Recently I’ve come across the writing of Glennon Doyle Melton. Both in her book, “Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed” and her blog she talks about how life can be both brutal and beautiful, ‘brutiful’, and often at the exact same time. Author Ann Voskamp calls these same moments the Ugly-Beautiful in her writing. Those moments when pain, suffering, fear, grief and sometimes death hold hands with precious, beautiful, amazing and holy.
And in those brutiful, ugly-beautiful moments we have a choice. We can embrace them and move through them open to all that God may want to do and say in them and through them. OR we can suit up with our own version of self-protective armor and move through them on our own terms, closed to any outcome other than the one we want.
Last week I was privileged to witness one of those moments in our family. With very little warning, but a whole lot of drama, tears, and heartache my oldest daughter had to make the decision to have her beloved dog of almost 10 years, Oreo, put to sleep.
For twelve excruciating, sleepless hours she stayed by his side as he suffered through uncontrollable seizures and difficulty breathing. She whispered sweet words of love and affirmation as she continually pet him in an effort to keep him calm. She bore witness to his struggle. She didn’t turn away. She didn’t ask for anyone else to do it for her. She walked through every single ‘brutiful’ moment with Oreo
When the sun rose the next morning she knew that she didn’t want him to suffer like that anymore. Liv Loo, Sophalopes, and I, made the painful trip to the vet’s office.
An hour later, after Oreo’s condition had deteriorated further and arrangements had been made, the vet let the girls know they didn’t have to stay if this was too hard. But they couldn’t leave him. As long as he was still breathing they were staying with him.
And so they sobbed uncontrollably, whispered love in his ears, pet him and looked him straight in the eye as the life left his tiny frame. They bore witness to his suffering and to his passing. And I bore witness to their love, their bravery, and their refusal to surrender to their own heartache. As his heart stopped beating their hearts split wide open.
It’s a very difficult, gut-wrenching thing to watch a living thing, human or animal, give up its life. But they never looked away, they were generous with their love and their presence. They moved through each moment as it came and embraced it as profoundly necessary and holy.
Love stared death in the face and didn’t flinch. Brutal and beautiful met, grabbed hands and wrestled. And it was one of the most sacred moments I’ve ever witnessed.
Our little Make Stuff Girl truly is made of tougher stuff than I knew. And the Everything is Possible Girl who confidently moves through life unshaken by those things that make her different, well she’s my hero, too.
They are the bravest women I know and once again I am humbled and honored to be their Momma.