Saying Goodbye

IMG_1186Watching the one solo tear slowly slip down 12-year-old Makena’s cheek nearly left me undone. Ugh. I knew it would be difficult to form words telling Makena and her brother Bryce that I had to put down my collie Logan—his spinal tumor was just too much to overcome. Since Logan graduated to heaven on September 24, a couple of times I’ve almost stopped by these neighborhood teens’ house to break the news of Logan’s passing. But I dreaded ripping loose another breach in the dam of my tears. My heart just wasn’t ready.

Of all the neighborhood kids, 14-year-old Bryce and Makena adored Logan the most. On my almost daily walks with Logan to the nearby park, these two friends would run full blast across their front yard to the sidewalk. “Hey, Logan, hey, buddy,” was quickly met with Logan backing into these siblings, waiting for his trademark hip massage. Hugs, hugs. Massage, massage. Logan and I saw this family at least once a week for the past year or so—even their toddler sister would waddle near and bravely tap, tap Logan’s furry side, giggling in delight.

So when I took a quick walk on Monday past their house, Bryce bolted from the front door first, then Makena. Before they could ask “Where’s Logan?,” I blubbered through the explanation. That’s when Makena’s single tear wiggled down her left cheek. Looking toward the setting sun to steady his emotions, Bryce exclaimed, “I knew something was wrong! We’ve been looking for Logan and you out the window.” Gulp. Bryce gave me a big hug and added, “I wish we could have said goodbye.”

Sigh. I wish there had been time for goodbyes, but my world narrowed considerably after that Tuesday tumor diagnosis and Logan’s final vet appointment that Thursday. I made it through several “I had to let Logan go” conversations in the past 11 weeks, but Monday’s was one of the toughest.

Let’s face it: final goodbyes just rot. My last words to my two dogs were right up there as painful as watching my parents die. Death is brutal and not part of God’s original design for this earth. I do think that when we endure the loss of a loved one, resilience buds anew in our heart. We may not notice for awhile the fresh strength immerging from our sorrow, but our overcoming spirit is there mixed in with the tears and bumbling words.IMG_1469

To ease the news of Logan’s death, I excitedly told Bryce and Makena about my being near the top of a waiting list for a new collie puppy to train for pet therapy, to visit people in senior homes, hospitals, schools, etc. “How soon will get the puppy?” Bryce blurted. “Can you come to our school?”

Before they returned to their homework, I smiled and assured these young friends, “I know Logan is up in heaven and he’s one of the main greeters with his “Hey, hey everybody” personality. He welcomes people and then backs into them for a hip massage.”

That made us all chuckle and Makena’s tear stop.

P.S. Late this afternoon I stopped by Bryce and Makena’s house with photos of Logan and a thank you note for them being so kind to my collie boy. They were not home, but I talked at length with their older sister Taylor, who also was a Logan fan. Now I can’t wait for these neighborhood friends to help me name my anticipated puppy. I will definitely keep you posted on this new bundle of joy!

Brave and Resilient Tip #127: Saying goodbye can be a hello to fresh resilience.