Monday, March 31, 2014

Scar Tissue

"It has been said, 'Time heals all wounds.' I do not agree.  The wounds remain.  In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.  But it is never gone."
-Rose Kennedy
(Thanks Angie)

Cobi was the dog we shouldn't have had.  
Cobi wasn't a smart dog, but he would come and sit and stay and do almost anything 
if you had a treat in your hand.
You could set a treat on his paw and say, 
and he would sit there and stare at that treat until you said, 
and he would gobble it up.

Cobi was the dog that could be sleeping and if you said, 
he would jump to attention scanning the yard.

I think of those things now and I smile.
And then I cry.
Because Cobi is not here.

Cobi was the dog that followed me everywhere those days before I delivered the boys.  I would get up in the night, unable to sleep and walk in the nursery (my bags packed for weeks).  I would rock in the chair and sing and Cobi would be under my feet.  He heard all the books I read to the boys.  
He was always there.  
I remember the night before I delivered waking up... Did I feel something?  No.  But there Cobi was.  With me.

When we brought (just) Jonasen home, he was there.  He lay under his bassinet or at the foot of anyone who held our new baby.  He was always watching.  
So many times he found me as I sat crying, curled in a ball on the floor
 trying so desperately to be happy when inside I felt so sad.  He was there.  
With me.

Over the years, Joey grew and so did our family.  Cobi was there through all of those moments. He watched as each new child came into our house. We moved. We said goodbye to precious family members. Celebrated birthdays.  He was always there.  
With me.

And now he's not.

Cobi got sick in January.
I thought it was a simple cold, a runny nose.
But there was blood.
And then weight loss.
And more blood.
He didn't come to see me in the mornings.
He slept most of the day.

I prayed he'd get better.
When he didn't, I prayed he'd let me know.

On March 16th I became worried.  I called for Cobi outside and he didn't come.  I looked in all his favorite places inside and he was nowhere.
Although it was freezing outside, I didn't bother with a coat.
I wrapped my arms around me as my heart pounded.
Screaming in my ears!
Oh God, No!  Please let me find him.
"Cobi!" I screamed. "Cobi!"

And there in the darkness he came to me.  Slowly but surely.
I looked into his sad eyes and I knew.
It was time.
He was telling me.

Saying goodbye to Cobi was one of the hardest days of my life, and I have had many.
What I didn't realize was that saying goodbye would rip off that scar tissue.
That the memories of loss and brokenness would come flooding back 
as if I took the knife myself and cut a fresh new wound.

Here I am.
Curled on the floor.
The only difference is...
He's not with me.

Today we got the call.
He's ready.
His ashes are ready for us to pick up.
And again~ the scab ripped.
The memory of holding Andrew's ashes in my hand...
I can see it and feel it as if it was still happening!!!
They're not with me.

And I hate it.

To quote my daughter (wise beyond her nine years on earth), 
"Eventually we will get used to Cobi being gone."
~We will not get 'over' it.
~We will not be 'healed in time.'
We will get used to it.

For years after Andrew died, I would blow a kiss to heaven each night.
While I think of him (still) every day, 
on the edge of every thought, 
I don't always pause to blow that kiss.
The scar tissue grew over. The pain lessened.

For the last few weeks, I've been going outside on my deck.
Wrapped in nothing but my arms saying those last words I whispered to Cobi.
"I love you. Now go catch a squirrel."

There is THIS wonderful book by Cynthia Rylant called Dog Heaven.

"When dogs go to Heaven, they don't need wings because God knows that dogs love running best.
He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields.
When a dog first arrives in Heaven, he just runs."

Ah~ when I close my eyes and see Cobi on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, I imagine him doing just that... Running.  Perhaps after that squirrel.

And later the book reads, 

"God knows that dogs love children more than anything else in the world, so He fills Dog Heaven with plenty of them.  There are children on bikes and children on sleds.  There are children throwing red rubber balls and children pulling kites through the clouds.  The dogs are there, and the children love them dearly."

And Andrew and E (and all their friends) are there~ 
with him. 
They're laughing as that giant spotted tongue of his engulfs them in stinky kisses!

"Dogs in Dog Heaven have almost always belonged to somebody on Earth and, of course, the dogs remember this.  Heaven is full of memories.  So sometimes an angel will walk a dog back to Earth for a little visit and quietly, invisibly, the dog will sniff about his old backyard, will investigate the cat next door, will follow the child to school, will sit on the front porch and wait for the mail.
When he is satisfied that all is well, the dog will return to Heaven with the angel.  It is where dogs belong, near God who made them."

We'll see them (all) at the Rainbow Bridge.
What a reunion it will be.

Please pray for me tomorrow.
The vet called and he's ready.
I don't know if I am.