Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dear Kalvin

Fourteen years ago, we brought home the runt of the litter and fell in love with him instantly. Sunday, he passed away in our arms. Kalvin, you brought so much love and laughter and spunk to our family. From singing along with the piano, to eating our candy bars, to sitting beside our side when we lost grandparents and loved ones, you were one of a kind. You watched me grow up and have seen me though it all. My heart is so heavy. Here is a letter from my heart to yours. Love you, Bubby.

Dear Kalvin,

 There were only two of you left in the litter. On our way to Ohio to pick out our new puppy, we talked about how hard it would be to decide which one of you to choose. When we arrived, you ran out onto the porch and jumped right into the bushes. It was clear: You were the newest addition to our family.
  I was barely ten. Naturally you became my brother, sister, and I's favorite play mate. At that time, our mom was really sick. I remember being jealous that you always laid beside her instead of wanting to play with us. But now I thank you. Thank you for not leaving her side and helping her get better. You had such a sensitive heart.
  As I got older and entered the lovely middle school stage where I quickly learned you can't trust anybody, I trusted you. I told you secrets I would have died if anyone else knew. But you wouldn't rat me out. I just rubbed your ears and told you everything...come to think of it, you probably wouldn't have stuck around to hear my rants had I not been rubbing your ears. I won't hold it against you, Bubs. :)
   One day, Dad came home with the sad news that our grandma and cousin were killed by a drunk driver. We were all devastated. Looking back, I feel kind of bad for you. You went from room to room comforting everyone in the household. I'm sure for the first time, you felt relieved when we were all out of the house, just so you could regroup. You did this again years later when Grandpa died, and again when my dear friends lost their baby girl. You let me hold you and rock you and you gave me so many kisses. Thanks for that, Bubs.
  The next couple of years we had such a blast with you. We played lots of fetch, introduced you to the lazer pointer, and I think it's safe to say we gave you way too many table scraps. You were cute; it was hard to say no. I believe there was even one Thanksgiving where you jumped on the table and ate our turkey. You became a staple in our house. People came over and loved playing with you. Between all of our sleepovers, all of our campus life meetings, and all of our dances, our friends came over and loved seeing you.
  You were there for me the night my heart broke for the first time. I came home, feeling so broken and sick. You slept by my side that night, and followed me into the bathroom every time I felt nauseous. That's the night I truly realized how special you are. Kalvin, that meant so, so much to me. Thank you for being such a faithful friend.
   Years later, I bought my first home. I knew you'd be proud, but I felt so guilty leaving you. You had a few slumber parties here, but I knew, no matter how much you loved me, you preferred being in your own home. I couldn't blame you; it was the only place you knew. The last three years, whenever I came over, you were the one I wanted to see. I'm so sorry that my visits became fewer and farther between. You know it wasn't because I didn't love you. It was just that I was growing up, faced more responsibilities, and...there's no excuse. I'm just really, tearfully sorry.
  You really grew up too, you know. The boy that once jumped on the back of the couch to lounge in the sun settled for the floor in front of the couch. The puppy who used to run out the door anytime he had a chance became tired, and settled for a leisurely stroll then became excited to walk back inside. The dog who used to go nuts every time someone walked in the door later slept through the chaos then greeted us by laying by our feet and licking our shoes. The bounce in your step (especially after your hair cuts) became less and less free and more and more carefully graced.
  It wasn't an easy decision. It ate away at us for weeks, months, even years. We only wanted what was best for you. You know this already. I think you were ready. I remember telling myself, "You have to be brave for him." But you were much more brave than me, just like you've always been. I told you how sorry I was for walking out so long ago, and you licked my nose and forgave me just like that. We all told you how much we love you and how our lives are forever stamped with your tiny feet and huge heart. And then it was done, just like that. We weeped. I held you and rocked you and promised you I'd never forget you. And I won't.
  You will be the reason every miniature schnauzer will make my heart melt. You will be the reason I will always have a dog. You will be the reason my kids have a friend they can trust in middle school; why they will have a puppy to rock when their hearts break; the reason we will always keep a lazer pointer close by.
  Thank you for being who you are. It was a privilege to know you for fourteen years. And it will be impossible to forget you the rest of my life. I love you, Bubby.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful tribute. These heavenly creatures come into our lives for such a short time. I'm so glad you had Kalvin in yours. I feel your joy and your pain.