The last couple of months have been difficult months as we have watched my dad's health decline from cancer and his ability to communicate and move about has been taken away by Parkinson's. It has been very stressful for all of us.
Even though he is still with us, we are mourning his loss because Parkinson's has essential already taken him from us.
Enter a book, given to me by the local librarian. She had gone to a book seller's convention in Chicago and the author of The Pug List was there with her pug. Since I own a pug she picked up one of the books and brought it back for me, thinking I would enjoy reading it.
I read the book in three days. I could hardly put it down. It couldn't have been a more appropriate book for the times I live in right now.
On page 23 the author, Alison Hodgson talks about the Before and After. When tragedy or death comes into your life, there is a point where you cross over from Before to After and your life changes at that point. You can't go back to Before ever again. You must adjust and accept your life After the event.
On page 29 Alison talks about how when her house burned down, it was all merely stuff that was burning. The most important things were her family's lives and their pets. They still had those.
Although cancer and Parkinson's is taking my Dad's life away from me, what Alison says about "merely stuff", reminds me that I need to value and love those around me while I have them. My "stuff" is temporary. It doesn't really matter. Those I love are more important than my "stuff".
Page 40 Alison says that trauma, while in the company of grief and loss are not the same thing at all.
Grief and loss is the process of coming to accept life After. Trauma runs deeper and can cause Post Traumatic Syndrome and anxiety if the stress of the experience that caused the trauma is not addressed and worked through.
Page 53 Alison learned that grief is not a linear journey. In other words, it does not follow the prescribed stages that you see in neat little charts about the stages of grief. It bounces all over the board from one stage to the other and back again.
Page 54 Alison talks about the death of her dad. I was impressed with the statement she made about him now seeing through a glass clearly. He had it all figured out now. She prayed to see things from his perspective and was amazed how material things didn't matter that much anymore after that. She felt a clarity about what was important and what could be let to fall by the side. It removed the guilt she felt about certain things like seeing pictures that were not put in a scrapbook. She was able to work through the anger and grief and felt peace because she had learned to truly mourn his death.
Page 94 I liked that she said that the story of the Bible is not finished. God promises there will be no more tears, but not yet. We are part of the story and that is yet to come.
Page 112 She talks about her fear wasn't so much of losing her belongings as it was of starting over. I think that can also be true of those who lose a loved one. They aren't losing any stuff, but in a sense they have to start over with life without their loved one. There is the fear of what that will be like.
Page 123 Corrie Ten Boom said, "There are no ifs' in God's world. And no places are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety--Oh Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it!"
Of course there is the pug. I laughed at all the things this little imp of a pug did. It all sounded exactly like my pug when she was young. The bawling at the vet when it was time for toe nail clipping, the happy dances when his "person" came home, the unhappy whines when his "person" left his sight...all of it parallel's Daisy. All pugs must be cut from the same cloth. But the most precious part was how this little dog healed the hearts of this family in spit of his frustrating habits of snoring, hogging the bed and making messes around the house.
I highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with loss of any kind. You will laugh. You will cry. But above all you will come away encouraged.
The Pug List: A Ridiculous Little Dog, a Family Who Lost Everything, and How They All Found Their Way Home