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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 282 - For Love's Sake {FMF}

We're back with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday, the writing flashmob working from a time-limited keyword. Please drop by for some really great faith-filled and excellent writing!

I've written this ahead of time to try to document what has been a heartbreaking week, and I'll try to work in the word when it's revealed. (It's ABANDON.)

When Barbara is at work, we communicate by email at lunch, to check in. (As I've mentioned, talking is hard for me now, so a phone's of little use.)

Anyway, the other day she asked me how I was doing, and this was my reply:

"Pancreas and tooth are giving me a bit of trouble but I take a certain
pride in my infirmities and pain, knowing that they are given me to
glorify the Lord and to bear steadfast witness to His Love and Mercy.
He is my rock, my deliverer, and my comforter. He is my Friend.

"So I am OK."


She said that was worth publishing, so here it is.

This is my heart and faith written to a God-sized canvas.

But it can be written smaller, from the macro to the micro.

We lost one of the dogs this week; Dukee, a very large and lovable Pit, everyone's friend. In the morning he was right as rain, playful and waiting for breakfast, but when I brought him his food he had suffered a heart attack, and shortly after noon, he died in my arms.


This hurt; Dukee was my go-to pal for hugs when the pain got scary, or the PTSD memories became too much to bear. He was calm and loving, and never shied away from a hard hug, and never turned his face from my tears.

He wouldn't abandon me in my despair. Ever.

He was my heart's security, though I didn't fully realize it.

When he died I felt that my heart had been torn in half. I wanted to just stop. The sun had gone in, and it seemed a long night was beginning. The thought of moving forward, writing, and continuing my life, leaving this sturdy cherished memory diminishing in the past, seemed the worst of disloyalties.

I wanted to quit, and to stay in the valley of the shadow.

But what kind of legacy would that have been for him? What kind of honour would it be to take his example and use its loss as an excuse for my own self-destruction?

No.

The only way to honour love is to carry the memory of it within us as we move forward, and to let the sparkle and joy infuse, all the more, every waking moment.

Only love hoarded is truly lost.

And so we go on as we have to go on, our hearts broken by circumstance, and sutured back together by love.





A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.


I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.
















54 comments:

  1. Oh, Andrew, how heartbreaking to lose such a loving and faithful friend as your precious Dukee. I'm so sorry. I'm glad you decided to "...move forward, and to let the sparkle and joy infuse, all the more, every waking moment." Let his memory light your days. Many blessings to you and Barb, dear Andrew.

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    1. Gayl, thank you so much...We so appreciateyour kind thoughts and prayers!

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  2. Aww, I am so sorry for your loss, Andrew. Pets are family that talk to us without words. May the Holy Spirit comfort you and Barbara in your loss. I love your wise words at the end.

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    1. Anita, I love how you put this, that pets are family who talk without words. So very true!

      We are being comforted from On High, but it's still hard to walk through the places where that companionship was familiar.

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  3. Your words are beautiful. You write from such a raw place and your words hit me in the deep recesses of my heart. Thank you for being you and for sharing so transparently.

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    1. Thank you so much for this, Mary. It is a raw place - I keep reaching to hug him, even almost a week gone by. It hurts.

      Thanks so much for being here.

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  4. Andrew. :( I am truly saddened to hear about Duke. My heart grieves for you. I know each of your dogs is a treasure, and to lose even one . . . heart ache.

    Thank you for your words tonight.

    "The only way to honour love is to carry the memory of it within us as we move forward, and to let the sparkle and joy infuse, all the more, every waking moment."

    We do need to choose to move forward, don't we. And your reasoning, so as to honor Dukee's memory, just beautiful.

    I'm continuing to pray for you, Barb, and your dogs.

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    1. Jeanne, I'm so grateful for this grace-filled comment.

      We do indeed need to choose to move forward. It's so hard sometimes, to look ahead and not look back, over one's shoulder.

      We so appreciate - and need - the prayers.

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  5. Hi Andrew, I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. The passing of a dog brings such sadness, I can relate. What you said right here.." but I take a certain pride in my infirmities and pain, knowing that they are given me to glorify the Lord and to bear steadfast witness to His Love and Mercy. He is my rock, my deliverer, and my comforter. He is my Friend." This is absolutely beautiful. The Lord is shining on you in your words. Praying for you.

