Saying Good-bye Is Hard

Family

My Jazzy is dying. For anyone who has lost a beloved pet, you know the grief is real.

It’s been hard to watch her health deteriorate. She was diagnosed with advanced stages of liver disease back in June. Her pancreas is also diseased. We’ve tried medications and diet changes in the hopes of regenerating her liver, but these things haven’t worked so we suspect cancer. We’re just making her as comfortable as possible. We called the vet yesterday and talked about the difficult decision to euthanize because sometimes it’s really the most loving thing to do.

I’ve read some dogs can hang on for days at the end of their lives, but when I look at Jazzy I know she has no quality of life left. There’s no joy in her eyes. The things that used to make her light up don’t phase her anymore. Her breathing is labored. She’s not eating or drinking. She can no longer stand up. She barely moves. Breaks my heart.

I’m only sharing this because there are several other things going on in my life causing me emotional discomfort. For those of you who read my blog you know I’m not one to sugar coat my feelings. One of the things that dog experts advise when a family pet is dying: Don’t let your dog sense how upset you are…

Do you know how hard this is for someone who’s wired to feel all the feels?!? To let it all out?!? To express herself without holding back?!? Get real. I’m sad and that’s all there is to it. BUT, for Jazzy’s sake I’m taking my tears to the next room and letting them flow. What Jazzy gets from me right now are soft strokes across her bony back and soothing words of comfort, It’s okay, Jazzy. It’s okay to leave us. We’re sad to see you go, but you’ve loved us well. You’ve been loyal and faithful and sometimes completely zany, but you’ve served your purpose in life. It’s okay to say good-bye.

In all honesty, my emotions have been on a roller coaster ride since December when I began experiencing health issues, which I’ve recently shared here on the blog. It’s just no fun not feeling well. Not feeling my best. Not feeling like myself.

In the process of riding the ups and downs of this rollercoaster, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and I’ve made a decision.

I’m saying good-bye to my blog.

I’m not saying good-bye to writing because writing is therapeutic for me, but I don’t believe this blog is all it could be. It needs rethinking and maybe I’ll come back in a few months with a brand new design. Change isn’t such a bad thing. Change is good. But sometimes…in order to make those changes we have to say good-bye to the things that have lost their quality of life. Things that have served their purpose for a season but no longer bear fruit.

I don’t write to gain followers as much as I write to share how God is working in the every day of my life. There’s always the hope that someone, somewhere, will find their way here and read something encouraging, uplifting, inspiring. But after 3 years I just don’t see a lot of fruit.

I’ve been struggling with this as I ride this rickety old coaster. There’ve been times it’s even made me sick to my stomach ’cause I love writing. Even when experiencing writer’s block I still wanted to write!

There’s so much more I could be doing to make this blog better and I’m so technically challenged…what can I say? I tried one time to add some plug-ins and ended up in tears. I was so traumatized I couldn’t get on my computer for days, but I can’t be afraid to change! I want change, need change, welcome change because making changes can often produce a more fruitful work.

I think sometimes we get stuck and I don’t want to be stuck. I want to have the courage to  learn. To grow. Sometimes we have to allow God to change us before we can be someone who can affect change in others.

That’s the real beauty of writing, sharing, and journaling my thoughts for all the world to see. I don’t want my writing to be just another expression of myself. I want it to motivate. To move and touch and stir the hearts of others to walk more closely with God. He may very well have another ministry in mind for me other than writing. Who knows?

Sometimes to do the things we want the most we have to give up some things we love. Things we try to hold onto more tightly than we should. We need to learn when to let go. And the irony of that is, sometimes we have to surrender the very things we think we’re called to do. The gift of words, whether writing or speaking or teaching, is a calling. But I can’t make it happen no matter how hard I try.

Only through surrender can God bring a calling to life. And it may not look like anything I think it should look like. God’s dreams for me are way bigger, better, and more beautiful than anything I could dream up on my own.

I’ve been preparing myself for a month of deeper soul-searching in September. I’ll be fasting and seeking the heart of God. I’m deactivating my Instagram and Facebook accounts from September 1-October 1. I won’t be renewing my WordPress account. After September 13, my blog will be completely deleted. It’s time for change and I’m going to prepare my heart to receive it.

I’ll continue to write for the Community Facebook Page I share with Sherry French, Reflections On The Word. For those who’d like to continue reading my devotions, my ponderings and musings, you can always follow me there. But please ‘like’ the page to receive updates in your feed.

Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/reflectionontheword

(I’ll be back on Instagram October 1. I often write mini devotions there, too. You can find me at @gracedtolive. I love posting my photos and bringing them to life with words and I just looooove the IG Community!)

Anyway, I have a sweet friend who needs me today…yes, I’m talking about my Jazzy.

Saying good-bye is hard, but so is change. It’s going to take a while for me to get used to the absence of her presence in our home. The way she greeted me at the door with her little stub of a tail twitching and wriggling. The way she bounded over furniture and ran up and down the stairs. The way she watched over the house and barked at everything that moved. The way she protected me and mostly…mostly…for the way she loved me, even when I wasn’t very lovable.

Jazzy never met a stranger in her life and when she’s gone, I suspect she’ll never be a stranger to my heart. Even so, there’s still room for change there. In that place where I want to hold onto her more tightly than I should, I know it’s time to let go.

So, I will say good-bye. And really. It’s okay.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21