Tag Archives: death

Life Lessons From A Skiing Legend (or Somehow This Death Hit Me Hard)

I’m not the sort of person who usually gets upset over a celebrity death. Of course I’m sad when it’s someone who I admire or who did something incredible, but I’m not the type of person to visit graves or gets too emotional when the news breaks that someone passed away. It’s not that I don’t care, but I just don’t have the connection that some people have to celebrities that makes them feel like they know them.

But a death changed that this week. He may not be a celebrity to everyone, but Warren Miller was an incredible filmmaker that specialized in movies about skiing. He made over 500 films and had skiing films that came out right before ski season for the last 60 years. I grew up going to these movies with my parents. It was a tradition that we all loved and I have the best memories from going to those movies. For the 50th anniversary film, there was a contest where everyone got a fake ski bib with a number on it when they walked in. If you found someone with the same number, you got a free shirt. And I found the person with mine! It was awesome winning that shirt.

Besides seeing the films each year when they screened near where I grew up, we had a bunch of these movies on VHS (now we have a few on DVD). Whenever we were in Tahoe, it seemed like the entertainment for the evening was to watch a Warren Miller movie. We quote things from them from time to time and we still remember some of the funniest moments from the movies. They were a great combination of amazing skiing and ridiculous moments. They were pretty much the perfect movie to watch when you wanted to watch something on skiing.

When I saw that he passed away this week, I was so sad right away. It’s almost like the end of an era even though I hadn’t seen a Warren Miller movie in probably a decade. But it’s still something that was such a huge part of my childhood and now it seems like it is over. Warren Miller wasn’t actually making the films for the last several years, but I know with him gone they can’t even come close to being what they once were.

So I spent some time searching online for various Warren Miller things. I found some clips on YouTube, checked out the prices for digital versions of his movies (I think I’ll probably get one or two because they are pretty cheap), and read a couple of articles. And one of them was titled “Top 10 Warren Miller Quotes” and I think it hit me why this death seemed so bad.

Even though I hadn’t seen one of his movies in a decade, I’m sure that some of the things that he said are still deep in my subconscious. One of his common quotes that he said was “If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do”. That hit me hard because it is so true for so many aspects of life. I’ve told friends how I feel like my 20’s slipped away without me accomplishing anything. And I’m feeling a bit like that with my 30’s as well. I don’t want to keep waiting for next year to do it and then realize that I’m in my 40’s and still in the same place.

There are some good quotes from that page. I love “Don’t take life too seriously, because you can’t come out of it alive”. And of course since his movies had so much comedy in them there are some comedic quotes too like “If your parents didn’t have children, odds are you won’t either” and “They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper…that’s the time to do it”.

I think that some of these quotes were exactly what I needed to hear right now. I’m not necessarily in a rut, but I can feel like one is coming if I don’t change much. And of course whenever someone passes away it’s a reminder that life isn’t for forever and we need to enjoy it while we can. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I can’t go skiing to honor Warren Miller’s legacy, but I can live life to the fullest. I can enjoy the silly and stupid moments of life and make sure that I don’t wait to do things.

And I’ll probably watch some of his movies soon too. Sometimes you just need to have a great laugh at people falling off of a chairlift. Even though this isn’t the original narration with Warren Miller, it still has one of my family’s favorite quotes: “You want your ski? Go get it.”

Skipping Over An Anniversary (or Forgetting But Not Forgetting)

This past Monday was my grandparents’ anniversary. Last year, I was lucky enough to spend their anniversary with them in San Diego. It was a pretty fun trip and I had a great time celebrating with them and seeing some of my other family. And after that I got to see my grandparents a few other times prior to my grandpa passing away.

Obviously, you never know when someone is going to pass away. We had no clue that my grandparents’ anniversary last year would have been the last one that they would celebrate together. And even if we did, I don’t know if we would have done anything different with our celebration.

I’ve mentioned that days that used to be celebrations for someone who has passed away have been weird for me. Some dates are harder than others. Usually dates where I remember that I don’t need to buy a card are the worst. But this is the first time that there has been an anniversary that I usually celebrate where one person has passed away. It’s one thing to not celebrate a birthday or even Father’s Day for someone who has passed away. But an anniversary where one person in the couple is still alive does seem weird to not celebrate.