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    1. Bonnie thank you so much for your kind sympathy, and your appreciation of my words. Rather illas I am writing this, and you've lifted my spirits. Thank you!

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  6. Your words are powerful, Andrew and carry much weight. I don't visit FMF often these days, but I see a change in your writing. You minister through your pain. How humbling for us who read your words. I feel I'm supposed to share this Scripture with you:
    "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2-4, 12)
    For even now we see so dimly, in all of eternity it will make sense. Bless you, my brother.

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    1. June, thank you so much for your lovely words, and for the completely fitting Scripture. It WILL make sense in Eternity...and right now I can see the sense, because this is God's plan for me, and I need not see any further.

      I'm so glad you're here!

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  7. The only way to honour love is to carry the memory of it within us as we move forward, & to let the sparkle & joy infuse, all the more, every waking moment. <---this is worth publishing too! So glad I came to "listen" before writing today. I wanted to hear the Word from God and friends before making my own post. I tried to tweet your quote but alas it was too long. Good thing we have blog space!

    I'm quite sorry your Dukee died. Dedicated pets from hard times are hardest to lose. My husband who never cries cried a river when our beloved Calico Cat Callie died a few years ago...on Easter of all days! She died in a laundry basket. She had a stroke we believe and old age. We adopted her from an Air Force family who could not take her overseas. She was with our family in KS through some hard times for our family (cold winters, depression/anxiety for me, likely the same for my husband taking care of me and our kids, etc). She was a lover. We can all try to be that for others. That is a legacy for pets and humans. To love others as Christ loved. Even if the presence is the best we can give. You impress me with your ability to write through the pain. Keep on friend...your wife and pets are blessed.

    That is enough. Your legacy was written in years before and days of today. May we all take time to be with others and know that God is with us so we are never really abandoned.
    Jenn Cook
    p.s. We have a Chi pup now and another fat cat named Magic. They are cool pets. They are odd but cool.

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    1. Jennifer, thank you so very, very much for your gracious and transparent comment...and I truly hope that Callie's memory brightens every day, as Dukee's will brighten mine.

      But I still put food out for him tonight, before I remembered. That did hurt.

      I truly believe that sometimes presence IS the best we can give, and it's the thing we most need to give. I often hear people say to me, "I wish I could do more to help you!" and they don't realize that by choosing to sit at the foot of my individual cross, as it were, they are doing the best thing possible.

      Thanks so much for being here...and odd pets are generally the best!

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  8. Dropping over from FMF. There is something that is different about pets. Maybe it is that they do abandon themselves totally to their masters. Sorry for your lose. I know it hurts. Thank goodness we have learned to give our cares to Jesus.
    Blessings
    Janis
    Www.janiscox.com

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    1. Janis, you're so right - dogs cats and horses, they don';t hold anything back...and neither should we, in our love for Christ.

      Thank you so much for being here today.

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  9. Oh Andrew! I am so sorry to hear about Dukee. My dog is such a faithful friend who loves me unconditionally. I can't imagine life without her. May God comfort you in your loss. As aways, your words bless.

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    1. Barbie, thank you so much. I'm still heartbroken; the more so because, unthinkingly, I prepared his food again tonight.

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  10. Barbara was right- your reply to her is definitely worth publishing. I'm so sorry for the loss of your faithful friend Dukee. That is hard. I love this insight though: "The only way to honour love is to carry the memory of it within us as we move forward, and to let the sparkle and joy infuse, all the more, every waking moment."

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    1. Lesley, thank you so much for this...I truly appreciate your kind approbation, and your presence here today.

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  11. Dukee did not abandon you. I'm sure dogs go to Heaven. But you're not there yet and, having lost some beloved dogs myself, I certainly understand your grief.

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    1. Jan, thank you so much for this. Truly.

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  12. Oh, I am sorry to hear this, Andrew.... Prayers for you and the other dogs, as I'm sure they miss his presence, too.

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    1. Annie, thank you...and yes, the other dogs are bereft. It's a very quiet house, even at mealtime. Eerie.

