A Painful Loss

Have you ever loved someone so much that when they were gone, you realized how much you truly loved them..How much they were a part of your everyday life? I know how it feels. Yesterday, on July 18, 2016, I lost my sister, my best-friend, my sweet female black labrador named Hunter. Hunter took turns having sleepovers most nights with my brother & myself. Mostly over summer, we would all have a sleepover together.

The night before Hunter passed away, my mama knew she wasn’t feeling herself & didn’t want her going up the stairs. She suggested my brother and I sleep downstairs with her. My mom woke us up early so we could take her to the vet. Her stomach had been very bloated. It looked like she was pregnant, so we took her in. While the doctors were diagnosing her, we went to the park. Then, my mom got a call from the vet… I looked over from the swings and saw her crying and my heart sank. When I asked her what was wrong she told me that Hunter had a tumor on her liver, that it was bigger than a grapefruit. The doctors said that it was too big to remove and the fact that it was on her liver was bad news. It was bleeding which caused the bloating & my parents didn’t want our sweet Hunter to be in pain…they decided that we should put her down to rest in peace that day because if we waited just one more day, it could rupture. This meant it could explode inside of her stomach and then she would just be in horrific pain and we couldn’t bare the thought of that. We knew we had to put her down.

We would have done anything to go back a few months so the doctors could of taken it out then and there. Had it been on her spleen it would have been a different story. I wondered to myself, why couldn’t we have caught it earlier?….why couldn’t it have been on her spleen instead? Then it would have been operable. But we all have these questions don’t we…when bad things happen? My mom says we can’t allow ourselves to go down this slippery slope. We can’t live in the past and get stuck there. That nothing good comes from that. The hardest part is that it came completely unexpected. Never, ever did I wake up thinking yesterday would be the last day I could snuggle with Hunter. Sometimes we think we can plan away, but we really can’t. When things like this happen, it reminds you how short life really is and what really matters in life. For my birthday wish, I wished that I would grow in God’s love and faithfulness, but I now wish I could just have my Hunter back & have her healthy. It’s made me realize how much she touched my life and my entire family’s life. She didn’t even realize what a blessing she was in our lives. She faithfully loved everyone with ZERO expectations. Isn’t this how Jesus wants us to live our lives?

If I had to describe Hunter by three things they would be…
So loving, whenever she got in trouble or if one of us were hurt she would come right up to us, look into our eyes and we just felt her love.
So faithful, she was always there for us whether we needed someone to talk to or someone to comfort us.
The best sister. She’s the only sister I have had, but the best. It makes me feel better that she is up in Heaven with her Mama, Sadie Mae and her Daddy, Cowboy.

It is so hard to lose someone that you love. Last night, I prayed that God would give a message to Hunter for me. I felt her listening and watching over me and I just poured out my love to her. The person that has helped me get through this is God. I just pray to Him to fill our family with peace and to fill all of the other families with strength and peace who have lost someone or something like a pet. Jesus is a healer and He WILL help you get through these tough and tragic times in your life.

Here are some pictures of Hunter:

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Sadie Mae, her mama(left) and Hunter(right)
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Hunter, Cowboy (her daddy), and Me(3 yrs.)
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My First Christmas with Cowboy and Hunter
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Hunter, Cowboy (her daddy), and Me dressed up…Go TIGERS!
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Hunter, Cowboy (her daddy), and Me snuggling on the kitchen floor
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Hunter hanging out with my brother, Robby and me working on schoolwork
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July 17, 2016 (our last full day with sweet Hunter)

Here is a devotion I read from the book Streams of the Desert, by L.B. Cowman, updated by Jim Reimann:
July 19
“‘Shall I not drink the cup my Father has given me?’ – John 18:11

To “drink the cup” was a greater thing than calming the seas or raising the dead. The prophets and apostles could do amazing miracles, but they did not always do the will of God and thereby suffered as a result. Doing God’s will and thus experiencing suffering is still the highest form of faith and the most glorious Christian achievement.
Having your brightest aspirations as a young person forever crushed; bearing burdens daily that are always difficult and never seeing relief; finding yourself worn down by poverty while simply desiring to do good for others and provide a comfortable living for those you love; being shackled by an incurable physical disability; being completely alone, separated from all those you love, to face the trauma of life alone; yet in all these, still being able to say through such a difficult school of discipline, “Shall I not drink the cup my Father has given me?”— this is faith at its highest, and spiritual success at its crowning point.

Great faith is exhibited not so much in doing as in suffering. -Charles Parkhurst
In order to have a sympathetic God, we must have a suffering Savior, for true sympathy comes from understanding another person’s hurt by suffering the same affliction. Therefore we cannot help others who suffer without paying a price ourselves, because afflictions are the cost we pay for our ability to sympathize. Those who wish to help others must first suffer. If we wish to rescue others, we must be willing to face the cross; experiencing the greatest happiness in life through ministering to others is impossible without drinking the cup Jesus drank and without submitting to the baptism He endured.
The most comforting of David’s psalms were squeezed from his life by suffering, and if Paul had not been given “a thorn in the flesh” we would have missed much of the heartbeat of tenderness that resonates through so many of his letters.
If you have surrendered yourself to Christ, your present circumstances that seem to be pressing so hard against you, are the perfect tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you into shape for eternity. So trust Him and never push away the instrument He is using, or you will miss the result of His work in your life.”

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