I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to call my grandma for her anniversary or anything so I checked with my mom and my aunt. Both of them said that we weren’t going to celebrate it because it may have upset my grandma. We weren’t trying to forget that it was their anniversary, but we didn’t want to bring it up and make my grandma sad that my grandpa isn’t alive anymore. I think they might have also thought it is a weird thing to try to celebrate when half of the people you are celebrating are dead.

Even though I was nervous about how to celebrate my grandparents’ anniversary, it did feel weird not celebrating it. I did acknowledge it on social media by posting the photo that I took at their last anniversary.

Grandma and Grandpa

With this anniversary gone, I wonder if it will be weird again next year on their anniversary. Or how it’s going to feel at Thanksgiving when I think it will hit us all pretty hard that my grandpa isn’t there. There was a Thanksgiving years ago where my grandpa got sick and ended up in the hospital on Thanksgiving (we brought pie to the hospital after dinner). That dinner was weird enough and we all knew that he was fine and being released from the hospital the next day. What’s it going to be like when we know that he isn’t just somewhere else and we’ll see him the next day?

I guess this is all part of the grief process. I’ve had a weird time with grieving his death. Obviously I’m sad that my grandpa is gone. He’s the only grandpa I knew. But he and I have a very complicated relationship. While I’m sad I also have other conflicting feelings. But the sadness is greater because I also have the sadness I feel for other members of my family and how they are grieving.

Dealing with all these complicated feelings can be tough. I know that grief can be a long process and having these significant dates can bring up lots of feelings or make you feel like you took a step back in dealing with death. I’m just trying to focus on the positives and think about how much fun it will be at Thanksgiving this year with all of my family, even if we will be missing one family member.

Seeing Signs (or Is This Denial?)

It’s now been almost 2 months since my grandpa passed away. And I’m still questioning if I’ve accepted it. It doesn’t feel real to me still. And maybe that’s because I only visited my grandparents a couple of times a year and I’ve only been down to see my grandma twice since it happened. I’m thinking that it might not feel real until Thanksgiving when I think his absence will really be felt.

I’ve been lucky where very few people who I love have passed away. But it usually feels real right away. But then again, many times it’s been after a long illness and I knew that this was coming.

When Kip (my acting teacher) passed away, it was after about a year in the hospital. Every so often we thought that he was getting better and going to come home, but then something would happen and he would take a turn for the worst. This went on for so many months that I wondered if he would just live for several years in the hospital (we tried to make it seem homey for him and decorate for the holidays). In the end, he decided to end all life-extending measures and we were all given a chance to say goodbye. When I went, he wasn’t really conscious, but there was music playing in the room and every so often he would smile at that. I was there for maybe 30 minutes telling him how much I loved him and then said goodbye. He passed away a day or two later.

With my friend Keri, that was another long illness. While I never really said goodbye to Keri, I still knew that this was coming. And honestly, I doubt she would have allowed me to say goodbye to her. She was always so positive and wouldn’t want to have me think about not seeing her again.

The one death that I’ve experienced that was unexpected in the past was my Great Aunt Shirley. She was like my grandma on my dad’s side. Her health was always a little poor, but when I got the call that she passed away, I was shocked. I never got to say goodbye to her and I regret that I didn’t have a phone call with her closer to her death (our last phone call was about 2 months before she passed).

I’m not hoping to necessarily feel sad about my grandpa’s death. He and I had a very complicated relationship and I understand why my emotions might not be what people expect. But some sense of closure might be nice.

I may have gotten a bit of that this past weekend. I was at the grocery store picking up a few things. They had a display of Coke bottles near the check out. I haven’t had soda in years so I still don’t know why I looked at it. But when I did, in the center was my grandpa’s name.

A Sign?

I’m not sure what this sign meant, but it was definitely something. And for some reason, it gave me a bit more peace with everything.

