I thought I’d write on the topic of grieving my late dog Leo who passed away over a year ago. I wrote this in a book that when we love someone a lot we also will miss a lot. I would be lying if I said I didn’t still miss him. I did get another tremendous dog Joby who has helped me navigate through the grieving process by the grace of God and I take nothing away from him, by saying I still miss Leo.
As I thought about it, Joby would have never come into my life if Leo was still around, so there is always a way to count God’s blessings. And I know God works through him at times, because there are moments when I reflect on Leo and it will start making me a bit sad, and here comes Joby just putting his head on my shoulder as if prompted by God to do so, and this has happened several times in the past year.
When Leo was diagnosed with deadly lymphoma, we became quite closer and we were quite close before this time. Each day was magnified, another of God’s blessings as I look back. We were battling each day not knowing if Leo would see the next one. If anyone had a loved one go through this, you know exactly what I mean. You aren’t looking forward to next year or even next month, it is a day by day gratefulness. You don’t draw away, you get closer.
There is also some guilt to navigate through during that time, because you are always trying never to waste a day on them on other things which do tend to come up. And with a dog, they are always at your mercy so they obediently will do anything you task them with. I had some anger with myself at times for getting to captivated on anything other than Leo, but being as considerate as he was, he never seemed to mind.
I learned never to take the people we love for granted through Leo. “Maybe next time” or “next year” doesn’t seem to fit right now. And now Joby is reminding me of this as well, another one of God’s true blessings. The sad circumstance of losing Leo was definitely an eye opening learning experience. He was great in every way, a companion I counted on through everything, and now he was gone. Writing about him has been a great therapy as well as knowing that God is right here with me. Through it as well, some people I never expected to support me, did and still do. They could have fell off long ago and I still would have appreciated them, but they continue to help me in ways they don’t realize. Remember this with a friend who has went through a loss, they might seem to have bounced back in many ways, but know part of them will still grieve the loss no matter how long it is, be there for them. You will know who God placed there for you by who doesn’t fall away quickly, the “I am sorry for your loss” and then they are gone.
One other thing I learned from the experience with Leo, is that you know who you truly love if you cannot imagine your life without them, because I said it is a day by day love, a not taking for granted type of love. I couldn’t imagine my life without Leo at the time, all I could do is hope for another day with him. But don’t fret, God will give you more love in your life, more that you cannot imagine living without. He makes that oh so clear if we just LOOK. And there might someone or something you have this with but never really thought about it that way, don’t take them for granted. Do what you can do today, tomorrow is never promised as Jesus taught.
Those memories of Leo are something I will always cherish and learn from! I still miss him as life goes on by the grace of God.
A lyric from the Mamas and Papas song “Monday Monday” comes to mind as Leo died on a Monday morning. “Oh Monday morning, Monday morning couldn’t guarantee, that Monday evening you would still be with me” “Oh Monday morning you gave me no warning as to what was to be, oh Monday Monday how could you leave and not take me”.