Saturday, 3 December 2011
All creatures great and small
Today was a bit of a funny day. Funny peculiar, not funny ha ha. I received one of those emails with a link to a video, the kind that you normally delete without even thinking. But this time, I didn't. It was a story about an old dog, nineteen years of age, who cannot walk anymore, but who has a "ministry", for want of a better word, to the sick and dying old folks in hospices and hospitals. You can watch the video at this link: Dying Woman Finds an Unlikely Companion in her Final Days - You'll Need Tissues for this Video Basically, they wheel this noble, aged hound around the wards on a cart, and ask people if they would like a special hug from such a wonderful creature. They didn't show anyone refusing the offer! The old dog is gently placed on the bed beside the dying person, and they share a moment that can only be described as out of this world, an understanding of the fact that neither has long to be in this earthly plane, and that they have both made peace with their transition to the next. And yet both human and dog are at the same time treasuring up those precious moments of life that are so important not to relinquish.
I sat here with tears pouring down my face, worrying that the kids would be scared or disturbed that I was crying. But then I thought to myself, how are they going to know that it's okay to show emotion if all they ever see is me trying to hide mine? So I did my best to explain to the three little ones who came to snuggle up in my lap that sometimes things are just sad, and that we cry when we feel sadness. They showed amazing intuition, especially when I explained that both the old lady and the dog were dying. At the one point, the camera focused on the faces of both the dying woman and the dog, and it almost seemed as if both were smiling. "You see," whispered Sam in my ear, "dreams can come true..." I am not sure if he was talking about the dreams of the old lady, or those of the dog, but it seemed a strange thing to say at the time. Yet when I thought about it a little later, I think I understood what he was trying to say. He saw the pain and suffering of both creatures, and then saw how they relieved it for each other, how they were happier together than apart. And in his mind, that is exactly how dreams come true.
I kissed the top of his head and held all three of my littlies close to me. "Yes," I whispered back. "Dreams definitely can come true..."
My soul is full of whispered song;
My blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
Are all alive with light.
~Alice Cary, Dying Hymn