Just Wanted To Say Thank You (or You All Help Me More Than You Know)

Lately I’ve been writing about some struggles I’m been having. I’m writing about them for a couple of reasons. One is that sometimes I don’t have much to say and sharing the struggles is something that can be shared. The other is that I have tried to be as honest as I possibly can on this blog. I don’t want to hide things or only show the good parts of my life. So many people do that on social media and it really doesn’t do anyone any good. Everyone goes through rough times and it’s only fair to show the good and the bad in your life if you are sharing it publicly.

But through me sharing my struggles on here, even at the beginning of my blog, I’ve gotten so much support. It shocked me then and it still shocks me now. Even though I know that I’m loved and cared about, having support is always unexpected and very much appreciated.

I’ve gotten so much support lately from so many people. A lot of people have helped me deal with my grandpa’s death. I’m still struggling with this because I haven’t really felt too sad about it and that makes me feel like a horrible person. But my grandpa and I have had a very complicated relationship and I think that I’m just trying to work through that.

I had so much support over the years about my mom’s cancer. The support was so wonderful when I got it and while I wish that nobody else has to go through cancer, I’m glad that I’m now able to repay the favor and give other support.

But the support that I’ve gotten for my eating disorder really has been the best. I’ve dealt with a couple of haters and rude comments in the past on here, but I just delete those. I know that I will probably always have one or two random people who believe that I’m talking about my eating disorder on here as a way to get attention or to hope that my blog post goes viral (both things I’ve been accused of in the past). But I do it for me and if someone else gets something out of it, then that’s awesome.

Every bit of support that I’ve gotten has helped me so much in my journey. I really wonder where I would be today if I didn’t have the support that I get virtually or in person. I’m such a happier and more productive person now than I was before. And every single one of you who reads this has been a part of the change in my life.

So I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for being there for me in my good times and bad times (that totally sounds like wedding vows), thank you for cheering me on in person at races or at the gym, and thank you for inspiring me to be a better person.

I got tagged in this photo the other day by a friend of mine, and I think it perfectly expresses how I should feel about the journey I’ve been on so far, even with my setbacks. And you all remind me of this whenever I have a tough day.

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Feeling Like Something’s Missing (or Getting Sad In The Greeting Card Aisle)

Today would have been my grandpa’s 93rd birthday. It’s the first holiday/event that would have celebrated him since he passed away (Mother’s Day doesn’t count).

I’ve been lucky that I’ve only lost a few people in my life, but the first time that I have to skip over buying them a card for something I would have celebrated in the past has always been the toughest for me. I have even forgotten that people have passed away and have bought them cards and didn’t realize the mistake until after I got home.

My calendar alerts me to all birthdays/anniversaries/holidays 2 weeks in advance so I have time to get a card and mail it out. I can’t seem to delete events of people who have passed away. I still get a reminder for Keri’s birthday (I also could never forget it since it’s the day between my cousin’s birthday and my birthday). It breaks my heart a little bit having that reminder come up, but I can’t seem to get rid of it. I don’t get rid of phone numbers or emails either. Somehow that doesn’t seem right to do.

It feels so weird to not be on the lookout for the perfect birthday card for my grandpa. Getting cards for him were always a bit of a challenge. My grandma is easy (anything with butterflies), but my grandpa wasn’t a fan of sappy cards. I’d try to find one with a dirty joke because that was more his style.

And with my grandpa’s birthday so close to Father’s Day, I usually make one trip to the store to get his birthday card and Father’s Day cards for him and my dad. This time, instead of getting 3 cards I’m only getting 1.

I’ve wondered why my grandpa’s death hasn’t felt real for me. It’s weird. Even after my mom called to tell me and other family members started to call or post things on Facebook, I wondered if it was a big mistake (I felt the same way when my mom told me she had cancer). Seeing my grandma in the apartment alone or now in her new apartment didn’t make it seem real either. It almost feels like he was out doing an errand or at the hospital or something. I do sometimes do a double take when I see things that belonged to my grandparents in my house. It feels weird having those items here when they have always belonged to them (and I can picture exactly where they were in both their old house and recent apartment).

