18 months ago today, while I was out of town, my yorkiepoo Pretty ran away. The last one of the original signs came down yesterday. It was on a pole in front of my house. When I hung it, I was devastated; but I just KNEW we would get her back.
I could barely sleep those early days. Every time I started to drift off, I would burst into tears. So I didn't willingly close my eyes. I worked tirelessly to find her - from the time my eyes opened until I just could not keep them open another second.
I dreamed of her every time I slept. I kept the phone by my head. We got a lot of calls that first year, especially in the first six months. Just like an on duty fire fighter, I sprang awake and dashed out to answer every call. I put myself in a lot of risky situations. I can say in hindsight, I was not in my right mind. I was in my broken heart.
Like this sign, my grief has aged and faded. Mercifully, those powerful emotions and constant adrenaline fueled reactions have receded. The overwhelming grief only comes in waves now. These waves are smaller and further apart. Although I look for her every single time I go out, it does not usually interrupt my day or hijack my thoughts like it did in the beginning when I quit my job and made finding Pretty my top priority.
Now when I get a call, I have to re-arrange my schedule to answer it. Before I race out, I have to evaluate the likelihood that she is actually the look alike who has been brought to my attention.
I miss her every day and I still pray that somehow she will return or be miraculously discovered. I have had too many callous people say out loud what of course we all consider; but I do not sense she is dead. I do not believe she was eaten.
I wish I knew for a fact that she is still alive and being loved and cared for. If I knew that, I could live without the gift of her daily presence in our lives. God has filled the vacancy in our home; though the one in our hearts will never be filled.
In some ways, I feel like this sign - worn out and weathered from this monumental but fruitless effort. But unlike this sign, my hope and faith is renewed every morning. I am not faded by the sun. My light shines from within. It is this belief and confidence of a greater Love and a greater purpose for every living being - which comforted me in my darkest hour and comforts me still. Pretty is lost to me. But God knows exactly where she is and has the power to care for her better than I ever could. Even if I don't know what it is, (though I have already seen glimpses of it); I believe she is fulfilling God's purpose for her life.
I don't believe it's God's "fault" that Pretty ran away and out of reach, anymore than I believe that it is to my "credit" that she ever existed in the first place. We all have a story and a place in the Bigger Story. It's not always easy to grapple with that fact. But sometimes, little furry angels are brought into our lives to bring us these messages in ways we can accept.