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  13. I'm so sorry to hear about Dukee, friend! It's never easy to lose a pet. This really spoke to me: "The only way to honour love is to carry the memory of it within us as we move forward, and to let the sparkle and joy infuse, all the more, every waking moment." Someday I believe you and your beloved dogs will be reunited on the other side of this place. I'm in the 41 spot this week.

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    1. Tara, thank you so much...and truly, it would not be Heaven if they weren't there.

      I'll try to get to your post in the morning. Pretty ill at present.

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  14. So sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved friend.

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    1. Jeannie, thank you so much. The pain is still immediate, and its echo will last all my life.

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  15. i was sad to read this last nite but couldn't get anything written up b/c my blog was down:( (not an equivalent problem at all!) it's now back up and i'm caught up now:) praying for you both during this increasing difficult time.

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    1. Martha, thank you so much for your kind thoughts, and especially your prayers. Painful times now, in more than one way.

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  16. I'm sorry for your loss. I love how you wrote we honor love by carrying the memory of it and moving forward. Blessings and peace to you.

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    1. Leigh, thank you so much for this, and for your good wishes. Need them now.

      God bless.

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  17. Andrew, brother... I am so sorry to hear of Dukees' passing. Hard and a blessing to hold him in your arms as he went. (I 'got' to do that with our beloved Jonah as well!)

    Praying for you... as always! (I've been away from the blog more in the past few months, but you have been in my heart and in my prayers!)
    '

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    1. Karrilee, thank you so much...and as you know, it is both blessing and exquisite pain to hold someone in the moment of passing.

      I so appreciate your prayers; you're on MY daily prayer list, in gratitude for your faith and wisdom.

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  18. Andrew, there is such richness in your writing today. Rich in faith, rich in love, rich in purpose. I'm deeply inspired. And my heart is broken for yours. Dogs like Dukee are such a gift, faithful beyond anything we deserve or ask for. Thank you for not quitting.

    Loved this: "The only way to honour love is to carry the memory of it within us as we move forward, and to let the sparkle and joy infuse, all the more, every waking moment. ONLY LOVE HOARDED IS TRULY LOST."
    My friend, that needs to be a Hallmark card or something. Or perhaps you should collect ALL of your inspirational phrases from the past year and make a desk calendar of "Daily Inspiration from Andrew." I mean, really!

    Keep writing, my friend!
    Shauna (in #15 this week)

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    1. Shauna, you're so right...Dukee was and is a gift far more priceless than I could have deserved.

      I'm so honoured that you think my words worth collecting...I really don't know what to say, except a heartfelt Thank You.

      I won't quit.

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  19. rother Andrew, this was a powerful post for me. Wow.
    First of all, the loss of a dear furry friend is so devastating. We lost our dog who was simply a pet several years ago and it took us 3 years before we could get another dog. I can hear that this loss of your dear friend was such an agonizing time, especially when you seemed to understand one another and he was able to hold you up in those things. May he never be forgotten, May there be another beloved pet to stand in the gap, not to take his place but to keep you going.
    your reflection on love hoarded, wow! blew me away.
    thank you brother for your consistency in writing. I know you continue to struggle and that you fight every day for these words. You are loved.
    janel (mytoesareblue)

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    1. Oh, Janel! You said this so beautifully, and I can feel the pain still echoing in your words, at your loss.

      There can never be another Dukee, but the other dogs are rallying 'round to help, in their own way.

      I'm so grateful for this comment, Janel. I do, truly, feel loved.

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  20. I'm so sorry for your loss. You can hear through your writing how much your dog meant to you. It is so hard to lose those close to you and animals have such a special way to weave into our hearts. Praying ofr you.

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    1. Amanda, thank you so much, and particularly for the prayers.

      One of the things that's helped me survive PTSD is that I now get along better with dogs than with most people. My therapist said that I'm on a deployment that will never end, and dogs get that...and they're happy to be there with me.

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  21. I am so sorry for your loss of Dukee. I had to put my cat down right before Christmas. Sad we don't realize the full value of someone till they are no longer with us. Praying for you and Barbara. My words have abandoned me this week. Can't make sense of this word somehow. It stirs up too much I guess, so no post. Resting it out, letting it rise. Mom was a bread Baker.