But not getting the cards that I have gotten for forever really make me realize that he’s gone and that I don’t have to buy his cards anymore. I’m not necessarily sad. I am sad for the loss my family has had, you can only admire how full of a life he lived. I hope that I can get to 92. I think grief and loss for me is not as much being sad as it is trying to think about all of the positives and trying to do things that I know would make that person happy.

So tonight after my workout, I plan on having a martini with a blue cheese olive (using the martini swords) and doing a toast to my grandpa and to the other people who I have loved and lost.

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Cheers to you Grandpa.

A Couple Of Days In San Diego (or Trying To Focus On The Good And Not The Sad)

I just spent the past few days in San Diego with my family. My parents, aunt, and uncle got down there on Thursday. But they wanted to have a few days with my grandma on their own first. So I came down on Sunday (my brother flew down that day too). And I was there through Tuesday.

I wanted to bring some food down with me for the family, but my mom was cooking a ton. So I mentioned a few things that I could make that would be good for any meal, and my mom thought that my blueberry banana bread would be perfect (plus, my grandpa loved it).

Blueberry Banana Bread

I’ve made that recipe so many times but this had to be my best batch ever.

Obviously it was a very sad time for my family. We had to do some of the not so fun tasks you have to do when someone passes away. I tried to help out as much as I could, but most of it was being done by my mom and uncle (my aunt who is their sibling wasn’t able to get back to San Diego until Tuesday).

We spent some time remembering some of the funny stories about my grandpa. But we didn’t do a ton of that because it always seemed to make someone sad.

My brother got my grandma to play him in several games of backgammon.

Ross and Grandma Backgammon

My grandma kicks butt at backgammon. Ever since I was little my grandpa would say that grandma must be a witch because she can get double sixes every time that she needs them.

My brother played as tough as he could. But my grandma won 6 games and Ross only won 3.

We also tried to enjoy spending time with the dog. Since my parents had to get down to San Diego quickly, they couldn’t arrange for a dog sitter. So Tucker spent a lot of time with us being his usual goofy self. I think he especially loved having my brother and I in the same hotel room as my parents (it was a two bedroom hotel room). And he loved my bedding.

Sleeping Tucker

We also heard some amazing stories from other residents and some employees of the building that my grandparents live in. Everyone had such nice things to say about my grandpa. Everyone seemed so shocked about him passing away because even just the day before he was his usual feisty self.

In the mailroom of the building they live in, they posted a wonderful photo of my grandpa. Nobody in my family had ever seen that photo before, so I asked the concierge of their building where the photo came from. It turns out that they took it when my grandparents moved in a few years ago. They asked if we wanted the photo and I said yes. And my uncle scanned it in so we could all have it.

Grandpa (from Vi)

I wish that I could have stayed down there longer, but my aunts, uncle, and parents will be there for the rest of the week. And my parents will probably be down again in another week or two. I’ll probably go down there again then.

For now, it’s time for me to get back to my normal life. That’s what my grandpa would want me to do. He probably would have hated that I wrote the post on Tuesday about him. He didn’t like having a fuss made for him.

So it’s back to my day job, my workouts, and hopefully some auditions.

Goodbye Grandpa (or Remembering A Full Life)

Early on Thursday morning, my grandpa passed away.

As you are reading this, I’m in San Diego spending time with my family. Our focus is on my grandma and making sure that she is ok and that everything that needs to be taken care of is done.

But I wanted to share with you all how badass my grandpa was. He and I had a complicated relationship, but he loved me and I loved him. And he really did live so much in his 92 years (he would have turned 93 next month).

I don’t know a ton about my grandpa’s childhood. I know that he wrote down his history and his family history on his computer somewhere, and I hope that we are able to locate that document. I really want to have that myself so I can remember where he came from and what happened when he was young.

Grandpa young

My grandpa was not someone who talked about the past a lot. In fact, I had no idea that he was in Germany in WWII fighting the Nazis until he was talking about it maybe 5 years ago.

Grandpa WWII

When he and my grandma got married they first lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Grandpa Lake Charles

They lived there for a while (my mom, aunt, and uncle were all born there) before moving to LA.

I’ve been to their houses in LA before, but sadly I don’t have any photos of that on my computer. But they lived in the valley and had some really cool houses.

