If you would have told me 150 weeks ago that two things would happen on April 5, 2020:
- I’d be writing my 150th consecutive weekly story at MindWolves.com, and
- I’d be writing about my family’s Boston Terrier, Bolt.
I would not have believed you.
For one thing, writing has always been a weakness of mine, and I’m still not a confident writer. Moreover, Bolt was the healthiest and youngest of our two dogs.
My family lost a loving member of our pack on Thursday, April 2nd. It was sudden. It was shocking. There was no warning. There were no signs that something was wrong with Bolt. He came in from outside like normal, barked and bounced for his treat, and drank a little water. Five minutes later, I found him unresponsive on the kitchen floor. No pulse. No breath.
Now, if your not a dog lover, or an animal lover, then you can stop reading. I’ll spare you the rest because it won’t make sense to you. You’ll probably call me silly.
Our hearts literally hurt. We are heart broken. We are grieving. Our home feels different. Our pack is not the same without Bolt. He was a twenty-two pound ball of love and joy. He would have turned 9 years old on July 3rd. He wasn’t supposed to die yet.
We got Bolt when he was just 7 weeks old. The kids were 6 and 3 years old. They grew up with him. Now 15 and 12, Dallas and Jarah are experiencing their first real loss of someone they loved dearly and knew intimately. Bolt was a true friend.
As a parent, I’ve been thrust in to a role I did not expect or want at the moment. I need to teach them how to grieve correctly while grieving myself. Man, is this hard.
Grief is a reality of life that is either a healthy or hurtful process. When healthy, you emerge from it stronger, wiser and able to live life more positive and cheerful. When hurtful, you end up weaker, bitter and more negative and depressed.
I’m teaching them it’s ok to cry. It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to express how you feel. It’s ok to be sad. I’m not trying to make them feel better. I’m just allowing them to be present with me, and I am focused on being in the moment with them.
We’re telling stories about Bolt. What we loved about him. What he did that made us laugh. What we remember, the good and the bad. What he meant to our family. What he represented.
Here were some unchangeable truths about Bolt:
- Bolt saw everything we went through. It’s as though he intrinsically felt it.
- Bolt cared about everything we went through. You could see it in his face.
- Bolt always acted out of his goodness to us.
- Bolt never stopped loving us.
- No matter what we went through, Bolt was always there to support us.
- Bolt never worried about anything. He lived in the present.
I believe when animals die, their spirits go straight to our Lord in Heaven. A friend and colleague shared this beautiful prayer with me this week:
He is not lost our dearest love, nor has he traveled far,
Just stepped inside home’s loveliest room, and left the door ajar.
There’s only one thing in all of God’s creation that worries: human beings. We’re the only things that don’t trust him, and God says that’s unnatural.
Bolt affirmed this in the way he lived his life. I am so grateful his spirit was and always will be part of our family. In fact, I renamed our family WiFi to Bolt Wireless to symbolize he’s still with us.
We don’t know how much time we have left here on earth, but that doesn’t mean we have to live in fear and without hope. Bolt’s model for living is a model we can embrace.
Thank you so so much for being you, Bolt. We’ll missing petting your little black and white body, but your spirit will forever be part of our family.