Life is full of miracles! I know that from living my own life, but I learned it even more from watching my grandma live hers. God performed countless miracles for my grandma, and she talked about those miracles until she drew her last breath on May 22, 2016. She never tired of telling about the miraculous workings of God in her life, and her face would light up with excitement and amazement each time she retold one them. The stories of the miracles that God performed for her never grew old. She never tired of telling them. I truly believe her willingness to recount the miracles that God performed in her life was part of her calling and that God knew when He performed a miracle for her she would give Him the credit and tell everyone she came into contact with about the miracle that He had performed for her.
Miracles come in every shape and size. Sometimes they are enormous miracles like unexplained healings, and sometimes they are seemingly small miracles like being in the right place at the right time. The size of the miracle really is not that important. What is important is that we know where miracles come from and we never stop telling others about them. When we do so, we encourage ourselves and more importantly others. My grandma truly understood that and since she is no longer here to tell the miracles of her life, I have tried my best to keep those miracles alive for her. In many ways, it is part of my calling in life.
With that being said, I am going to tell you about the last miracle that God performed for my grandma. Several years ago in late August, my grandma’s little dog Shelley went to Heaven. Shelley was a miracle for my grandma. You see, Shelley was born on August 28, 1998, the exact day that my grandpa passed away. God knew that my grandma needed a dog, and Shelley was the perfect companion for her. My grandma loved Shelley so much and was devastated when she passed away. Everyone encouraged my grandma to get another dog, but she was resistant.
At her age, she did not want a puppy. She wanted an older dog, but she also did not know if she was ready to love again. However, like so many things in life, God knew better. One morning my aunt called my grandma and told her that a little dog had shown up at her house. She told my grandma that the dog was in bad shape. My aunt had to go to the doctor that day, so she put him in her fenced-in backyard. When my aunt returned home, the dog had gotten out and was not in the fenced-in yard. He was, instead, waiting for her on the front porch. She took the dog to my grandma who instantly fell in love with him.
He was in terrible shape and had been on his own for a very long time. My grandma took him to the vet, and he told her that the dog was about seven years old, but he had several things that needed attention. His fur was matted, his tail was infected, he had several bad teeth, and he had no food in his stomach. It had been a long time since he had eaten. The vet told my grandma that the dog would not have survived much longer on his own. My grandma decided then and there that the dog, who she named Buddy, was sent to her from God.
Buddy had to have surgery and had to have some teeth removed. My grandma had him groomed and tirelessly gave him medicine and nursed him back to good health. She loved Buddy so much and the feeling was mutual. Buddy was a miracle for my grandma, and my grandma was a miracle for Buddy. They spent several years together and Buddy brought my grandma companionship, love, and devotion and she returned that love to him.
On March 20, 2016 my grandma was told that she had terminal cancer. She handled the news with strength and courage, but she had one concern, Buddy. What would happen to him when she was no longer here to take care of him? She talked to everyone about it, and I know my grandma well enough to know that she prayed and talked to God about it, too. My grandma was a firm believer in the power of prayer, and she truly believed that God speaks to all of us. In fact she often said that she recognized his voice. No one was in the position to take Buddy, but we all told my grandma that everything would be okay.
During the two months and two days that my grandma had left on this earth, Buddy was a faithful companion and never left her side. He spent days and weeks lying on her lap. He would only leave her side to eat and go outside and then he would return to her. During the final days of my grandma’s life when she was in bed, Buddy was in bed with her. He would lie with her and press his little body close to hers. We would feed him and take him outside, but then he would go directly back to her bedroom and wait for someone to put him in bed with her.
In the early morning hours of May 22, 2016, my grandma began to draw her last few breaths. I was in that room with her along with a nurse named Shirley and, of course, Buddy. The three of us sat with my grandma and watched her as she left this world and went to Heaven. While my grandma was dying, I was watching Buddy. He was more alert and watchful than he had been in days. I truly believe he knew that his mommy was leaving, and he wanted to be a witness to that miraculous event. I know that sounds strange, but I truly believe he knew.
As soon as my grandma took her last breath, Buddy got very still and laid down next to her and went to sleep. When Jeff arrived at my grandma’s house soon after, he took Buddy outside to potty. When Buddy came back in, he did not go to my grandma’s room. Even though my grandma’s earthly body was still in the bedroom, he knew she was not there anymore. Even though we were all sad that my grandma had gone to Heaven, the question on everyone’s mind was “What will we do with Buddy?” Jeff and I talked about taking him, but we were concerned that our dogs would not accept him. It really seemed as if there was no one who could take him.
We had no reason to be concerned though, because like all things in life, God always has a plan. He was getting ready to perform one last miracle for my grandma. That is when Julie and Ariele Forehand stepped forward. Julie is my sister-in-law Amy’s sister. She and her wife, Ariele, had spent time with my grandma during the holidays and at the kids’ birthday parties. My grandma loved Julie and Ariele, and they decided that they wanted to take Buddy and make him part of their family, which included another dog and two cats. Everyone was so relieved that Julie and Ariele wanted to adopt Buddy.
The change in Buddy when he became part of the Forehand family was nothing short of miraculous. He was happy and energetic. He had other animals to play with, and he had more love than he could have ever imagined possible. I kept up with Buddy through Julie and Ariele and through pictures they would post of him. He was so happy and had fancy clothes to wear and lots of opportunities to play and sleep with his new family. I know that my grandma was so happy to know that Buddy was loved and taken care of. Julie and Ariele helped God perform His last miracle for my grandma. Julie and Ariele were the answer to one of my grandma’s last prayers. When I think about that, I am filled with so much emotion and gratitude to Julie and Ariele and to God.
Sadly, Buddy passed away on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Julie and Ariele lovingly guided him to the other side, and I know without a doubt that my grandma was waiting at the gates of Heaven for him. What a beautiful heavenly reunion that must have been! My grandma and Buddy are together again. I know that Buddy’s absence is strongly felt in the Forehand house right now. I know that Julie and Ariele miss Buddy, but I hope they know what they did was a miracle. I hope they know that God used them to answer a prayer and to perform a miracle. I hope they know that God will bless them for the love they showed to Buddy and my grandma. God never takes something away without giving something back, and my prayer is that Julie and Ariele will be richly rewarded for the love they had in their hearts for a little dog that truly was a miracle.
If you would, I ask you to pray for Julie and Ariele as they deal with the loss of Buddy, and I ask that if you ever have the opportunity to adopt or rescue a dog that you would do it. You very well could be the miracle that a dog is waiting on, and that dog may be the miracle you have been waiting on, too. When I think about all the miracles that God is capable of performing in all of our lives and I think about the miracles that God performed in my grandma’s life, I am filled with so much gratitude and peace and PEACE MATTERS!
Dedicated in Loving Memory of
??/??/?? – 3/11/17
A small, but powerful miracle from God.
I would like to thank Julie and Ariele for allowing me to use their pictures of Buddy for this post.