Grandma and Grandpa

While they lived in LA, they lived it up! My grandpa got a boat and he, my grandma, my mom, my aunt, and my uncle sailed on it a lot. I’ve heard so many stories from their time on the boat, especially when they were in Catalina. My favorite story is actually one about my mom when she was hit in the face with a flying fish one evening in Catalina. But I think my entire family thinks that story is pretty awesome.

He also loved to fly. He flew a small plane that was just big enough for the family.

Grandpa Plane

They flew all over the US on lots of different trips. They would fly to Louisiana to go back to visit family and my mom, aunt, and uncle got to travel the US by plane quite a bit. I think that if he could have flown that plane for the rest of his life, he would have.

Once my grandpa retired, they moved down to San Diego. But even in retirement, my grandpa never slowed down. He designed the backyard and swimming pool at their house, and I don’t think that anyone could have done it better. And they had the best orange trees and the orange juice was freshly squeezed every visit.

Grandpa House Rancho Santa Fe

I think if I had to pick one of his favorite things to do, it would be to travel. My grandparents always seemed to go on these epic trips, both within the US and internationally. My grandpa traveled to all 7 continents (even Antarctica!) and inspired me to hope to do the same in my lifetime.

Grandpa Travels

Sometimes my parents, my brother, and I was lucky enough to get to join my grandparents on the trips they did. One of the most epic trips that we did as a big extended family was to go to Africa together.

50th Anniversary in Africa

This trip was for my grandparents’ 50th anniversary. All 3 generations (this was way before my cousin had her kids) of the family were there to experience the safari together. Besides my grandparents’ anniversary we also celebrated my parents’ 15th anniversary, my cousin’s 15th birthday, and my 14th birthday while we were in Africa. That was definitely one of the best birthdays that I ever had. My grandpa really wanted all of us to go to Africa together because he had loved it there when he and my grandma went before and he wanted to make sure that we could all experience it as well.

But more than traveling, he loved my grandma.

Grandma and Grandpa 60th Anniversary

Last September they celebrated their 67th anniversary and they seemed in as much love as ever.

Grandma and Grandpa 67th Anniversary

Last Thanksgiving, almost everyone in my family was able to be together (only one cousin wasn’t able to make it). We took a family photo after dinner and I’m so glad that we were able to get one more (almost) full family photo.

Thanksgiving 2014

While I am sad that my grandpa passed away, I can only admire how full of a life he lived. He really maximized every day that he had and I don’t think that he had any regrets of things that he wasn’t able to do (except maybe to keep flying a plane later in life).

I will always remember my grandpa as the one who got me to drink martinis (and I got him hooked on blue cheese stuffed olives), who loved to email dirty jokes to the entire family, and the one who gave me my love of traveling.

Thank you Grandpa for everything that you did for our family and for loving us all as much as you did. I know that there will be a hole in our family now that can’t be filled. But we will all try to live life to the fullest to honor how you lived your life.

Grandpa 60th Anniversary

Robert Joseph Fry (May 29, 1922-April 2, 2015)

Losing A Friend (or Life Can Be Just So Unfair)

I got some pretty bad news yesterday. My friend Keri passed away after an almost 2 year battle with advanced cancer.

I had known that this was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier. I’m heartbroken.

I met Keri in 2005 at my cousin Stephie’s wedding. Keri and my cousin Adam had been dating for years by then and the wedding was the first time that she and I got to meet in person. Before I got to meet her, but after she started dating my cousin, Keri had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. It wasn’t cancerous and they removed it, but it did cause some health issues. But she beat that tumor and when I met her, she was the most vibrant and friendly person ever.

A few months after the wedding, Keri and Adam had invited me to Portland to come and visit them. That trip was so much fun! I really got to know Keri and realized then that she was just a super generous friend and so many people in Portland loved her.

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We got to go out on my cousin Adam’s sailboat during that trip and even though there was no wind so we couldn’t really sail, we had an awesome time.