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    1. Mary, thank you so much, and so very sorry for your loss. It'sa very tough decision to have to make.

      We surely appreciate your prayers, and I look forward to reading your always-wise words next week.

      And I love the breadmaking analogy!

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  22. Andrew, I'm sorry for your loss. You write so poignantly about your pets, and I'm sure this is hard for you. Always glad to read your fmf post.

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    1. Sarah, thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. Losing them is hard; because of PTSD I'm on what my therapist calls 'permanent deployment', and she noted that dogs are always ready to be there with me. There's a mutual understanding that I can't reach with most people, she said.

      Thanks so much for being here!

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  23. Bless you my friend. I'm sorry you lost your beloved Dukee. I will readily admit that am not a pit fan, but you have given me a new perspective and my heart has softened a bit toward them--at least to those that live in your house :)

    "And so we go on as we have to go on, our hearts broken by circumstance, and sutured back together by love."

    This quote is what I needed today. I am slowly learning to let God's love suture my broken heart in several recent situations in my life. And I know he will be faithful and I will grow through the pain, just as you my friend are growing through your pain. Hugs and love

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    1. Christy, thank you so much...and I just know you would have lost your heart to Dukee. Everyone did.

      I'm so honoured that my words could speak to you in your hour of need.

      Hugs and love back, my dear friend!

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  24. Andrew, I am so sorry Duke has gone before you, making you temporarily bereft until you meet again. Yet even from this place of greater emotional pain, you still write such wise and beautiful words. I was also deeply touched by the ones others have already mentioned here.
    It seems the greater the paring back of your mortal frame, the greater Jesus shines through for us all to see. You write from such a grace fuelled place and perspective while going through hell and back. It's an awesome God-given thing. You radiate His love and give so freely to others from a position of pain and brokenness. Keeping you, Barb and the rest of the remaining canine family in my thoughts and prayers. x

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    1. Joy, I'm just overwhelmed and supremely honoured by your words. "Thank you" is all I can manage through these tears, but it doesn't seem to be enough!

      And we are so grateful for the prayers.

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  25. I am so sorry for your loss! It sounds like you had a comfort friend - just a love bug God-designed to love in their way. One of my sons, we call him the dog whisperer - and his dogs are comfort dogs in many ways, infusing him with a peace he sometimes has difficulty finding on his own - and seeing how his furry friends impact his life, I understand your loss. I am also glad your wife encouraged you to share your note - how you redeem the grace from your suffering is a gentle, powerful example! Those words: He is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer- I have sung those in the midst of my challenges for over 30 years! Shalom, Andrew! Praying God's peace in your week! ~ Maryleigh

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    1. You're right, Maryleigh...Dukee was a love bug, to the highest degree. And my wife calls me a dog whisperer as well...they give me the peace that has eluded me throughout my whole life. PTSD keeps me on permanent emotional deployment, and they're happy to be there with me.

      I really appreciate your kind words, and am thrilled that you found value in my note! I'm glad, too, that Barbara encouraged its sharing.

      Thanks so much for being here, and especially for your prayers!

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  26. Andrew,
    I am so sorry for your loss. It has been a hard year for your pups, you and Barbara.
    I read your post the first time,but since I can now bring you a bit of silly sentiment,
    I have to say that your final line made me immediately think of Celine Dion's Top Hit in the late '90s from Titanic.

    So overplayed and super cheesy. There's even a Kenny G version of "My Heart Will Go On."

    So, here's a link to death by saxophone, but maybe it's going to be comforting. In that case, play on, Mr.G. Play on.

    https://youtu.be/6ByQNarEyIw

    Just remember, you're not alone. Ever.
    Big hugs from across the Sierra/Nevada range!
    -Tammy (#76 this week)

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    1. Tammy, oddly enough, "My Heart Will Go On" has been on my mind in the last few days. I do love the song; always did. Thanks so much for the link!

      The hugs are sure appreciated. I don't feel alone, but I'm hurting.

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  27. another beautiful post; so very sorry about your loss of Dukee—maybe even harder because it was sudden. Praying for peace for your days.

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    1. Leah, thank you so much. The sudden-ness was hard, and heartbreaking. I sure appreciate - and need - the prayers,

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