Thursday, June 18, 2015

Death Comes

“Come back here. I never said you could die Alexander Graham Rolfs.“ We gave our chocolate lab a prestigious name because his large brown eyes and regal fur coat required it.

Only a dog, only a constant companion, twenty-four, seven.  Our chocolate lab Alex would come with us everywhere. He’d jump into the car, never caring where we were heading; being close to us was his delight.

Every time I moved  from room to room in our home, we became a parade because he jumped up to follow me, all ninety pounds. How crazy is that? In the last year of his twelve years of life this wasn’t easy. I’d try not to get up too often so he could stay put.

How do you lose a spouse, a brother, sister, or, gasp, a child? I can’t even tolerate the death of my dog. I’ve lost my parents, brother and our precious grandson. I learned back then grief has no final chapter, only death does.

Sobs come from some place in my body that has an ability to produce sound I wouldn’t know how to create. Like a pit within me erupting.

So why death God?

Does growing older mean we only increase the number of deaths we must endure?

Lessons, yes we got them. The value of love and loyalty – daybreak to daybreak - two qualities we could depend on no matter who else disappointed us. Our chocolate lab never would.

Oh Alex could be naughty, if we left the garbage can lid unlocked, his nose got him in trouble every time. He didn’t always come when he should. But he’d prance back as if he’d done no wrong, just a bit delayed in executing his response to my command, tail wagging with innocence.

How can you love a dog so much?

How can God love us so much? I know beyond doubt I understand God’s love better because of Alex.

The evening he died the family members who could come arrived. We shared our memories as Alex lay dead in the center of our circle on his favorite rug in front of the fireplace he loved. We cried and laughed together because that’s what people need to do. Celebrate and mourn.

Then four dog-bearers carried Alex on a carpet to his outdoor grave in our woods alongside the house.

Our adult daughter Pam carried the lit candle, which was needed because ritual mattered – it signified the solemnity we all felt. The commemoration of a life that brought so much joy to us all had to be very special.

We placed his favorite stuffed toy alongside him, circled his grave and said an Our Father. Surely Jesus’ favorite prayer was right for this.

I was asked by my husband to toss the first spade of dirt. Three times I tried and stopped, I said, I so don’t want to do this.

How could I cover up the body that lay next to our bed on the floor every night as we slept, the body under the dining table on which I rested my feet during every meal? The one who sensed my every mood.

Finally I fought off the dread and did what needed doing. Isn’t that what the living are always left to do?

Where, what could ever replace any human life or beloved pet? Nothing replaces what was. Knowing this is what makes death so wretchedly hard. We can only wait.

Are there animals in heaven? Does anybody who knows God intimately need to ask that question?

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21


Love Always, Mom  is a story of life, love and healing.

Unforgettable Stories For Kids – For summer time fun with your children or grandchildren read one of these unforgettable, purely imaginative stories aloud and encourage your children to write a story of their own. Maybe plot a story of your own along with them. My ten-year-old granddaughters favorite is The Wodgets.

Keep Breathless Minute Meditations on your phone or Ipad for quick inspiration or a God moment when you’re in nature.

Secrets To Being A Super Grandparent will give you lots of ideas for memorable activities.


Books available through amazon, Barnes & Noble, & select local bookstores.

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