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That trip is so memorable for all the fun that we had, but also because while I was walking in the Portland airport to take my flight home, I collapsed in pain. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the start to all my hip issues. While I was dealing with all my hip issues and misdiagnoses from my doctors, Keri was someone who I could call and vent to. She always was happy to listen to me and give advice when it was asked for.

The next time I got to see Keri was in 2007 at my grandparents’ 60th anniversary party. I was at my skinniest then, and as soon as Keri saw me, she said that I was beautiful at my heaviest and beautiful as I was then too. She said that she would love me no matter what my weight was and all she wanted was me to be happy. At the time, she was the only person who I felt felt that for me and it meant so much that she said it out loud for me to hear.

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I only got to see Keri in person a few other times after that. But we always stayed in touch. We called when we could and Keri also wrote me the most beautiful handwritten notes that she mailed to me. Sadly, I lost a bunch of those notes when I moved into my current house (they were in a box with all my non-digital pictures and somehow that box never made the move), but I still have one.

Keri and I were also birthday buddies. My cousin Adam and I have birthdays close together (his is August 7th and mine is August 9th) and Keri’s was right in the middle on the 8th. Every year I would call Keri on her birthday and she would call me on mine. It was pretty funny to have calls 2 days in a row, but it was special. And at the end of every phone call, birthday or not, Keri always ended the call with saying that she loved me.

Sadly, about 2 years ago Keri had gotten in a car accident and had some abdominal pain. It was discovered that she had very advanced cancer and that it had already spread. Traditional treatment options like chemo or surgery were not options for her. So she used holistic treatments as well as positive thinking and she did amazing! The doctors had only given her a few months, and she almost made it 2 years.

My Aunt Cindy (my cousin Adam’s mom) called me last week to let me know that Keri wasn’t doing too well. She let me know that the end was probably near and she wanted me to know. For the last week, I panicked every time my phone had an alert because I was terrified that it was bad news. I checked Facebook all the time for news.

And today, after I had gotten home from a dentist appointment, an email from Aunt Cindy came saying that Keri had passed away in the morning.

The news hit me so hard and it felt like I was punched in the stomach. It just wasn’t fair. Even though I knew it would eventually end like this, it just sucks. Keri was so wonderful and had overcome a tumor already. Why did she have to get cancer too? And if she had to get cancer, why couldn’t it have been treatable?

She was doing so much good in the world and there was so much more good she could have done. Keri was a teacher and I’m hoping that her students carry on her legacy by being as kind and gracious as she was. I know that that’s why I’m going to try to do.

I wish I had more to write about Keri. I wish I had more pictures of us together. I wish her story in my life wasn’t ending like this.

Welcome Tucker! (or Filling The Dog Shaped Hole In My Family)

When Dante died, it was awful. We had Dante for almost 13 years. He was a family member, not a pet. But his death was somewhat expected and when he passed away we had Chaucer to look forward to.

When Chaucer died, we were all in shock. It was horrible to lose a puppy, but his death also brought back the loss of Dante. It’s tough to miss a puppy that we only had for a few days. In some way, it felt like he never existed.

After losing 2 dogs in 6 days, my parents had to take a short break from dogs. They weren’t sure what they wanted to do next. After thinking about it for a few days, they realized that our family was missing a dog and they wanted to find our newest family member.

One of Chaucer’s brothers (originally named Rockwell) was still looking for a forever home. So my parents decided to meet him and after meeting him, he was ours.

We changed his name to Tucker (my mom picked it out) and his been a part of the family for about a week now. I have yet to meet him, but my parents do email me pictures of him pretty regularly.

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From what my parents have told me, he is a very sweet and curious puppy. He’s super active but also getting very good at obedience (he already knows several commands). He’s met a bunch of people in the week that my parents have had him and everyone has fallen in love with him. And he’ll be starting puppy school this week so he will get some more socialization skills as well as learning more commands.

We didn’t announce Tucker’s adoption to people right away. We were terrified that something would happen to him like what happened to Chaucer. But Tucker went to the vet on Friday and got a clean bill of health.

I’m hoping to take a trip next month (when I’m supposed to be (f)unemployed again) so I can meet Tucker. If I don’t, there’s a chance that I might not get to meet him until Thanksgiving, and to me that’s unacceptable!

