Feb 22, 2013

The Blessing of Inconvenience

One less thing on my to-do list, and I wish I could add it back:  Kimo's leash and poop baggies hanging by the front door ready for her twice daily walk.  We've yet to get around to putting it away.

 In the weeks since Kimo's death I've been surprised by what I miss.  I miss having to watch my plate if I have to step away from the table during mealtime.  I miss having to empty the trash regularly to keep her from getting into it and making a mess while we are out. But I especially miss having to take her out, rain or shine, snow or sleet for her bathroom breaks and exercise walks.  I remember in the days before she died, when we knew we were running out of time and her walks had been truncated to a few feet, I longed for just one more long walk. I longed for her to yank on the leash when she caught the scent of something interesting.  I longed for her to have the energy to lunge hard at a passing dog forcing me to offer a sheepish apology to the startled owner.  Those walks took up my precious time. Particularly at the end of a long day, exhausted and eager to collapse on the couch, I dreaded those walks.  Walking Kimo was a pain in the neck much of the time; a major inconvenience.  And I've missed those walks so much.

Everywhere I look I'm reminded of the things I no longer have to do, the time I don't have put in, the money I don't have to spend.  And it saddens me.  As I've meditated on how much easier my life is without Kimo, I've come to the realization that inconvenience is actually a blessing. Think about it for a moment, think of all the things that inconvenience you and think about how many of them are tied to the people you love most.  After all, a life totally organized around my ease and desires, a life completely devoid of inconvenience is a life that must necessarily be lonely.  People (and pets) disrupt the flow.  They place demands on us. They ruin the schedule, mess up the house, drain the budget.  But the alternative is pretty bleak, isn't it?

So when Ezra starts fussing just as I'm about to sit down to work on my blog; when Elijah keeps pestering me to play right when I'm trying to finish those grades or calls out "Daaaaaaaaaddy" early in the morning when I'd rather sleep in; when Babs wants to talk when I want to surf the internet; when my student wants help with his math during my precious lunch hour when I'm trying to "get some work done" my goal is to rejoice .  I'm not there yet, but I want to get to the place that I rejoice in  interruptions, am grateful to have my hands full,  and give thanks for the blessing of inconvenience.

The last thing I felt like doing was going out on bitterly cold Sunday afternoon last weekend so that Elijah could run around and get his energy out.  But if I hadn't been so inconvenienced I wouldn't have captured these special memories:

Lying on the grass.  . .

.  . . looking up at the blue, blue sky

This little guy. . .always worth the "inconvenience." Always.

Feb 18, 2013

Our Kimo: June 4, 2004-January 24, 2013

Graceful to the end.  This photo of Kimo was taken just a few days before she died.  The cancer was  relentless and she deteriorated rapidly.  At this point, she was already having difficulty breathing as her chest filled with fluid, compressing her lungs.  Yet she never lost her trademark dignity.

She wasn't born on the 4th of June, 2004.  We've never known for sure how hold Kimo was, but we think she was about a year old when she came into our lives.  So June 4th is when her life with us began, and she left our lives so much richer for her presence just over eight and a half years later.  It was too soon.  No time is ever the right time for death, but nonetheless we were so unprepared to lose her when we did.

Kimo was a truly extraordinary dog.  When she is ready, Babs is planning to tell the story of our wonderful journey with the best dog one could ever ask for.  Her chronicle of Kimo's life will appear here on this blog.  I'll select some of the best photos I can find from our years with Kimo to illustrate the entry.  It will be a worthy tribute to true friend.

In the meantime, my eulogy of one of God's best gifts to us: our Kimo.

Kimo was the perfect dog. She had such a sweet personality, and was exceptionally easy to care for.  I know that it might not have seemed that way to those who experienced her furious barking when they dared to approach our door, or who had her lunge at their dog in a scary show of aggression as she decompressed after a stressful year and a half alone on Saipan. (I'm so glad that Kimo found peace with other dogs in the months before she died. She stopped seeing every dog as potential threat, and went back to viewing them as potential playmates.  She was finally even able to share the Leen's house with her "cousins" Bailey and Shiloh this past Christmas). But for those of us who knew her, she was a dream. She never chewed, never required house-breaking.  She wasn't given to slobbering or overenthusiastic licking.  She liked treats as much as the next dog, and food left unattended on the table for too long or a kitchen trash can left unemptied all day long while we were at work were temptations even she couldn't resist.  But she generally lacked the desperate greedy, quality one often finds in dogs. Indeed, she carried herself with a sense of elegance rare among canines.  It was evident in the refined way she would often sit, head up and alert, front legs gracefully crossed.  Beyond that, she possessed a soulfulness of spirit and a sort of charisma that charmed everyone she met.  She was great with our boys, particularly after she arrived in Columbus from Saipan, patiently enduring Elijah's childish manhandling.  Her vices were few--scratching at the door to be let out, and the aforementioned vigilant guard-dogging (though that latter vice we were grateful for as our apartment was the only one on the compound never robbed) .  Her passions were few as well--doggie toys,  games of fetch and such never had much appeal for her.  She was content with a good nap on the couch, a long walk that  ideally involved a spate of full on running and lots of poop piles and other doggie smells for her to investigate, and just being close to her pack, her family:  Jesco in Saipan, me and the boys, and most of all the one person who loved her like a mother, her human "mommie", Babs.

 Kimo was born on the island of Tinian, lived for approxiametly seven years on Saipan, and almost two years in Ohio before her death from cancer at around ten years old.  She passed away as she lived most of her life, with dignity and near to the people she loved. Whether we'll ever have another dog, I can't say for sure.  I can say that  we will never replace Kimo.  She will always be missed.

July, 2009

April, 2010

April, 2011

Last family photo, January 20, 2013. four days before her passing.