A powerful, thought-provoking insight....

Give me a well-trained tongue that has been borne out of silent listening in the sanctuary of my heart.

~ sevensacredpauses by Macrina Wiederkehr

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Letting Go of Murphy

My mother's dog, our step-dog ... Murphy. At 15 he was an old man and acted like one. But still sweet. Still cantankerous at times. I looked at Murphy and every time thought of my mother. Not my mother, . . . mama. He was Mama's dog. She had rescued him from a not-too-good situation. He had already been run over twice (by a truck and a motorcycle), leaving him with some extra back issues. As is the policy in our family, she spoiled him rotten up until the last couple of years she was in her house. During that time, he had accumulated some heartworms, and while being treated for them, lost half his liver. He was, as we lovingly called him, a gold-plated dog. A timex dog.

Earlier today, I was suffering some guilt over Murphy, feeling like we didn't truly integrate him into our lives, our family. Sure, we gave him a roof over his head, food every day, and good vet care, but emotionally, I didn't think we really gave him what he had grown accustomed to -- lavish, hold in our arms, love. Now, I'm not so sure. He made some choices, we made some choices, and I think we both worked out a living arrangement that suited us. He was used to living by himself with Mama. He was forced to come live with us: four people (2 young kids) and a big dog, and chickens (at the time). Culture shock! So to give him (and us) credit, it worked.

Lately, his age and the circumstances of his life had caught up with him. Murphy was tired. Yesterday, I took him to the vet for an evaluation; to get some feedback on how he was doing and what should be done from now on. Well, the evaluation was tough to hear ... we can help alleviate his symptoms, but "you'll be back before you know it." I decided not to make him wait. The vet and I realized that he was ready. Murphy was just laying there very quietly, chillin'. Waiting for us to see what he already knew.

I'm okay with having had to make this decision now, to help his spirit be released from his body. His body was holding on (that old timex), but Murphy's spirit was cool with being reunited with the Holy One from which it came. I miss the tippy tippy of his toenails on the floor. It's entirely too quiet. Our cat has been talking a LOT today, aware her buddy is missing, I guess. I keep reassuring her.

God is grieving with us, but is also rejoicing in the homecoming of a furry friend. I think Murphy and Mama have found each other, too. I know God will continue to help me grieve my way through this loss. I know this because yesterday and today I've been in prayer with God, in conversation with my pastor and spiritual friends, and long-time close friends -- getting a lot of support and wise words of comfort and reassurance. I'll be okay; my family will be okay, too.

One last thought: I thank God that God is.

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