Remembering the Gift of Love Through the Pain of Goodbye


My husband called. The news was not good. Ready or not, today would be the day we’d say goodbye to a much loved family member – our 15 year old Jack Russell terrier.

Spot had joined our family as a 6-week old pup; a birthday gift for our then five year old son. None of us realized the impact that cute, ornery, temperamental pup would have on our family. Believe me, we have enough “Spot” stories to keep you entertained for days.

Like the numerous times he escaped from the house as a very spunky, fast-moving puppy.

On one of these early morning escapades, he shot past me and darted out the door. Terrified he would run into the road, I shouted for my husband to help. The two of us – he in his undies and me in my pj’s – chased that silly dog all around the yard until we finally captured him.

At that moment I was thankful for 3 things – (1) that it was still partially dark outside (offering a bit of coverage for our lacking wardrobe); (2) that we live in the country (can you imagine if we’d been chasing him through a subdivision?!); and (3) that we subdued him before any injuries occurred (to him or to us). 

I could go on and on sharing his antics.

Perhaps that’s why seven weeks after his passing, we still forget he’s not here.

We catch ourselves double-checking the back door (even as an adult dog, he was known for sneaking out). Sometimes, we still find ourselves carrying out a half-empty trash bag after dinner (he prided himself in stealing leftover chicken bones). Just the other day we called, expecting him to rescue us from a spider that had made its way into the house (he was an expert spider assassin). And I’m not sure when I’ll stop trying to leave a lamp on for him (I’m convinced he didn’t like being alone in the dark).

It’s hard to adjust to a new normal, isn’t it? Especially when that normal comes as a result of loss. The loss of dear family members, close friends, and yes, even our beloved pets doesn’t come without pain.

But with that pain also comes remembering.

Remembering special moments shared together. Moments of laughter. Hard, painful moments. In-between moments. All of them laced with love.

We took our Spot and buried him in the back yard with other pets we’ve loved and lost through the years. And as we walked back toward the house, I couldn’t help but feel thankful. 

To experience pain in loss is to have experienced love in life. What a beautiful gift God bestowed upon us when He planted within us the capacity to love and be loved. ?


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2 thoughts on “Remembering the Gift of Love Through the Pain of Goodbye”

  1. Sheila, we have had to say good-bye to so many dear ones-both pets and people. I’m not good at good-byes, but I agree. When it is hard to say good-bye, it means we have loved well. Thank you for reminding us of the gift of loving well. ?

    1. Thank you for your comment, Shirley. There was a time in my (much) younger years when I believed guarding my heart from love would be easier than having loved and lost those I’d given my heart to. I’m so thankful to have found the courage to love deeply and completely, despite the risk. The love is worth the pain, isn’t it? ??

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