Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Than Words

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Someone commented to me once, "Since you're a writer, you must have a lot of things you want to say floating around in your head." It's mostly true. I usually do have a lot of things floating around in my head, but I generally don't say them all. And I learned this week that there is a time and a place when words are not adequate no matter how badly you want them to be.

As our family gathered around our dog Monday morning, we knew she didn't have much longer to live. She had been sick and was getting sicker and it was very hard to watch. We made her as comfortable as possible, with my son holding her in his arms as we stroked her head and told her how much we loved her. Our sweet Annie had been a part of our family for eleven years and it was so hard to say goodbye.

My two younger sons were clinging to me and crying and I wanted so badly to comfort them. I thought of all the things I know and believe. I believe there is a heaven and I believe animals are part of that heaven. I know that our little Annie would be going to that heaven because of the kind of dog she was. I had a situation once that could have gone very badly, but Annie came to my defense and I was able to stay safe. Not only was she protective, she was kind and patient, even when my baby would pull her ears. She loved car rides and looking out the window, but the best was rolling down the window and letting her ears flap in the breeze. She absolutely loved that.

As she laid there in my son's arms, she looked at us all with her big brown eyes and seemed so happy that we were all there with her. For just a second she wagged her tail as if she wanted to say goodbye. And then she was gone. I hugged my kids closer as they cried and I desperately wanted to say something that would comfort them at the loss of our beloved pet. Words flew through my mind, but they died on my tongue. Instead I merely squeezed my kids and offered the comfort of being there with them. I knew the words would come later. Because no matter how much I wanted to have just the right words to say, being there was the best thing to do.

The thing about words and ideas floating around in your head is that sometimes it's a great idea to let them out and sometimes it's best to keep them in. It's knowing when to speak and when to be silent that is crucial because sometimes a touch can say everything you want to say without speaking at all.

That night we talked about our favorite memories of Annie. We laughed and cried together as the words didn't seem to stop and we talked late into the night. In that moment, the ideas floating in my head seemed like just the right things to say. So I did.


At 10/15/2009 1:13 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Julie, I'm so sorry about the loss of your beloved Annie.

At 10/16/2009 12:42 AM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thanks, Stephanie. You're a sweet friend.

At 10/16/2009 12:53 AM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
--Roger Caras

I'm so sorry for your loss.


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