Weeping with Those Who Weep
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Weeping with Those Who Weep
by Marilyn Hagan as told to Frank and Mary Hoffman

Rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep (Romans 12:15), is all part of the loving relationship we are to have with each other and the whole of God's creation, but unfortunately many of the churches fail to recognize this call to ministry when it comes to mourning for animals.  Thus, this has become a vital part of the all-creatures ministry, and it's what brought us together to tell this story through our emails.

Within the last month we have lost one of our beloved cats, Captain, and yesterday our dog, Annie.... We are all very upset, but my grandchildren, Caleb and Erin, are taking it really hard.... We've had a small service and created a gravesite for each animal with the kids helping in their own way, such as decorating the large stones we used, making a cross, etc. They are ages six and seven and would like to write a letter to God to ask him to please take care of his new angels.... I don't know where to send such a letter. Could you offer any advice?

Thank you so much for your time..

Warmest Regards,
Marilyn

We responded:

Dear Marilyn:

Thank you for writing, and we are saddened to hear about the recent death of your companion animals. We know the pain that you and you grandchildren are feeling, as we've been there many times ourselves.

What you are doing by having a service and burial is wonderful, and helps bring about some closure. These furry members of your family are now with God, free of all pain and suffering, waiting patiently for you to join them again some day in the future.

As you know, we don't need to write a formal letter to God for Him to know our deepest feelings, but writing such a letter is a wonderful idea for it helps us to formalize our feelings. Since God doesn't have a mailing address or email address, why not send God letter (email) to us along with some photos of your companions and something about their lives, and we'll publish them on our web site for God to read in cyberspace and for others to share.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank and Mary

Dear Frank and Mary,

Thank you for your kind words and thoughts... My grandchildren, Caleb, age 7 and Erin, age 6 have been so distraught and I appreciate your willingness to accommodate their feelings. I have attached three photos. One of Caleb with Annie, "his" dog as he likes to say, one of Erin with our beloved kitty, Captain, and the last photo is of Captain's grave.


(Photo - 01)  Caleb and Annie

(Photo - 02)  Erin and Captain

(Photo - 03)  Captain's grave

We are still in the process of finishing Annie's grave so I don't yet have a photo to share. Annie our boxer was only ten, Captain our orange, very talkative kitty was 11. I think he thought he was part dog as he would tag along when we took our walk. He also came to you when you whistled., he just had a different personality than most other cats.... Annie was just a big 'ol sweetheart who wouldn't even hurt a flea... She loved to swim and play ball. She watched over the kids like it was her duty to protect them at all costs...

I'm sorry to be so long winded but it helps me as well to share with someone else that can understand the pain we feel at losing our beloved pets....

We become so attached to our companion animals it is almost as hard as losing a human family member.... This is the grandkids first loss. I found my grandson hiding under a tent he had made in the living room two days after Captain died with big crocodile tears.. When I pulled him in my lap to comfort him he told me, "Grandma I'm not crying; my eyes are just sweating." Only out of the mouth of babes...

Erin, my granddaughter, has always been so concerned about dying and not being able to see, touch, or talk again to the deceased. I bought her a book by Marie Kennedy Shriver called "What's Heaven". I think it might have helped her to understand a bit better that we still will always have the soul and memories of our loved ones in our heart. She tells me almost daily how much she misses Captain.

Caleb tends to hold his emotions inside which concern me greatly as I know that it can cause concerns down the road if he doesn't open up and talk... I've assured them that God now has two new angels.

I have sent another photo of my granddaughter, Erin.... She is such an animal lover and all animals love her... This photo touches my heart each time I view it.... Two of God's beautiful geneses......(Photo - 04)  Erin with a fawn

Thanks again for being so kind.

With Warmest Regards,
Marilyn Hagan

On 3 Sep 2007 Marilyn wrote an update and sent along a photo of Annie's grave site:

Dear Frank and Mary:

Our routine is getting back to normal now and I wanted to fill you in.... I have attached a photo of Annie's grave... It means so much to me and my granddaughter, Erin, to be able to go sit and visit with them... Erin has added some of her artwork (decorated rocks) to Captain's grave and I ask God each morning to please give them a big love and tell them how much we still miss them... I find myself crying so often in the mornings when they're not there to greet me but I know that they are at peace and find solace in that.... (Photo - 05)  Annie's grave site

We now have a new puppy, AJ (a.k.a. Baby Puppy) that Caleb named after Annie.. AJ stands for Annie Junior (only out of the mouth of babes)... and our new kitty, Tiger, which Erin named.... They are nine weeks old and I had forgotten how much time and energy is needed in raising new ones.... but for the most part they are very well mannered already and keep each other company at night.... The kids and I had a long talk and I explained to them that the new pets weren't to take the place of our Annie and Captain but to help fill the enormous void left by they're unexpected deaths...

My oldest cat, Fritz, has been "out of sorts" a bit but he's doing ok... He does definitely let the babies know that he's in charge though...

I forwarded our story that you had on your beautiful site to many of my family, friends, and several animal sanctuaries... The response was very touching and I was told that the story has been forwarded to many others and continues to do so...

Again I want to thank you for everything you've done for my grandkids, myself, and others....

May God Bless And Keep You Safe...

With Warmest Regards,
Marilyn Hagan
Texas

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