A Precious Gift

by Katherine Berka
(Brookfield, Wisconsin)

       Molly Pearl  (born on Pearl Harbor Day) Valentine (came to live with us on Valentine’s Day)                                             December 7, 1999- December 18, 2014

Molly Pearl (born on Pearl Harbor Day) Valentine (came to live with us on Valentine’s Day) December 7, 1999- December 18, 2014

Molly died Thursday, December 18, 2014 one week before Christmas. Below is a letter I wrote to family and friends shortly after…

Hello Everyone…belated Merry Christmas...(although I don’t think Christmas can ever be belated, I am learning to keep it with me everyday :)

Anyway, I just wanted to say Merry Christmas and to let you know that a few days before Christmas we had to put our dog of 15 years Molly to sleep. She had not been well for the past few months and was recently diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. While looking back we think she may have suffered with it a lot longer than she led on and would not at all be surprised if she just gutted it out for our sakes. Molly was a gift on Valentine’s Day from my dad…. she was to serve as a companion, comforter and distraction for Megan as she went though the ups and downs of chronic pancreatitis at age 11…and she did that well.

Thankfully Megan got better and Molly then served as my companion, comforter and distraction as the girls all left for school, began to marry and the house became a bit more quiet. She was always two steps behind me and ever ready to sit by my side as I opened the Word and began a time of prayer and study. She woke me in the morning, made my closet her little hide away when she was tired and snuggled next to me on those nights when Dave was working late…she was not an emotional, “feely ” dog but she was quiet, present and consistent…just what a mom of 4 girls needed, and I called her “My Bestest Friend” :)

While the last moments of Molly’s life were traumatizing we have found comfort in that it was not an agonizing decision to let her go and that the Lord has made His presence very known to us…particularly in this poem from the devotional I read with Molly at my side almost every day, dated the day after her death…when I was grieving so terribly and I asked the Lord what He could possibly say to me in the midst of my pain. The poem itself had no title but reads…

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back…
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stoney track
And if, perhaps, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me that He was with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn;
That when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the lofty air was still.

O friend, call back and tell me for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet sprint in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, thought I long for word of Him.

But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you’ll say He saw you thought the night’s sin-darkened sky….
If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back…
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

(It said author unknown, but I think the Lord Himself
wrote it for me ☺.)

Now while I will have to trust God for what happens to dogs after they die…I do know He blessed us with Molly while she was alive … she was definitely part of our family and the one of the best gifts we ever got. For me the poem was His perfect word of comfort that day, for when we would take Molly for our walk up the hill and around the block by she would always be a bit ahead of us, and when we would come around the last corner towards home, she would start walking a little bit faster in anticipation of reaching home and we would always say…. “we better walk faster, she's picking up the pace” and we would try to catch up by walking a little bit faster too. And then, when she would run the last few yards home and reach our driveway she would literally sprint a ways up the drive and turn to look to see if we where coming, if we were close enough she would do what we would call her “happy dance” and then sprint a bit more and turn and look for us again. She did this all the way up the driveway until we all finally made it to the door together…you see, she knew that when we went in she would receive a treat… her just reward for the walk!

I have no doubt that God was speaking to me in this poem. He was encouraging me and answering my difficult questions. He was opening my “spirit eyes” and comforting me… and I know that He will use the memories I have of her in the days and weeks ahead to “call back” to me as I go on and to encourage me to “pick up the pace”…to be serious about getting home and fulfilling the purposes He has for me here until He either comes again or I reach home in the arms of Christ.

A friend once asked me if I knew that dog was God spelled backwards…I didn’t then, but I do now. Molly taught me a lot about God, His character and His ways; she has taught me how to run the race before me with excitement and anticipation knowing that God has something good for me when I finally make it “home”. She taught me how to be faithful, steady and constant …and now the last thing, but perhaps the most important thing Molly taught me? Well, as I think of how she often waited for us to come home, many times in the dark, not knowing when we would return… I would say she taught me how to wait.

She always waited patiently, hopefully, expectantly…always at the door, the first to warmly greet us when we returned. So now I too wait…I wait for Christmas … I wait for Him to come again.
I wait for Emmanuel to come and set everything right…no more “sin-darkened sky”, no death, no illness, so sadness, no grief, no loss… May I do it as faithfully as Molly did, until then…

A belated Merry Christmas everyone…He is with us!

Comments for A Precious Gift

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May 18, 2015
by: Unicia

I just wanted to say that your words are simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing Molly's story.

Mar 29, 2015
A Precious Gift
by: Doreen UK

Katherine I am so sorry for your loss of Molly. Thank You for your post of your life with Molly and for all the Blessings she left you through your loss of her. A beautiful well written account of Love, and loss, and a life that was more meaningful by having Molly as part of your life. God sure did love us by the animals he created for our pleasure and enjoyment as part of one's life.
I found comfort in your words and your presentation of your life with Molly.
My sister had to put her Westie to Sleep a few days ago, and I got the phone call of hollow, and painful sobs as she cried from deep within her soul at losing her Dixie. One of the most beautiful dogs much like you express Molly. I hurt for my sister and her loss of her Dixie as he deteriorated so fast from cancer. His suffering was so great and it was more merciful to put him to sleep. What a very difficult decision to make, but one that has to be made for the sake of the suffering dog/pet. WE have to make the most difficult decisions in life. But in God's mercy He gives us the strength to make those decisions out of Love. Just like you we also await the return of Jesus to release us from the sorrows we face on earth and that his coming back for us will find us where we want to be and that all dogs go to heaven as the film says. A pet for life is just that. A life made better by the joys we share with our pets to make our journey here on earth a little easier. May God continue to help you in life as you live without Molly, and for the gracious way you have accepted your loss of her that helps everyone who has lost a pet and struggling with grief.

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