I’m aware that some people might think that we are forgetting about Dante and Chaucer because we got Tucker so soon. But that’s not the case at all. We still miss both dogs every day. Whenever I talk to my mom about how Tucker is doing, we are always comparing him to both dogs (Tucker has some big shoes to fill). Without a dog in my parents’ home, things didn’t seem right. It was too empty and quiet. And since one of my mom’s jobs has been running the pet therapy program at the hospital where my dad used to work (and where she is getting all her treatments), having a dog is practically her job.

I’m just glad that my parents were able to find another dog that needed a loving home. And Tucker seems to be fitting in perfectly with our family so far!

What Also Happened On Christmas (or Our Sweet Chaucer)

While I try to be completely honest all the time on here, there are some things that I can’t share right away.

While I did a recap of my Christmas, you might have noticed that there was no mention of our new puppy Chaucer.

We picked up Chaucer on Sunday. He seemed absolutely perfect. The only thing was his neutering site was a little infected (he had licked at it and the incision opened up). We were told that he would be fine and that the incision was re-glued. When we brought him home, he was a wonderfully squirmy puppy. He did everything a puppy should do. He ate like a pig, cried when we put him in the kennel or “gated community”, and just wanted to be loved on and cuddled.

Monday was pretty much the same as Sunday. He did all the usual puppy things. We worked on training with him and was so pleased to see that he already knew some of his commands and was even very close to being potty trained. We showed him off to lots of our neighbors and friends that day.

Tuesday morning things changed. Chaucer vomited and refused to eat. He also seemed very lethargic. We rushed him to the vet that my family has used for decades and the vet didn’t seem too concerned. This vet wasn’t the usual vet that our dogs have seen, but she was the only one there so we saw her. The vet said that he might just have a stomach bug and that would explain the vomiting and refusing to eat. His blood sugar was extremely low so they gave him fluids and glucose to perk him up. He didn’t perk up right away, but we were told to give things time. We were also given medicine to help with the nausea and the infection at the neutering site (which didn’t really seem that big of a deal to the vet).

All day Tuesday we fed him baby food and water (what the vet told us to do). We fed him every 90 minutes. He was still going to the bathroom so we figured we were doing what he needed. In the evening he started to perk up so we thought maybe he was getting better.

Then early on Christmas morning, my parents heard Chaucer making noise in this kennel. They thought he needed to go out to potty, so they got him and took him outside. He was having  grand mal seizure. Thinking it was related to the blood sugar issue, my parents fed him maple syrup. They woke me up to tell me that they were rushing Chaucer to the emergency vet. While my mom was driving, Chaucer had another seizure and died in my dad’s arms.

When my parents took his body to the vet yesterday so he could be buried, the vet believed that he had sepsis due to the infection from being neutered. There was nothing else we could have done to save him. The infection was there when we got him and it was probably too far along. His little body couldn’t fight it.

We are all so devastated that this happened. We spent a lot of Christmas in total shock. It almost didn’t feel real. It didn’t feel like we ever had Chaucer.

I wish I could write an obituary for him like I did for Dante, but sadly we were just getting to know Chaucer when he died.

What I can tell you is that Chaucer was such a sweet dog. He was loving and greeted pretty much everyone we introduced him to with a kiss. He was also unbelievably smart. For only being 8 weeks old, he already knew commands and how to listen. And he picked up where in the backyard to go potty on his first day home.

Chaucer had his whole life ahead of him, and I know that he would have been an amazing dog. There’s no doubt in my mind about it.

My parents aren’t sure when they’ll get another dog now. They do want to add a dog to the family, but this hit them so hard that they are being very cautious. They want to make sure that the next dog is as healthy as can be.

Some people have asked me if they can do anything for Dante’s memory. If you would like to do something in honor of Dante and now Chaucer, you can donate to Pound Puppy Rescues. They are the organization that rescued Chaucer and all his puppy siblings from a dog hoarder. They foster all the dogs in homes so they don’t have to go to shelters. I know that any donations made there will go to make sure that all dogs find wonderful forever homes.

And hopefully soon, my family will find our forever dog.

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