“The death of a beloved is an amputation.”
We never expect death, no matter the form it takes, therefore we are never really prepared for it. You might think, as I might too most days, that we should expect death. Death is the end which we all will meet, one day, in one manner or another. We should always expect it, right? It is always out there.
I’m not being morbid.
When I met Wilber, the dog featured in the photo above, we were equally lost and unloveable. He was the runt of an unwanted litter, the least of the least. He was free. He was exactly what I needed. God uses many things in life to help teach us about His love. Or the love we should exhibit for each other. Wilber taught me about acceptance.
Wilber taught almost everyone who knew him that lesson. He was a flawed creature, intimidating and frightening at times, gentle and silly at others. He was unpredictable, and yet, easily read.
Wilber was a dog.
And now, Wilber is gone. That Wilber lived as long as he did is a miracle in itself. As loving as he was to me, and to those who were family, he was also an animal filled with violence. He had bitten and he had scared people. And this part of him, the part that was so dangerous, was just as much a part of him as the gentle, frightened heart we cherished.
His imperfection reminded us that being imperfect is a sign you are living. Toward the end of Wilber’s life he had mellowed. He had endeared himself to those who would otherwise be fearful of him, and he had remained a significant pillar in the building of our family. He had a good life, as good any dog ever did. Then he had a sudden death, but one you could say had been chasing him all along.
We buried him behind the house he spent his last months in. I was there with three of my brothers, my husband and son, a longtime family friend with a special affinity for the black mutt, and my mom and dad. Wilber had lived most of his life in my parents home, and even though I had found him, he wasn’t mine. He was all of ours. So in the chill, on ground frozen still lingering white, we all said goodbye.
He will be sorely missed.
I don’t usually like to write like this. To encourage mindfulness, or to talk of finding greater meaning in the otherwise meaningless. I usually like to avoid putting things out there like this. But this holiday season, too much has happened not to make a statement about it. Not to employ you to hold close those one’s who are dear, or to examine the value in all that you touch.
“So, be careful then how you live, not as unwise, but as wise making the most of every opportunity for the days are evil. Do not be foolish.”