Thursday, March 02, 2006

An Argument for Heaven

I went through a very tough thing recently.

I had to go with my mother to the vet to have her dog of 13 years, (really she was like a second sister to me), put down as she was suffering from kidney failure. It was the most difficult decision my mother had to make, but there was no point in seein her 'baby' suffer anymore (she had not eaten or drank for days). My mother and I both held Taddie, (the dog I helped name after one of my favorite beers) during her last breaths. My mother, ever the saint was stoic in a time I thought she could not be. She made absolute sure that her voice was calming to Taddie, reassuring her that she was "such a good girl", and that "mommy loved her" and she "was such a darling". My mother is a pretty emotional person, but she made sure that Taddie's last moments were not of her grieving, but of her prasing. After the doctors left, and Taddie's body totally relaxed, we knew it was over. My mother then began to weep. My eyes watered up and I cried as well. Truth be told my eyes are watering as I type this.

I have stood by my mothers side first with the loss of my father, then my grandmother, and several Uncle's. It never gets easier.

About Heaven.

My children have been asking about Nagymama (Hungarian for grandmother) and Taddie. They have not seen them in a few weeks. Usually they both spend a night or two at our house during the week. It is a happy time for everyone, including the dogs (my doxie Fritz included).

Pressed for an answer, my wife told my son and daughter that Taddy was in "Heaven". We have referenced "Heaven" before. It was about two years ago that my daughter first asked me "Who is the grandpa for Nagymama, dad?" It was a difficult question for me to answer, having lost my father almost ten years ago, but along with my wife we proceeded to tell her that Grandpa Merk was in heaven with lots of special people and angels. Without going into every detail the explanation was adequate enough to put my daughters mind at ease and give her some explanation as to why she did not know Daddy's, dadddy.

Since that first inquiry we have talked about Heaven several times with the children. Usually when referencing someone (like a great grandparent) that our children never had a chance to meet. But this time when talking about Taddie going to Heaven, it was the first time that the children had a 'being' of reference. Someone they had known personally, that they now would no longer see again. After hearing that Taddie was in Heaven my daughter wept. My son was sad, but I don't think he recognized what going to Heaven meant, as much as my daughter. She got on the school bus in a pretty somber mood. My wife's initial thought was that the Heaven explanation may not have gone very far. She was wrong.

Clearly 'topical' to my daughter, she had several discussion with her friends about heaven on the bus and in her kindergarten class. One of her best friends told her that her grandparents dog went to heaven last year. When my wife picked up my daughter at the bust stop after school, our daughter recounted this conversation she had with her friend, and proceeded to tell us both her and her friend were convinced that both dogs were playing heaven together. My daughter smiled radiantly as she told my wife. When I got home from work, she repeated the same story. While she admitted to me she was still very sad not to see Taddie, she was glad that she got to be friends with other dogs in heaven.

This all leads me to observe my own faith and perhaps the deeper need for all of us to have it. For those of you know me personally, you know that I never use my faith to dictate my political and/or social beliefs. I don't argue for or against things like abortion, euthanasia, capitol punishment, gay marriage etc. using my religion. Despite this though there are those, especially in the blog community, when upon hearing that I am a person of faith throw me into that 'Bible Thumpin', 'Right-Wing, God Fearin' mold. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As a person of faith, I will freely admit it is a coping mechanism that actually helps me. You see, with my faith I do not sit back and wait for glorious/dubious things to happen as a result of Gods will. I don't 'Thank God' for when things go great, or 'Beg for mercy' when they go wrong. Rather, in my faith I find the ability to handle life's 'ups and downs'. Faith helps me get by the tough times, like Taddie's passing, and also helps me when things are going well, as to not take my good fortune too seriously or for granted. The last thing I want to do is preach on this blog though, so I will leave it at this.

The bottom line is though, as civiliation and science's develop and we discover more about the universe those things like religion which previously held us in check have less and less influence on us. Some say this is good, some say it is bad. It is a very complex argument and not at all what I want this post to be about.

I can't help but think though that there is some infinite wisdom in telling ourselves these wonderful stories (taking the total cynic route) and fabricating these altruistic rules and codes of conduct. In the case of Heaven and my children, some may laugh and have reasonable expectations that in time they will learn that we are all just a cluster of cells, in a gigantic universe and "there are only to guarantees in life; taxes and death", and we all may just rot like cabbage at the end of our times.

Heaven is stuff for children and the weak minded. Right?

Perhaps the bigger lesson though is not whether or not we 'Rest in eternal Peace' when we die, as much as it may be whether or not we actually 'Live in Peace' during our time here.

Rest in Peace Taddie, we all love you! Have fun playing your doggy games in Heaven!
Posted by mightymerk, 2:38 PM

1 Comments:

By Blogger Vector

A great post, migtymerk. It is hard to lose a pet, especially when it has been around for years and years.

It is interesting to read what you say about your faith. I personally find the concept of 'God helps those who help themselves - and others' a good guideline.
What comes to afterlife - well, no one has come back to me to tell that there is one...but then again, no one has come back to tell there isn't. Ultimately I guess, it is a question of what you choose to believe in.

@ 9:08 AM  

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