My dog died last week. Not my 13-year-old dog that has walked up to death’s door three times already this year. Not the dog that my young adult children said good-bye to at Thanksgiving, believing he might go before they were home for Christmas. No, Nala. My 2-year-old healthy, vivacious, endearing dog, barely out of her puppy phase. The dog that we got because we wanted to have a dog when my older dog died.
And every time my old, pained, anxious, half-blind and utterly deaf older dog barks nonsensically so loudly that the piano strings vibrate, I cringe with the bitter irony of it. How are we left with the dog we’ve been grieving for a year at least, watching him decline? How is it that Nala is gone?
Life is so damn bass-ackwards. Nala was playing tug with me Wednesday morning, ran with Dan on Thursday, walked an hour with me on Friday, and was dead on Saturday. How can it be? All my careful pet-planning feels like nonsense now.
And losing my dear dog during the intensity of launching Restore My Soul into the world AND the end of my husband’s Sabbatical just feels pretty awful too. I have all these competing energies in me. The book launch in this phase requires that I do a lot of asking people to do stuff which requires all kinds of internal fortitude and courage. Grieving my dog squashes my heart and makes me feel fragile and tender. It’s like a hole got punched in my gas tank and all my initiative and will is pouring out on the road below.
And yet, as bass-ackwards as it all feels, a mentor offered me this quote:
I am hurt, but I am not slain;
I’ll lay me down and bleed a-while,
And then I’ll rise and fight again”
~Sir Andre Barton
It’s a broken, bass-ackwards world. We hurt together, hold each other steady in our bleeding, rumble with God when it feels so unfair, and we pick up, and carry on.