One can for every pound I lose...bring it!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Letting go...

Today brought to light just how hard it is to let go. I think we are all reminded of that in some way or another.

Over the past few years, I've let go of a lot. My Dad, 7 years ago, was the hardest. Our beloved Doberman Kobie was another devastating loss. These losses still linger, and always will. 

I've learned to let go of bitterness and resentment over a friend's betrayal, and learned to let go of quite a few fears that were holding me back from truth, honesty, and being myself. I've let go of bad habits and negative thoughts that were hindering my weight loss and I let go of my idea that I had to be a certain number on the scale to be happy.

Today, it was time to let go of Peter.

17 years ago, I bought Peter as a gift for my then 11-year old brother. I knew my Dad would appreciate having a dog in the house again, and I knew that a Bichon was one of the dogs my mom would allow in the house, since our neighbors had bought 2 of them from the same litter and she thought they were sooo cute.

This is what Peter looked like when we brought him home:
A little white furball who was instantly lovable, he worked his way into my family's hearts. My Dad, who at first called him a "little white rat", soon began taking Peter everywhere he went. He became my Dad's best friend, and was in the passenger seat for almost every car ride. He even served as a sort of "mascot" for AA meetings, as my father would go and set up the coffee. Peter was in many a prayer circle at those meetings. I like to think he helped my Dad stay sober.

A few months before my Dad died, he was coming out of anesthesia from a procedure, and was calling for Peter. The nurse asked if that was his son, so he said "Yes" - I will never forget the laugh we had when he told me to say Peter was my brother if anyone asked. Months later, as my Dad struggled with letting go, I will forever be grateful to the ICU staff at the Hershey Med Center for allowing Peter to be brought into my dad's hospital room; it was an amazing grace gift for my Dad. He couldn't speak, so mouthed the words "good boy" over and over as Peter obediently kept vigil in his lap, not wanting to leave his Master's side. We had to peel him away, crying and whining, when it was time to go.

After 17 years, it was time to let Peter go. As much as we want to hold onto something for "us" it's a matter of mercy to know when we have to let go and "let God" - I've been struggling with this a lot lately. Letting go of Peter was tough, because he was the last piece of my Dad we had with us. We wanted him for us, but we knew it was time for him to go. As my brother held him, and my family surrounded him with love and caring words and tearful goodbyes and sorrowful hearts, we let Peter go. I like to think that God allowed him to be a little perfect white puppy and run into my father's waiting arms in Heaven. As a matter of fact, I believe that's exactly what happened.

So we'll remember the little white furball who ran like a rocket after his baths, and be grateful for the gift of 17 years of his life, and somehow navigate the waters of grief again with loved ones and memories. I know there are many tragedies in life; today my husband told of a colleague's brother's wife who had a stroke and died at the age of 32. My friends and family still grieve the loss of a special young man on New Year's Day this year. There can be so much sorrow, and letting go...well, letting go is one of the toughest calls we'll answer. Without my faith, it wouldn't even be a possibility. But I believe in a merciful God, and I believe that He will allow the sun to rise in the morning after this dark night. I believe His promise that

"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
-Psalm 30:5

Life is short, and I for one still have some "letting go" to do. By the grace of God I'll continue to count my blessings while I have them in front of me, not take any day for granted, and not miss an opportunity to take care of myself and others, for this is the only ride we get. This is it, and there are so many beautiful moments to treasure. Peter was one of those moments, and he'll live in our hearts forever.

Go Peter Go...

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