When I first started writing this blog, way back in December 2020, I thought that I would try and encourage reader engagement by featuring pictures of our dog. Christmas that year Monty even got a whole post dedicated to his enjoyment of the season. My blog has changed and morphed since, and the dog has long since stopped appearing as a regular feature. But he was always here with me as I wrote. An enduring presence. Until he wasn’t.
Monty was definitely a presence. A Jack Russell Terrier cross with an attitude five times his size, he genuinely ruled the roost. He had his chair, and his schedule, and his opinions, and we learnt to abide by them all. He barked at everyone who came to the door, and had a special vehemence in his reaction towards the postman and the Tesco delivery driver. He would bark at people visiting the neighbours, bark at birds in the garden, bark at nothing in particular. During lockdown he even learnt to bark at the telephone, or during Zoom calls – the word ‘hello’ set him off. When he wasn’t barking, he would be snoring, or moaning, or just breathing heavily. It is quiet without him. Unbearably quiet.
LOSS OF A PRESENCE
So we are in grief, and slowly readjusting to life without the bothersome old dog. He was an enduring presence through some of the hardest moments of our life. Someone for me to talk to when I found myself home alone more often than not. A reason for me to get out of my bed on the days I really didn’t want to. A constant source of laugh aloud moments. We miss him. Even his exasperating traits. And his smell.
So how are we coping? We are being kind to each other, and spending time doing things together, and getting out of the too quiet house, and enjoying our grandson. We are starting to think about planning things to do that having a dog stopped us doing easily. We are looking at photos and videos and laughing at the memories. And shedding tears too.
For me personally, I have found myself clinging to the One who is the true enduring presence. A scripture verse that I have found myself saying over myself, over and over, particularly when the sense of loss has left me physically and emotionally exhausted is from Exodus 15:2
‘The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;‘
And then yesterday this verse popped up on my daily Bible verse app, and it is just what I needed. Psalm 18:2
We have had a hard few weeks, and I know we are not alone in that. Covid, the flu, financial concerns, dark days, wet weather. Loss. I have friends who have lost loved ones, other friends suffering life threatening ill-health. All these things take their toll. But what a blessing to know we are not alone through any of it. God is an enduring presence. He never leaves our side (Hebrews 13:5) He walks through the mess with us. He understands, and knows, and can carry our burdens. He collects every tear we shed (Psalm 56:8).
Even the tears cried over a dog.
Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.
‘The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022
More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com