Thursday, September 9, 2010

saying goodbye

Almost ten years ago, I realized Chester was not just going to be an ordinary dog to me.  He was going to be very, very special.  I began praying something I prayed off and on throughout those ten years, "Dear Lord, if he goes before I do, help me to bear it, because I don't think I will be able to."

For various reasons, I decided to have Chester put down rather than take him to the humane society.  Once I made that decision, I sensed/God gave me the sense that it was right.

We took Chester to the vet yesterday.  Mom and Dad were with me, and that meant a whole lot.  Before going into the vet's, I walked Chester briefly by a lake behind the building.  As we walked, it began to sprinkle rain.  Rain is my favorite kind of weather, so I received that as a gift and a comfort.  We sat with Chester at the beginning, then left the room for the last part of the procedure.  I went outside to walk a bit, and I was surprised but deeply thankful to find myself filled with praise.  So I praised and thanked God.  There have been tears and sadness, and there will be more, but yesterday and this morning I am filled with peace, joy, love, and gratitude.  They are a wonderful gift from God, and I sensed him holding me tightly all day yesterday, just as my aunt later told me she'd prayed.  I also sensed other relatives and friends holding me up in prayer.

Mom, Dad, and I went from the vet's to Goddard, where my brother's in-laws gave a special spot on their land for Chester's grave.  Brad's father-in-law also built Chester a perfectly-sized coffin, dug the hole, and chose a stone, which I love, to use as a marker.  That's right - this man built a coffin and dug a grave for his son-in-law's sister's dog.  Wow.  He led us in prayer afterward, and then I spent a brief moment alone at the grave, where again I felt joyful, thankful, and sad, but couldn't keep from smiling.  When I left I was filled with peace.

Later I took Oliver to the humane society.  The staff commented on how well-behaved he was in the lobby while I filled out paperwork - good job, Ollie!  :)  Hopefully, his anxiety will soon pass and he will be found by a fun family who will take good care of that fun and loving dog.  I will miss his "kisses" on my leg after every dinner - he'd finish eating, come to me, and lick my lower leg once.  Perhaps just wiping off his tongue, but I chose to see it as a "thank you."  :)

Last night I sensed Chester with me for a few minutes.  This morning I woke up happy.  God has more than answered my 10-year prayer, and I can barely express my gratitude, awe, and love.

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