Struggling with grief…

After what seems to be forever, I finally picked up a sharp HB pencil, dusted it off, and with trembling fingers, placed lead on paper. I managed to draw a few curves and lines but couldn’t see what it was I was drawing. It didn’t take the shape I wanted it to and no amount of erasures and retouches could capture the spirit or form of my subject. My vision began to blur as tears gathered in my eyes. I was trying to draw Beans, our beloved six-year old Labrador Retriever who passed away a little over six months ago.

Our sweet, funny and loyal boy passed on after almost a month of suffering from kidney infection. My husband and I panicked and worried about him endlessly and lived several miles from our trusted vet. We had relocated over a year ago and had difficulty finding pet clinics and vets that were up to par. When Beans’ kidneys failed, we took him to a recommended vet who did a very bad job with his surgery and post-surgery care. We will always regret that decision made in a panic. We didn’t know where else to go.

After much prayer and tears, we put our baby Beans to sleep and buried him in a compassionate friend’s backyard. We do not have soil or a garden where we reside in now. My husband stayed up with Beans the whole night and just soothed and comforted him while I fell asleep crying.

It has been years since I last sketched or drew anything. It’s what I had done and known all my life and the inability to get back to it due to depression has ridden me with guilt and anger for many years. I thought that starting over with a picture of Beans would help me and be therapeutic, in a way. It wasn’t. Or maybe it was.

I still couldn’t draw, but crying my heart out again helped. I miss our baby Beans. Hubby and I find it difficult to talk about him without breaking down. But we need to talk about him. We need to look at his pictures – and are we thankful that we took a lot of them! He was a very willing subject. He was willing to do anything to please us.

A good friend gave us our new pup Eloise, a Jack Russell Terrier, two months later. While she brings us much joy and is possibly the most affectionate kisser, the void Beans has left in our hearts refuses to be filled. Our little Peanut (a feisty min pin we’ve had for more than four years now) also continues to be my” little one”, but I will always miss our big boy.

The dark marks on our wall will remain untouched for a while because they were left behind by Beans. Perhaps my sketchbook will remain untouched as well for a few more months. I haven’t recovered. I don’t know when I will, but I’ll give myself permission to grieve some more, and I won’t set any deadlines.

Basking In His Glory

My husband and I have three dogs. The eldest is a female mixed breed name Toepy, the middle is a black male Labrador Retriever named Beans, and the youngest is a female Miniature Pinscher named Peanut. All three of them are a joy to have but they can also be more than a handful on many occasions.

ToepyToepy, being the longest with us (she’s around seven years old), is the most attached. She follows me around wherever I go, even when I just walk around in our small house. When I stop walking, she stops; when I turn, so does she; when I sit on our couch, she lies down right at my feet. And whenever I am within her eye sight, she stares at me – and she can go on staring at me for a full minute without blinking. While to many this may be wonderful, to me it can get downright irritating and unnerving.

BeansI do not relish being followed around or stared at, by a person or an animal. Many times I need to remind myself that our dog is not human and is just being a loyal dog. And when I am in a very tolerant mood, I look back at ole’ Toepy and just marvel at how she literally basks in my “glory”. She doesn’t seem to get enough of me, even when I get mad at her. And if she was given a chance, she would probably ride on my back all day and night just so she’ll never be far from me. This does seem very stalker-like, but then she’s just a dog!

PeanutBeans and Peanut are not this way with us at all. They do have their moments when they want to be with us, but they are not nearly as clingy as Toepy. And since there is really nothing I can do to lessen Toepy’s adoration of me, I decided to just look at the situation from a different perspective.

Do I bask enough in my Lord’s glory? I envy Toepy sometimes for her unconditional love and adoration. How I wish I could also adore Jesus and just be genuinely content. Can I be genuinely content just being with my Lord? Or do I make myself so busy that I hardly have the time or the motivation to  just bask?

It’s high time that I learn to really “live” — not to strive in a frenzied manner the way other people do every single day.  It’s time that I remind myself again that true success is not about how much money I earn or how many activities I can cram into one day.  I need to really believe that “living” is all about just that – having a life;  a life lived on purpose; a life lived like I really mean it. It is a life wholly surrendered to a higher being — in my case, my Lord and Savior,  Jesus Christ.