Earlier this year, my family and I noticed that Samson was slowing down, had labored breathing, and was not as active as he used to be. Yet he always had a sweet spirit within, full of unconditional love, affection, and such a friendly fella. We couldn't have asked for a better dispositioned dog.
In September, Samson's health declined. His back legs were weak and he fell down our basement steps. The upper respiratory distress was constant. He wasn't eating as much as he used to, which was a red flag since Samson always had a hearty appetite. Gradually, over a few months, he began to deteriorate right before our eyes.
A part of me was crushed as I knew in the back of my mind that his days were numbered. I sincerely never imagined that we would lose him this soon, but I am reminded that every form of life is short on earth. The Bible tells us that we go through seasons in life. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance...."
So as I mourn the loss of Samson, I do not know what is harder. Watching him suffer and be in pain was excruciating for me. It ripped my own heart apart. Saying goodbye for the last time cuts like a knife. Just knowing that I will never watch him play ball, run, chase after his squeaky toys, joyfully rip open his gifts on Christmas morning, or have fun popping balloons, deeply hurts.
Yet a part of me is relieved. I'm relieved that he is no longer in pain. No longer struggling to breath, to walk, and to function. I trust that he is free and at peace. So I take comfort in that and have to remind myself a dozen times daily that letting go of Samson was the right thing to do.
Yesterday was my husband and my 27th wedding anniversary, which didn't go quite as we had planned. Instead of fine dining at a fancy restaurant to celebrate our special day, we opted for a quiet dinner at home. With candlelight, we ate hamburgers, shared stories about our fond memories of Samson, and we both shed a whole lot of tears.
As a deep thinker, I try to make logical sense of losing my lab too soon. Within the last two weeks, he faded so fast. While I may never fully understand why his life ended quicker than I had expected, I can still see God's provision is always perfect. You see, I was supposed to be launching my 3rd book right now, but things did not go as planned. Due to Adobe crashing, my editor informed me earlier this week that my book had to be rebuilt from scratch.
Could it be that the Lord orchestrated events to unfold at this precise time because He knew my sweet Samson's life would end? Could it be that God graciously gave me this time to grieve, to work through my emotions, and to allow myself time to heal without having to focus on my book launch, which would take much time and attention?
In any case, I am grateful today for the 12 wonderful years that my family and I had the opportunity to have Samson who was a big part of our lives. Despite the anguish of losing a furry friend, today I will choose to hold dear memories in my heart forever. To cling to the happy times and the treasure of loving sweet Samson to the fullest.