My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Posts tagged ‘grief’

Buster you will be missed…

On Valentine’s Day, we had to have our beloved beagle, Buster, put to sleep. He was 13 years old and had been part of our life for so long, we couldn’t imagine our lives without him there. It’s now been almost 2 months and I finally feel like I can tell a little bit about what made Buster so special to us.

Buster was our third beagle and my children’s third dog. We initially had a little male beagle named Bubba. Then we got a girlfriend for Bubba named Dixie. Bubba was inbred (though we didn’t know it) and we ended up having to have him put to sleep because of genetic problems.

After Bubba died, both Bella and Joey wanted another dog. We looked through the Bulletin Board and found some beagles that were ready. They were way out in the country. So, we started the trek to go find another sweet boy doggie. We took Dixie along so she could help pick. For some reason, that was very important to Bella and Joey.

We had already decided on the name of Buster by the time we got there, after seeing a sign with that on it along the way.

We got to the place and got out of the car. We went around the corner to where the man selling the puppies indicated and there was a big yard with a lot of puppies and some adult dogs as well.

We immediately noticed this one puppy. He was the tubbiest little thing I had ever seen. We soon found out why…Buster was not only eating dog food, but was still nursing as well. He was so fat that his belly almost dragged on the ground. He also was really dark compared to the two beagles we had previously had. He was mostly black with brown and white thrown in. I always thought he looked like a burnt little cookie.

Well, it was love at first sight. We immediately decided he was our Buster. Dixie seemed to like him too, although I think she would much rather us to have brought home Buster’s daddy, she seemed quite taken with him.

Buster was a funny dog. He would actually smile when you rubbed him; so much so that his mouth would almost go up to the corners of his eyes. He loved to have his back scratched and his ears scratched. He was also a pretty easy going doggie until he got old and grumpy.

Buster loved Bella most of all. He got to where he was miserable when she would go on her mission trips. He wouldn’t eat and would just mope. He was also grumpy and growled at the other dogs more often as he aged.

But Buster was happy the day he died. He went out into the yard and lay in the sun and just smiled. We knew it was time for him to go…it was very clear that it was the end. We all loved on him and I know until he took his last breath he knew how much he was loved.

Falling in Love (or God’s plan for my life), Part IV…

As an aside…let me break in and talk a bit my mom’s death, as it is an integral part of my story. And it will also tie back in big-time once I start feeling the call of God in my life. I’m really putting myself out here to you guys because this was one of the most devastatingly painful times of my life.

My mom was a sweet, sweet lady – and I’m not just saying that because she was mine. She was one of those rare people that everyone loved from the minute they met her. I don’t ever remember my parents fighting. She had that “quiet and gentle spirit” naturally that I’ve never managed to learn. And she just had such a servant heart. As you may recall, when I was in ninth grade my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

My dad made me go to school the day my mom had her hysterectomy. He thought I was too young to deal with all the stress of it. So when the bus pulled up that afternoon, I just kept hanging around about a block from my house talking with my friends. I just KNEW something was really bad and I didn’t want to face it. Finally my dad sent my brother out to find me. He sat us down and told us it was cancer (they hadn’t told us it was a possibility before hand). At the time, they gave her a 25% change of survival. But somehow I knew she wasn’t going to die.

What followed was a year of treatment that only could described as hell. My mom had chemotherapy once a month by IV. For the week after treatment, she was so sick she couldn’t get out of bed. She had massive nausea and all that goes with that. The week that followed that she was still sick but could get out of bed a little bit. The third week she was getting better and the fourth week she was almost normal. Then came another round….

There wasn’t much we could do to help her. My dad was understandably consumed with my mom whenever he wasn’t at work. So my brother and I were pretty much on our own. It was at this time that I met and started dating Bud.

My mom had another surgery a year after the first and found that she was cancer free. We moved to California shortly thereafter.

A couple of months after I graduated from high school my mother began having a lot of stomach issues. She went to the doctor and after exploratory surgery was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer. This time it was in her intestines. The doctors first tried radiation for a year. After that was completed she began having more problems and she had another surgery. At this surgery, they opened her up and found the cancer was in her stomach, intestines, and bowel. The pretty much just cleaned her out and put a tube from her esophagus coming out of her body. She could eat a little just for taste but it would immediately come out of the tube. At this point they declared her terminal.

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About a month before she died, I came back to California to visit my mom. It was the most horrible and wonderful time of my whole life. She looked so thin and wasted but she had this wonderful spirit about her. We would try to say the things we need to say but we would just cry and cry and not get them out. She definitely was a peace with her impending death and knew without a shadow of a doubt where she was going. My parent’s minister suggested that my mom and I write letters to each other so we could say what we needed to say to each other. So that’s what we did. I had also brought a bunch of bridal magazines with me and I would sit on the bed with my mom and we planned my wedding as best we could.

I left California knowing that I would never see my mom alive again.

About a month after I got back home, on a Wednesday, I went to work as usual and came home at 5:00. Bud came over to visit but had to leave around 7:00 to go home and do homework. The closer the time came for him to go home the more I begged him to stay. I told him I knew my mom was going to die on that die. He kept telling me that I was just worried but I didn’t believe him. He left to go home and wasn’t gone 5 minutes when my dad called to tell me my mom had died 30 minutes before. I had to call Bud and tell him. He came and got me.

I flew to California the next morning and spent the day on the plane in shock. I couldn’t believe she was gone. She was my mother but also my best friend. God had given me to her and my dad and I couldn’t understand why He would then take her away after 19 short years. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was building up a serious grudge against God.

When I got to California I wanted to immediately go and see my mom and say goodbye. That’s when I found out that my dad had decided I was too young to see her and had already gave the okay to have her cremated. I was devastated.

The memorial service was awful. I refused to cry. Some people thought it was strange that I didn’t cry or that I was uncaring, but I knew once I started I wouldn’t be able to stop. So I concentrated on being the caretaker passing out Kleenex to the whole row of our family.

When I got back to Alabama, I tried to just go on as if nothing happened. It was much easier for me to push it out of the way than to think about it. About a week after I got back, my roommate and I decided to watch “Terms of Endearment”. I didn’t know what the movie was about. Let me tell you, once the lady died of cancer at the end, I started crying. It all came out…all the weeks of fear, pain, and tears. I cried so hard and long that my roommate called Bud to come get me. He did and I stayed at his parent’s house for several days. I think I cried 48 hours straight…..and seriously begin hating God for taking my mom away.

Part V coming soon…