Ode to Honey: A Story of Death and Grieving

by: Larry Davies | Jan 11, 2010

The doctor carefully shaved the area and applied a clear gel over the smooth skin. As he gently placed the sensor on the spot, a picture appeared on the connected monitor. The ultra-sound machine was accurately showing a diseased heart that was nearly twice its original size.

She has a bad valve in the left ventricle.” I heard him say along with a lot of technical jargon only doctors could possibly understand. His next words are engraved in my memory. “There is nothing we can do! With proper medication, she will last a few months… maybe a year at most!”

The next few minutes seemed like hours as the doctor explained the nature of the disease in detailed language we frankly did not care to hear. Then he outlined how to use the various medications being prescribed to help her live as long as possible. Finally the staff quietly presented the bill that, by the way, needed payment immediately.

My wife cried, while I drove home in silence reflecting on the memories and tried to figure how we would deal with this new tragedy in our lives. “It’s just a dog,” the voice inside of me cried out. “How can you get so emotional about a dog?”

Several years ago, I would have laughed at this point and called the author slightly touched in the head, but now I am the one being emotional about “Honey” our eight year old Cocker Spaniel because she has become a part of our family and I love her.

We actually have two dogs and like children they have uniquely different personalities. Honey is our chubby, easy-going dog who will endure almost anything yet still wag her tail and lick your face. No trash container or newspaper is safe with her around. Molly, on the other hand, is the high-strung whiner who will bark at everything. Temperamental is too mild to describe Molly.

Honey now has her own pill container with the days marked to remind us of all the medication, more than most adults consume. One of the pills is a diuretic that helps her get rid of fluids. In other words, she has to go to the bathroom frequently. So, if you see me outside in the middle of the night, I’m walking Honey.

Do you wonder why I’m telling you all of this?

Because everyone at one time or another must endure a medical crisis or some other form of bad news, which could involve a beloved pet, a friend or a loved one. We all face these crisis periodically. How do we respond? After years of helping others cope, I have discovered helpful advice.

  • ·         Be Optimistic: The information could be flawed or the doctors could be wrong. God could intervene with a miracle. Patients who survive terminal illness often possess a positive attitude and a strong belief in God.
  • ·         Be Realistic: You also must ask yourself, “If this news is true, what should I take care of?” Are there final words, or unfinished business?
  • ·         Maintain Trust & Faith in God: A secure knowledge of Who is in control, even in crisis is a critical factor in learning to cope.

Paul writes to the Philippians: “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (4:5-7)

Our family crisis with Honey is a reminder to put the final outcome in the hands of a God who will give us all strength and a supernatural peace to endure even to the very end.

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Questions to Challenge:

1.     What has been the latest “bad news” in your life?

2.     How can you be optimistic and realistic at the same time?

3.     What does Paul means when he promises: “and the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus?”

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