I had studied in my room until my eyes ached and my head hurt. I felt limp, tired, and lifeless.
“How about going for a walk, Caity?” Mom suggested.
I shook my head hard. “I DON’T want to walk. You know that. It’s not the same anymore.”
Mom nodded. “Still, I think you need to go. It’s time to move on.”
Deep down inside I knew she was right. Scowling, I trudged towards the door and opened it.
No clatter of long toenails on the linoleum. No excited furry body rushing outside.
I sighed, and closed the door behind me.
The bright sunlight afflicted my eyes as I started to walk. The birds singing in the trees seemed to mock my pain.
I shoved my hands into my pockets, hunching over as I kicked at stones along the pavement. With every step I took I missed the taut leash that always used to rest in my hand. The dog that would pull me along the sidewalk, tail waving proudly behind her as she stopped to sniff every tree and bush, was gone.
As I wandered past the neighborhood pond, the calm waters blinked up at me, inviting me to stay.
I sank down onto the grassy bank, closing my eyes as I remembered … remembered.
“Why, Jesus? Why did you let Molly die?”
No answer. Should there be? She was just a dog.
Then why did it hurt so much?
“It hurts, Jesus!” I cried into the stillness. “It hurts to think! It hurts!”
Even as I spoke the words, I saw it all over again.
I was lying in bed, studying, when my sister started calling my name.
“Caity! Come quick! It’s Molly!”
I slammed my textbook shut and bolted from the room.
My Mom and sister were huddled over something. Pushing closer, I saw that it was Molly, stretched out on the floor, her body shaking in a spasm.
“What happened?” I asked, kneeling down, stroking her fur.
“I don’t know,” Mom said, close to tears. “All I heard was a crash.”
Under my hands Molly shuddered, then lay still, panting, her scared eyes staring straight into mine.
Then the seizure took her again and she went rigid, trembling, her tongue lolling, breathing hard in agony.
I drove to the vet, trying to ignore the struggle in the backseat as Dad held my shaking, slobbering dog.
As soon as I parked, I leapt out of my seat and raced to open Dad’s door.
He carried Molly into a waiting room full of people.
“We need help!”
With no time to waste, they rushed us into the examination room and laid Molly on the table.
The nurse gave her a shot, hoping to stop the seizure.
Then we waited, watching, holding down Molly’s writhing body.
“It’s OK, girl,” I whispered, petting her. “Everything’s OK. You’ll be all right. Oh, Jesus! Please make her well!”
Finally, Molly’s body grew still.
“Good,” the nurse said. “It’s working.”
“She’s stopped breathing!” Dad interrupted.
Startled, the nurse checked Molly’s vitals, then scooped her up and rushed her into the next room.
The doctor delivered the bad news.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “We couldn’t revive her. She’s dead.”
Dad stepped outside to call the others at home.
Dazed, I stayed in the room alone. Not knowing what to do, I started to sing.
“I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind,
Still, you hear me when I'm calling,
Lord, you catch me when I'm falling,
And you've told me who I am.
I am yours.” *
Tears filled my eyes as I sat by the pond, remembering.
“Why, Jesus?” I asked again.
“Child,” he answered, “I love you.”
I bowed my head.
“I am love, and Molly loved you.”
I remembered how excited Molly would be when I’d come home from work, how she’d lick my hands, or nose my bedroom door open, hoping to be invited in.
“If I can put my love into your dog, then know that I love you.”
Suddenly, I saw a vision of a room, like my bedroom, with a bed in one corner and books, lots of books. Sitting by the door, calm and content, was Molly. She wasn’t dead. She was waiting for me.
“Child, I know that it hurts to think. But would you rather forget?”
“No,” I said. “I’ll never forget Molly. Never.”
(*Casting Crowns, Who Am I?)
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