ Chris

    1. It is definitely awful and also definitely a process. I wish my girls didn't have to go through this, but we will get through it. Thanks for sharing your experience, Chris. It helps to see that there is another side and that we will get there.