Losing the One You Love
My 5 lb. Teacup Schnauzer “Bean” went missing at 10:00 pm on New Years Eve. She found a small hole in the fence and made it bigger on her own so that she could escape to explore the adventures on the other side of the fence. I’m pretty sure she didn’t know the temperatures would be below freezing on the other side or the fence and the grass that was supposed to be greener would actually be frozen and dead. I couldn’t figure out why she left me, her home and the other dogs who loved her. I wondered if there was something on the other side she needed that I had not provided for her.
When I was notified she was missing I raced home to find her. I walked the streets for hours calling her name and willing her to come back. I offered her favorite treats to entice her to come back from wherever she had gone. When she didn’t answer my calls, a sick feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried hard, I begged God to bring her back.
I worried about the storms coming and wondered if either of us would survive. I created an action plan in my mind of everything I needed to do to bring her home. My mind spun out of control with all of the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s that I wished I had done. Did she know how much I loved her? Did she know what she would be missing by not coming back? Did she know the danger on the other side of the fence? Or was it already too late? I missed her so much. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. The worst part was not knowing what had happened to her.
Everyday, I got up at daybreak, put on my mud boots and walked the streets and fields looking for her, calling her name. Days wore on and my house became “Bring Bean Back Central.” Hundreds of posters were printed and distributed door to door. I talked to every neighbor that opened the door. Huge neon signs were made to go up on any surface available while the storms brewed outside. The storm of all storms rolled in late one night. It was the worst storm I’d seen and heard in years. The wind blew at high speeds, the rain pummeled the ground and the thunder roared so loud it shook the house. It was below freezing and she was only five pounds. Had a creature learking about in the woods behind my house eaten her? The not knowing killed me. I cried the whole time as I envisioned Bean shaking, scared and sorry she had left.
The next morning my emotions were all over the place. Part of my heart said, “There is nothing more you can do. It’s over.” The other part said, “You love her, don’t give up.” The “don’t give up” part of my heart won the internal battle and I frantically printed more posters and prepared for more searching. A wise friend of mine reached out and said to me, “it’s time to give the control to God, and it’s time for you to realize that you are not in control of the outcome of whether Bean comes back or not.” I said, “I agree, but I still have so many things to do and then I will give the control to God.” My very wise friend said, “Noooo, you don’t understand, you need to let go of the control now, then if you still need to do things to try to bring her home, then do them.” I knew she had a point, so I paced the floor and had one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had with God as I cried even harder than I had before.
My friend was right in more ways than she will ever know. Literally five minutes after I verbally gave back the control to God, a miracle happened, Bean came home. When I saw her, she was hopping up and down on the other side of the fence with the sun shining behind her. I seriously thought it was a dream. I realize now, the outcome most certainly could have gone the other way. Its possible Bean may never have returned home, but I know if she hadn’t, I would still have known God was in control because I had released my control to Him. It was the lesson I learned that day when the sun came out.
As I was going through the agony of losing Bean, I recognized the pain. It was familiar. The emotions I experienced, in the loss of this animal, were the same pain one experiences when a relationship ends and they lose someone they love. The mind takes over and runs all the equations trying to make sense of what has happened. Did the person leave on purpose? Did they know what was on the other side of the fence before they left? You wonder if you caused it while at the same time you blame them for leaving such a good thing. You know they can’t possibly have a better life on the other side. You think of the treats you can offer to get them to come back. You simply do not understand how someone you love could just disappear into the night. Why aren’t they answering your calls? You cry so hard you think you can’t possibly produce one more tear. You beg God. You even bargain with God to give you what you want.
You are in the midst of the storm and you wonder if either of you will survive. You wonder if they are scared and sorry they left. You think of a million different things you will say if you get the chance. You replay the conversations over and over in your mind until it’s perfect. You have it all figured out. If they will just hear you, you are positive you can make them come back. If only you had done everything right. You “shoulda” spent more time with them, been more affectionate, and done more of the things that would have kept them happy. If you “woulda” just taken better care of their needs. If you “coulda” seen the signs before it was too late and plugged all the holes. Don’t they know how much they will miss if they don’t come back? You have an action plan in your mind to make all the changes they ever wanted you to make so they will come back.
The feelings of downright abandonment set in. You wonder if you will ever stop missing them. Can they possibly know how much you still love them? You want them back. They belong to you. You will leave no stone unturned in bringing them home. You will control it.
Will the pain that makes you cry at the mere thought of them ever go away? You don’t remember ever hurting so bad. Will you ever get over the pain of just not knowing or understanding why they left? You have so many unanswered questions. You’ve thought about it so many times you have a throbbing headache but you just can’t make sense of it. The thoughts in your imagination rip you apart. Why would they do such a thing and leave you not knowing? What could be so great on the other side? What does it have that you don’t? Is it too late?
You talk to every friend you have and get every opinion there is. Part of your heart says, “There’s nothing more you can do. It’s over.” The other part says, “I love them, don’t give up”. Then one day a wise friend says… “It’s time to let go. You need to give the control back to God. He is in control of the outcome.” You sit down and have the hardest conversation you’ve ever had with God, and when you are finished you look up and find the sun shining on the other side of the fence, the miracle has happened.