Some days are manageable – in fact, some days have really surprised me at how much joy there is in them. It helps so much that at the moment we are living in a beautiful place with lots of family around. There have been days full of sunshine, friends, barbeques, swimming, walking and laughing so hard there have been tears. These are the moments when I think the cheesy thought: ‘This is what Scooby would’ve wanted. He wouldn’t want us all to be sat here moping about him when he’s having the best time ever.’
There are other days when the ache won’t go and little tiny things that by-pass everyone else make me think of moments with him that I’ll never have again. Too many memories are surrounded by hospital visits, and other times that are clouded by just how difficult the last two and a half years have been. In my weakest moments, I feel so much self-pity not just that we lost him, but that we had to go through too darned much in the time leading up to losing him. I wonder if every single happy event in the future will be overshadowed by the lack of his presence. In these moments, although I do let myself cry when I need to cry, I also need to give myself the ‘It’s no use wishing things were different, because they’re not’ speech. I remind myself that the time for fighting to keep him is over. I tell myself it’s no use in doing the whole ‘What would he be doing if he were here now?’ thing, because there are too many scenarios to choose from – the ‘what if he’d never been ill?’ one, the ‘what if the brain disease had been stopped and he was on his way to recovery now?’ one, the ‘what if the final deterioration hadn’t been so fast and we’d managed to bring him home for a bit?’ one, etc etc. There were so many different stages to his illness that ‘what would he be doing now?’ is an unanswerable one anyway. Occasionally it makes us smile as we imagine his reaction to a certain thing, but most of the time it’s not a fun game to play.
There is one overriding thought that brings me back to a place of peace though, and that is Psalm 139:16. Growing up, I’d always wanted four children, and so when we found out we were expecting a fifth, I joked that Baby was our ‘bonus child’. That’s how I thought of her. But since losing Scooby, I’ve begun to realise that maybe he was our ‘bonus child’. Because the verse says, ‘Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’ Even after so long an illness, we are still in disbelief that Scooby has actually died and we will never see him here again. But it is no surprise to God. He knew all along exactly how many days Scooby would have on this earth, despite his induced early birth and the medical treatment that kept him going for so long at the end. It was three thousand, one hundred and seventy. God had them all in His book. We could have gone through life never having known Scooby, but instead God gave him to us for 3170 days. When I think of this, it reminds me not to be overwhelmed with sadness, or to try and work out what he would’ve done if he was here today, because he was never designed to be here today. It wasn’t in the book. His time was perfectly set out by a perfect heavenly Father, who knows far better than us, despite the many times I want to tell Him otherwise.
That is why, between the moments of heaviness and disbelief, I also have moments of extreme joy, because God could’ve picked anyone to look after Scooby for his 3170 earthly days, and it was us He chose. Wow.