I never thought I'd have to write about this, but here we go.
Last week, we lost our sweet Koda Bear in a tragic accident in front of our home. He did not suffer, and we did not have to make any impossible decisions, but neither of those factors really make this any less difficult to process.
If you know me or my husband, you know that Koda was truly our first child. We welcomed him into our life just two short months after being married, and were so excited that he would meet our family, and future family. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would only get two short years with him.
If you met him, you loved him. If you saw videos and pictures of him, you loved him. He was just that kind of dog. Every morning, he woke up with a literal smile on his face, and I can almost guarantee that if he could talk, he would have been saying "I'M ALIVE!!! IT'S A GREAT DAY TO BE ALIVE!!" And he lived every day to its fullest. He went 110% one hundred percent of the time. He fetched frisbee until he couldn't breathe, ran as fast as he could everywhere he went, played all day long, and heck, he even loved pooping. And at night, he was the most content to lay at our feet and just be near the people he loved the most.
Koda was special, and right now you might be saying, "Well, all dogs are special," but no. Koda was something else, and if you want to argue with me, I have 500+ photos and videos of him to prove you wrong. I have never in all my life seen a dog with so much energy, personality, and most of all love.
So here I sit, asking the age old question, why do the good ones go too soon? I'm sorry to tell you, I don't have the answer. I probably never will, because in every single scenario, I would rather have my best friend back than sit here and try to find meaning and purpose in the senseless loss that we are facing.
But God promises, time and time again, that He works all things together for our good, that there is a plan and purpose for our suffering, and that bottom line, He loves us. And that's where I'm at, clinging to that flag pole of hope in the middle of a hurricane. So here goes nothing.
Live big. Every day with Koda was an adventure. Taking a walk outside? That was his best day ever. Driving to go get coffee? Run as fast as you can to get to the car. Is someone coming over to the house? Be so excited you pee your pants. (Well maybe not literally, but he did have this thing where he'd pee when he got too excited which was every time someone came to our house, so just go with the analogy.) If there is anything that gives my mind some peace at night, it's knowing that in 2 years, he saw more and had more experiences than some dogs have in a whole lifetime. He saw the corn rows of Iowa, the lakes of Minnesota, and rode shot gun with me everywhere we went because he didn't want to miss anything by sitting in the back seat.
Protect the ones you love most
At his core, Koda was a herding dog, and I'm pretty sure he thought we were his flock of sheep. I knew the mail was here every day because he would go absolutely ballistic when the mailman would walk toward our house. There were times I thought he was going to actually break through the window to make sure that no harm would come to us should the mailman pose (what he thought) was a potential threat. At my in-laws, he ran their three acre perimeter every night barking as loud as he could to make sure that all of Iowa knew he was on patrol. He even went so far as to killing crickets and flies in the house with his paws to make sure any nuisance was taken care of. We were his people, and we wasn't going to let anything happen to us.
LOVE WHAT MATTERS
Koda had many nicknames: Koda Bear, Koda Bear Squares, Mister Stinky, Koda Bear Circles, Buddy, Sweetie Sweetie, Big Man, the Stink, and Gentle Giant. Many of those nicknames, our friends and family gave him, because they loved him just as much as we did. He was so loved, because you knew how much he loved you back. He liked to give hugs, even though he pushed you away (personal space was not his speciality). He would quite literally, shut my laptop in the middle of the work day if he thought he wasn't getting enough attention. Sometimes, he would even knock Luke's phone out of his hand. If he thought you were mad at him, he would throw himself on you to say sorry, and occasionally, sneak in a french kiss when he was trying to apologize. He checked in on his people every day, always forcing himself into a room if you shut the door on him, it really didn't matter what you did because he knew how to open them, so that he could be with you. He hated the game hide and seek because he couldn't understand why you would want to run away from him. We were his whole world, and there was never a shadow of a doubt how he felt about us, or how we felt about him.
I don't think there's purpose in dying, and, frankly, don't think it's time yet for me to find purpose in the loss of my best friend, because right now it's still too hard to see the forrest through the trees, so all I can really do is honor his little life with some hope, even if it's only a little sliver.
While I'm clinging to God's love and his promises even when I don't feel like it, I know one thing. Koda lived with absolutely zero regrets. There is nothing that he didn't get to do, and because of that I can tell myself that even if his life was only two years, he absolutely got the most out of them. No question about it.
So tell people you love them, tell your dogs, cats, snakes, lizards and hamsters how special they are to you. Don't wait, because this kind of stuff happens on Thursday after a coffee run. Live big. Love bigger.
To express, explain, and exclaim the lessons life continually throws at me, and my take on how to deal.