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Grief
Witnessing Tools
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Rebecca Droeger

Right before our vacation, I was outside in our woods playing with our dog, Smokey.  He is a gorgeous, giant husky with beautiful blue eyes.

While I squatted down to pet him, he rolled over on his back so I could rub his belly.  All of the sudden, he jumps up and takes off into the brush after something.

If you have ever seen a giant dog hop from side to side snapping playfully at the air, you would have been as amused as I was.  He looked like a giant, awkward cat chasing a bug.

So, naturally, that’s what I thought he was doing, chasing a bug.  I playfully shouted out “get it, get it, get that bug!”

Then, I heard rustling in the leaves near his feet.  The crushing feeling came over me “it can’t be a bug, it’s a small animal.”

A million thoughts ran through my mind, “is it a squirrel, a baby raccoon, a rabbit, a possum?  Oh no, what if it’s something with rabies, or a rat?”

It’s amazing how many thoughts can happen in the expanse of a millisecond, because that was all it took for him to snatch the creature in his jaws and make it scream out a high-pitched squeal.

Panicked, I stood there, trembling and shaking.  I screamed at the top of my lungs, “no, no, NO!  Smokey, stop, STOP!”

The brush still stood in my view, so I couldn’t see what it was, but its screams were gut-wrenching.  Smokey whirled around, and I finally caught a glimpse of it struggling, but I still could not really tell what it was.

Unable to move, I called out to my husband who came running.  As I saw him run towards me, it occurred to me that there might be a stick next to me, and I could poke the dog to get him drop the animal.

As Mick closed in, I grabbed a stick that looked like it would work, and started poking Smokey on his hind quarters.  It made him drop the animal from his mouth, but in my heart, I knew it had to be dead.

Mick stepped in and went in to investigate.  He had his work gloves on for when he plays lumber-jack in the woods.  After a moment, he pulls the creature up, and exclaimed that it was a baby rabbit at about a month-old.

At that point, I lost it and began to blubber.  My husband said “really?  Really, over that?”

Through tears and snot, I blurted out “it screamed, and I couldn’t help it.  The noise, the noise…it was awful.”

Mick ran off to dispose of it, and I continued back to the house, crying the whole time.  I told myself how stupid I was being, that rabbits breed like that all the time for that very reason.  I even thought of how some day, it could come to us living off the land, and I would have to kill or cook critters like that, so I shouldn’t be so upset that this one little rabbit had perished at something that comes so naturally to a dog.

None of it did any good, and I just continued to sob.  I couldn’t save it.  I couldn’t help it.  It cried out, but I couldn’t do anything to protect it.

For comfort, I tried to think of the rabbit being in the arms of an Angel; just like when I told my daughter after Smokey had paraded his prize of a dead squirrel around us.  We never saw or heard the creature die, but my daughter grew upset after seeing its corpse.  I told her there was no need for her to be upset, that the squirrel was in Heaven now and that it is not suffering.

Well, that worked for my daughter, but when I told myself that about the rabbit, all I could do was grow even angrier at myself for not being able to see with God’s eternal eyes.

Then, I prayed.  I actually said a prayer of thanks to God for His promise of when animals will no longer hunt each other and the Lion will lay down with the Lamb  (Isaiah  65:25).  I told God how I couldn’t wait for it to happen and that I was so tired of death and destruction, illness and evil.

Then, my heart grew grief-stricken thinking about my Aunt who is suffering from terminal cancer.  God had already answered our prayers once and allowed the surgeons to eradicate the cancer on her lungs over a year ago; but it either came back with a vengeance, or a different growth emerged.

Why?  Why did I have to hold to my limited, finite view of our temporary lives on earth?  Why couldn’t I look past my own grief; my own self-consuming thoughts and see that what God has promised to those who believe in Him through His Son will be so much better, complete, and eternal (John 3:16)?

It seemed so selfish of me to want my Aunt to stay with us here on Earth until the Rapture; after all, I didn’t want her to be so ill she couldn’t enjoy her time left.  But then, I kept thinking of my Uncle, my Mom, my other Aunt, my cousins, family and my Aunt’s grandchildren.  Her precious grandchildren!  And me, what would I do without her?

Then, God’s Holy Spirit comforted me.  I can’t say when I actually stopped crying, but I know I felt a sense of peach.

Later, I reflected on the experience, and recalled the Lord’s comforting words in His Book: 

"Therefore we do not lose heart.  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory while we do not look at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV)

All of this deep thought stemming from the death of one small rodent in our yard, go figure!

About Rebecca Droeger

Last article:  Phantoms and Forgiveness



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