The past seven days in our house have been spent in wonder and in worry; and in searching for Scout. Scout is our friend, our aging friend that brings us so much joy. Scout is 12 years old and has diabetes. Scout is blind and on insulin. Twice a day I say “It’s Insulin time!” She begins to wag, steps up to the insulin counter, shakes her neck and waits. Our ritual for the past 2 years.
Scout is the epitome of happy. Throughout her life, no matter what the circumstance she always wags. Her answer to everything is to wag. Her vet says she is the happiest dog he has ever seen. I speak about Scout in terms of “is”, because I don’t know for sure that she “is not”.
Seven days ago Scout simply disappeared. I came home from work and was greeted by only one dog. I was sure she must be sleeping somewhere, in a shady spot, out of the 100 degree temps, not hearing me over the roar of the air conditioner. I put down my things and began to look. I looked in all of the usual places. My search of the backyard turned up nothing. I began to search further. I searched the pastures at our home. I got in the jeep and began to drive, searching the roadside and the ditches; nothing. She had simply vanished. She had done this once before and I found her at the local pound. I was sure this was the case, but the next morning as I arrived, leash in hand, I found it was not. No Scout there.
Loss is hard. Saying goodbye is hard. Today also marks the fifth day since Dennis passed. Dennis was my husbands high school friend. I only knew him briefly but from what my husband tells me, he was an amazing spirit. A spirit that also probably wagged his way through life. The only time I spent with Dennis was two years ago at a Vegas high School reunion of my husbands. We went to pizza one night the three of us. Dennis made us laugh. He told us stories, and hinted and teased about things that might be true as they grew up. Dennis lost a hard fought battle with cancer this week. We all know he is an angel in heaven. It was a tough loss for my husband and for his high school brothers in life.
There is a distinct difference in saying goodbyes. There are the goodbyes, that even though you know they are coming, you are never really quite prepared for, like Dennis. They have been a long time coming, and yet you still are not prepared. Then there are the sudden goodbyes, the ones you can’t anticipate. Someone you love, you share your life with, is gone. They simply go away. All goodbyes are hard, but this one is different. There is an uncertainty in stepping forward into closure, and moving on is slow. We love them and need them to return and they don’t. We pray they will simply come back-yet they don’t.
Whenever I am plunked down into the real world experience of having to say goodbye- I instantly become acutely aware that life is short. Reminded that each day that we have someone in our lives is a gift. In marriage, in our children, in our animals… a gift. We must care for them as the imperfect beautiful spirits that they are. The beautiful wagging spirits that God has given us for a brief time to enrich our own lives, to bring us joy, and to make us smile. I am reminded to lean into life, be not afraid, live with my heart wide open, and remember to wag. As for Scout, I will continue to look and to wonder. Without insulin, I am mindful that her chances of survival are nil. My wish for Scout is that God seeing her as the happy wagging angel that gave us her heart, He simply plucked her out of the backyard and took her straight to heaven, skipping all the tough stuff about saying goodbye.