Two weeks ago our family said goodbye to a wonderful friend – Katie.  She lived with us for 14 years, 2 months and was the perfect gift from God for us.

Katie was our dog.

From the time she was an 8-week old puppy, she bonded with Rob.  She was the first one to greet him at the door, always ready to play, yet content to lie at his feet when he worked.  I watched him play with Katie, throwing the ball and wrestling and play-growling.  I watched the stress melt from his body as they played.  I watched as he hugged her and kissed the top of her head.

Yes, Katie was a family dog.  Our kids grew up with her – she was their homeschooling companion.  She was my companion during the day – watching and following me around the house.  She was my guard when Rob traveled.  She greeted guests at the door with enthusiasm, sat quietly and waited to be petted, and joyfully accepted any treat from the table anyone provided.  She barked only when someone came to the door.  And she knew when we prayed, because she’d immediately lay down to wait till we were done.

In the last year, Robert became her care-giver.  Where I got up with the kids when they were sick or had ‘accidents’, Rob attended Katie as she lost her abilities.  (but never her spirit)

There are no words.

These last two weeks, we haven’t talked much about Katie.  When I ask if he’s OK, Rob has just quietly responded, “I miss my dog.”.

Sometimes sadness – grief – defies words.  Holding, hugging, and an embrace is the only way to comfort your spouse.

Comfort in grief.

Katie was our dog – we understand the place she had in our lives.  That place in no way compares with our children or those people we love.

After we buried Katie in a special spot on our 4-acre property, Robert and I talked about the pioneers of the USA.  They settled this country hundreds of years ago  – all alone on a trek to a new future.  Many died.  Those pioneers would have been forced to physically bury their loved ones.  What a task.

How did they comfort each other?  How do husbands and wives comfort each other today when they loose a loved one through illness or accident?

I imagine that overwhelming grief defies words.

How can you encourage even in grief?

A gentle, wordless embrace is one answer.