I am in the midst of one of my most difficult challenges. I’m spending the time I have left with my mom in her hospice room as she moves back and forth between this existence and the next. When she’s awake she’s not the person I’ve known and loved all these many years but a stranger that needs my concern and care. She’s become a child again, unable to care for herself in any form or fashion, and she needs me now more than she has probably ever needed anyone. I am an only child, so I am the only one to bear witness or to understand. As she goes to what appears to be her unconscious state she talks to people that I can’t see but that I know. They’re family members that have gone before. But what I found interesting was yesterday as she visited with those that were hidden from my sight she was especially glad to see Dolly. When she came back to consciousness she kept asking for Dolly, but I have no knowledge of who Dolly might be, so I asked and she responded it’s my dog. Then I remembered the stories from long ago that she had a dog, a cat and a rabbit that all slept together. I asked if she’d spoken to my grandpa and she pointed to the corner and said “he’s sitting right there.” I know he’s here to help her home, and since he was the animal lover in the family it doesn’t surprise me that he brought Dolly along. Grandpa was the funniest. My grandma wasn’t the animal lover he was and was not at all pleased on the day he invited the squirrel into the house for a couple of nuts. She freaked out, which freaked the squirrel out, and the next thing we knew the squirrel was running up and down her draperies and we like to never got it out the door. To say she was displeased is an understatement. My grandpa was my first experience with death and dying, and I took it hard. He went to spirit when I was 16 and I cried myself to sleep every night for that first year. I didn’t experience death again until my beloved dog died. I had been taught that animals had no souls and I was devastated that something that I loved and that loved me so would be lost to me for eternity, so I prayed and prayed to God for a sign that she was all right. As clear as if he was sitting there in the room with me I saw my grandpa holding my dog in his lap and she looked up at his face and licked his cheek, just as she had done to me a thousand times before, and I knew in that instant that she was fine and in my grandpa’s loving arms. I knew that everything I had been taught was wrong, and God was indeed a good and loving God that loved all his creation equally. I was so happy that I shared my vision with my grandma. She told me I must be mistaken in what I saw because animals went to animal heaven so I said grandma, I have some bad news then, grandpa is spending eternity in animal heaven. And if that’s how heaven is sectioned off, I know that’s where he’d prefer to be, and I’ll be joining him there. But I know it’s my grandma that was surprised upon her arrival to see a wondrous, beautiful sight of everyone she’d known before, both human and not. I’ll bet that squirrel even had a little wink for her. So as I sit here, bearing witness in the most difficult task I will ever be called upon to do, it gives me comfort to know that soon my mom will be welcomed into the loving arms of my grandpa and grandma, her brother, my dad, and all her beloved animals, while those of us that love her are left here on this side to wait until it’s our turn to cross the horizon of the limit of our sight and be welcomed into the arms of Eternal Love. What a glorious day that will be, and a just reward for all these moments of great sacrifice while bearing witness to the suffering and the loss of love along the way while maintaining faith soon it will be our turn to be welcomed by those whose hand we hold today.
Never forget, it is only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.