Friday, January 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I've seen a few people have a day for thanks on their blog and I think it's a great idea so I'm totally stealing it! I know it's not technically Thursday anymore, but it's still the same day for me until I go to bed and wake up. Unless, of course, I stay up all night in which case the day changes just after 4:30 am. Because 4:00 am is still being up really late, but 4:30 is getting up really early. I know, you're amazed by my reasoning. Feel free to steal that reasoning for future reference.

On with the thanks:

I'm thankful for...
  • 6 amazing, beautiful, healthy kids
  • an equally amazing and healthy {yet not so beautiful} husband :O)
  • breastfeeding - I love it!
  • Costco - I finally remembered to use the big orange cart this time.
  • Dean Nixon, Turning Leaf and the life-changing seminars {}

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shell Shocked

I feel that I owe an apology to everyone for not having made any kind of post on here since NOVEMBER!!! It seems as though Life has somewhat thrown itself at me...with vigor! We had an entire week taken out of our lives when Chuck was in the hospital for his surgery. Then came the holiday season along with the activities and parties that come along with that. I had my MBA class, work, and trying to get Christmas under control all at the same time. Then on Christmas day I was laying on the floor with Jena and looking at the sore she had on her leg, and found that she had another growth on her face. Merry Christmas! Your dog has Cancer, and you get to choose when she dies!
I want to take a few minutes here, and talk to all of my friends and family about a VERY special dog. Those of you who know me well, have met Jena, and know that she is from the streets of Taiwan. I am not sure that she has ever met a person that she did not win over, from my Mom (who has had her fill of dogs in the family) to our friend Stefanie who would get the Heeby-Jeebies if Jena would touch her with her nose. Cousin Shauna realized that Jena was slowly trying to get on her good side. She would sit on the other side of the room, then at the opposite end of the couch, then on the couch, then 3 feet away, then 2 feet away...This process was over a matter of months, and finally she would lay next to Shauna but not touch her. Then Shauna would pet her, and even let Jena rest her head in her lap! By the time we let her go, Jena was as excited as the other kids to see Shauna walk through the door.
Jena is one of the smartest dogs I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The above picture looks almost like she is trying to understand exactly what it was I said. You can almost hear her thinking "Did he just say Walk?".
Speaking of smart...Does she think she is going to drive? She may be the oldest girl in the family (9+), but she can't reach the pedals! This is where Jena would sit and wait for us to get back to the van, she knew that in order to leave we had to sit where she was!
The kids loved her so much, every time I would start wrestling with the kids and Jena would be in the middle of the heap within the first minute! She wanted to get me just as badly as C.J. did! The best part about it is when I would play rough with Jena...rough enough to almost break skin...and one of the kids or even Janet would reach in to play, Jena would just lick their hand and play soft!
There are years worth of memories, and pages worth of "Jena Quirks" that I could talk about but I will let everyone remember their own thoughts. The day came just a couple of weeks ago, when I came home from work and Jena just looked tired. She was bleeding from her leg, and I knew she couldn't keep pretending forever. The hardest part about deciding when a good time to let Jena go, is that she was trying so hard (up to the very last day) to prove to me that everything was OK and I had nothing to be sad about. A couple of days before she left us, I would look at her and be flooded with thoughts about what life would be like without her and start crying. She would get up, come over to me, and try to snuggle with me as if to tell me it would be OK and there was nothing to cry about. This of course would only make things worse!
This is one of my favorite pictures. It shows my two best friends, and how much love they had for each other. My Wife has been so wonderful in helping me move through the grieving process.
We took Jena in to see Dr. Brinkerhof, who was compassionate enough to cut his date short and meet us after hours. We took her in the office, the Doc gave her an anesthetic that made her sleepy. She fell asleep in my arms, and in just over a minute after he gave the second shot she was gone.
Despite the fact that we have 6 kids...our house seems so empty. There are many reminders that creep up as cruel taunts that she will never step foot in our home again. There is no bark after the doorbell, she doesn't run and hide behind the chair if I raise my voice, she isn't around to eat the end of the chicken breast, we actually have to CLEAN the floor after dinner now, she isn't curled up outside the shower or in the dirty clothes pile, and she doesn't push her nose under our hands anymore as we sit at the computer.
We love you girl, and know you are running with The Big Man now. See you later.
Greg, Janet, Hannah, Hailey, C.J., Anthony, Jamie, and Chuck.
Thanks to Deb from Funny Face Photography for the amazing "goodbye" pictures of our Asian Girl.