I knew when we left for our mission, that Linc wouldn’t be there when we returned. I said my goodbyes then… Sort of. I have been dreading this day and crying over this day for years, and now it’s here. Oh, how I wish I could be there to hold his head in my lap as he slips away to join whoever and whatever is waiting for him beyond. I always felt I owed him that. Thank goodness, one who loves him almost as much as I do, is there to take my place.
I know there are many who know exactly what I’m feeling right now. We are the ones lucky enough to have both given and received love from one (or more) of these pure and innocent spirits that are not quite our children, but almost. Yes, Lincoln was a dog… but no ordinary dog. (Are there ANY ordinary dogs, given the love and attention they deserve?) Lincoln loved people, especially babies, was as kind as he was big, and had the gift of always seeming to know who needed his love and attention. I know the purpose of this blog is to write about my experiences here in the Congo, and though you may not see it as such, saying goodbye to my Lou is one of them. Just let me tell you one of my favorite stories about Lincoln, that best illustrates his goodness. Isn’t that what we all need to do when we grieve?
A few years ago, I was standing at the open door of our home talking to a friend who was on his way out, when Linc appeared from around the side of the house. He had been out galavanting as usual, but this time, he had come home bringing a friend with him. The friend, obviously a stray, hung back while Linc tried to encourage her to follow him in. Now you know I love dogs, but this was the third stray in a couple of months that he had brought home. This one was matted and thin and I wasn’t quite sure I wanted her bringing “whatever” into the house. Besides, my friend and I were in the middle of a conversation, so I put my hand up to stop the stray from coming any closer. As we continued to talk, Linc stopped at the door, looked up at me and waited, asking if “she” could come in. In exasperation, I told Linc to either come in or go out, but the stray was not coming in! We continued our conversation as Linc walked between us and into the back entry, where I had put down his food for the day. A few seconds later he was back again. This time, our conversation stopped and we watched, as he walked back outside with his bowl of food in his mouth. He carried it over to where his little friend was waiting, placed the bowl down in front of her and then stood back, as she hungrily gulped down the food. “Did I just see what I think I saw?”, my friend asked in surprise. Yes… That was Link.
I think God must have created dogs, as a gift to help us get through the tough parts of life. At least that’s what they’ve done for me. Lincoln loved unconditionally and was always by my side when I needed him most. I feel him there watching over me still, and when I close my eyes, I can see him happily running and barking with Simon, Sam and Little Lass. One of the many things I don’t know, is exactly HOW it will be when we leave this life. But one of the few things I DO know, is that those little souls with whom we have shared so much love, will be there waiting to greet us.