When it became obvious Friday night that our little dog was not going to be around much longer, my wife suddenly let loose with 30 years of vent up emotions. Never in all the years I have known her have I heard her weep and wail as she did while holding little Peggy in her arms. All I could do was pray.
In her tears she alternately kept telling Peggy she was sorry for her pain and suffering and asking God why He did not heal her. She had prayed so very hard for so very long. I had no answers.
In between outbursts of tears and wailing, she kept asking God; “Why?” There were no answers. She reminded God of how Elijah healed the Shunamite woman’s child and how Jesus raised the centurion’s daughter from the dead. She was begging God one last time to heal her precious little Peggy whom she loved as much as any mother has ever loved her child.
All my wife ever wanted was to bear children. That was her one request in this life. Denied the chance due to medical problems, over time she transferred her need to nurture and give love to various dogs. None received more love and attention than Peggy. Nothing could rip the heart out of my beloved wife more than losing her “child”.
Yesterday, Peggy hung on until my wife got home from work. She refused to give in to the impending death until her “mommy” could hold her one last time. In a moment of cruel irony, after getting home my wife had stepped out of the room for a few moments. While I was on the phone with the Vet asking what to do, Peggy ceased breathing.
For the next hour, my wife could not stop crying. She condemned herself for not being there at the moment of life’s passing. She ended up holding the lifeless dog on her lap for two hours. It took that long for the outpouring of emotion to finally subside and the reality of what happened to sink in.
Some might say, “why grieve so much for a dog”. Others might say, “It was only an animal”. All I can say is that Peggy was to us, and especially my wife, the closest thing to a child she will ever have in this life. Is it really necessary to allow our cold and reason oriented thinking to overrule the need to pour out a lifetime of emotion over the loss of a loved one? Can we not set aside our black/white attitudes and see that there are some who fall in the “gray area”?
When the time came, I gently told my wife she had to let go of the body on her lap. She knew and then proceeded to show the strength that I love so much in her. Knowing her time of grief had run its course, she helped me put Peggy in a bag to temporarily store in a freezer until I can get her to one of the few pet crematories around. From that point on, my wife refused to give in to the temptation to yield to emotions.
In times of extreme sorrow, it does no good to bottle up grief and pretend it is not there. There is no profit in stifling tears under the guise of being “macho”. When someone dies, that is when God’s mechanism for handling such times kicks in. That is when the tears are supposed to flow, and along with them the flood of emotions locked within.
I am deeply thankful for my wife’s ability to not only close the cover on the book when it was time, but to be willing to let all of her grief and love pour out for so long before then. She was willing to drain herself of her emotions and in so doing help God heal her broken heart. I am sure that in His due time, God will answer my wife’s pleas as to WHY He did not heal her little Peggy. I am sure that He had good reasons whether we can understand them or not.
Peggy gave her mommy ten years of unconditional love. She continued to be her “love dog” even when her body was being attacked by first skin issues and then the lethal renal failure. Through it all, Peggy seemed to know that her place in this life was to provide my wife with someone to act as a surrogate child and receive all the love and affection a mother can give her child.
Peggy was truly a special dog and will be missed greatly. Yet, she could suffer no more. Her little body had been eaten alive by the relentless advancement of end stage renal failure. She defied the odds and gave us a full month more than the vets said she had to give. Even as late as two days ago, she still was trying to give the only thing she was strong enough to show and that was a slight wag of her tail when my wife got home from work.
Until the very end, Peggy fought to stay with us. Not so much because she wanted us, but because she knew how much we loved her and how deep the sorrow would be with her passing. Thank you dear little one for giving us every last ounce of your love and devotion. Now, precious one, rest in peace and find comfort in the release from your suffering. Thank you for ten years of love and devotion.