When I was growing up my family moved a lot. I don't remember staying anywhere for more than 2 years until we moved to the farm when I was a freshman in high school. Every new house we moved into, my parents were careful to devise an escape route should the house catch fire. We even had fire drills a few times. There was a designated location where we were to meet outside so that we would know that everyone got out, or didn't get out.
One thing my dad told me quite sternly, on more than one occasion, was "Do NOT go back and get your animals. Get yourself out. Don't worry about the dog or cat or your silly mouse, get your own self out. We can get another dog and we can get another cat but we can't replace you." I think he knew me all too well. Anyway, I remember thinking that was a cruel way to think. You can't replace Freckles or Samantha. You might get a dog or a cat that kind of looks like them but it won't be them.
Well, yesterday I attended a funeral for a 34 year old man. A young wife had lost her sweet husband, parents had lost their son, and children had lost their father. Boy did that put things into perspective. Eddie died on Thursday and Friday morning I had a new puppy. This family can't just go out and get another son, another husband, another father. Eddie's death was heartbreaking but it pales in comparison to so great a loss. My heart started to become thankful that my family was well and healthy, that my husband was sitting right next to me holding my hand, that my children awaited me upon my return home. The things I take for granted every day suddenly became so much more valuable. My eyes have been opened just a little bit more.
I told Rodney that if the hardest thing I ever have to endure in my life is the loss of a pet, then I've had a pretty good life. He told me something profound. He said, "that doesn't make it hurt any less." I guess he is right. Pain is pain, loss is loss. I am thankful that my loss hasn't been great. I'm thankful that my pain is easing. I'm grateful to God for the chance to see things more clearly. Everyday is a second chance, I'm going to do my best not to waste it.