Friday, March 27, 2009

A Hamster Named Emily

Jackie always wanted a hamster for a pet. After her diagnosis and prognosis by the neurosurgeon we decided to get Jackie a hamster. Why not? Jackie, Jessica and I went down to the local pet store to pick out a hamster. Jackie looked intently at each hamster available, holding them and examining each one to the nth degree. She picked out a little brown and white dwarf hamster and named it Emily. We brought Emily home and that little hamster became Jackie’s constant companion. She took Emily with her everywhere she went – even to her doctor appointments and radiation treatments. Jackie had a little game she would play. She would bring me and Carrie into the living room and then let Emily go and she’ run around the room and I’d chase her. She’d usually go under the couch and Carrie and I would move the couch to catch Emily. Jackie would just giggle and laugh. She got such a kick out of watching her mom and dad frantically chasing after the hamster.

One day Jackie, Emily and I were driving in my car on a sunny spring day. Jackie turned to me while I was driving and said, “Daddy, will I see Jesus the moment I get to heaven?” I said, “Yes you will, you’ll see Jesus right way.” Then she asked, “Daddy, can I take Emily with me when I go to heaven.” I thought for a moment and then said, “Yeah, I think we can arrange that!” Then I looked at Jackie and asked, “Sweetie, you don’t really think you’re going to die do you?” She looked me square in the eye and with a smile on her face said, “Silly Daddy, we’re all going to die someday.”

Out of the mouths of babes …

I believe God gave Jackie a keen awareness of her ultimate home in heaven. Jackie was not afraid to die and even had a sense that she was going to die soon. Her focus was on seeing Jesus and having her hamster with her when she did. I will never forget that conversation and that moment.


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