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The Facts of Life

You take the good, you take the bad. You take them both and there you have, the Facts of Life. If you’re a child of the 80’s you’re singing the rest of those lyrics in your head right now…and if you’re anything like me, they’ll be stuck in there for a good, long while. Sorry for that. These lyrics have been stuck on repeat in my mind for the past several weeks…as it seems we are experiencing an unusual bumpy road lately. In a matter of four weeks, we have experienced the lowest lows and the highest highs…and some good stuff in between.

I’m not sure how much detail I can or want to post on this blog…so we’ll see. I apologize in advance if I seem a little vague. Let’s just say this…it’s been rough. My world has been shaken, my heart has been broken and we’ve both shed more than just a few tears.  We’ve struggled to make the pieces fit together and try to come to some sort of understanding as to why things happen the way they do. We’ve struggled to reconcile such extreme emotions and how best to pray for a way out of them. I’ve felt hopeless, lost, hopeful, grateful and fearful all at the same time…or at least in a rapid fire succession. Did I mention, it’s been rough?

Last weekend, after suffering through a long and emotional week, we loaded up and headed out to Wheaton, IL for a Karwoski family weekend. I had reservations about going – after having had a really low week. But we’d been planning to see the family for several months and truthfully, we both love the Karwoski family weekends. So I put on my tough girl pants and we went. The weekend was wonderful – full of good times with the family, and each other. We enjoyed visits with cousins, aunts, uncles, old family friends as well as seeing the familiar sites most popular with the family. Dinner at the Joint and a few trips uptown to the Popcorn Store, specifically.

Monday night Matt and I went into Chicago to see a Cubs game – something we’ve always wanted to do…and it was wonderful. We had the most amazing time…our smiles were practically frozen on our faces. After we found our seats, I inquired about the family bathrooms to a nearby usher…she went to confer with another usher who told us we didn’t want to sit THERE and told us to come with him. We followed him up another level to an amazing spot just underneath the press box…directly behind home plate. He pointed us to a section, which was roped off and told us to take our pick of a seat. Incredible. The view was incredible. We couldn't believe out luck, but the usher just smiled and told the ushers in this section to just let us sit wherever, and they all happily complied…taking our picture for us and showing us where the bathroom was. We felt like a million bucks. If fact, it actually choked us up a bit…our incredibly good fortune. Everyone was so helpful, so nice and here we were about to experience our first Cubs game in the most amazing spot. Who cared that we rode sandwiched together on a bus to get there?  Who cared that it was cold and windy? Who cared that the Cubs lost? We had this awesome spectacle to take in, hot chocolate to warm us up, and a memory to last a lifetime.  It was a good, good time.
Coming home – however we were faced with the fact that our Buddy was slipping quickly. We’d been preparing ourselves for the fact that he wouldn't be around too much longer.  His hearing has suddenly gone and this is causing him a lot of distress.  He’s had a few incidents that have been troublesome to us, and talking to the vet before the Wheaton trip, we sort of agreed that this last weekend away was a test to see how he did. Even they remarked that he wasn't himself…normally perky and happy, he spent most of the weekend sleeping and not eating. After we brought him home, he was frantic…anxious, scared, and not at all himself. Each morning after, he’s been under the bed and reluctant to come out. His usual happy, good morning trot…gone. We knew it was time. And so, after a few weeks of devastating loss and wonderful good times, we are once again faced with another big loss.  I’m faced with the reality that after having ALWAYS had a dog…I will be dog-less after today. I don’t know what it will be like not to have to vacuum up all the hair, pay for expensive food, wipe up muddy paw prints, pick up doo-doo in the yard…or come home to a happy, grinning dog full of tail wags and kisses. It will be a big adjustment for us. Going from two dogs to one last fall was an adjustment…going from one to none will be huge. And Buddy…well…he’s definitely MY dog.  My shadow…well, my buddy. He’s long annoyed Matt with his quirky behavior and clingy attitude…but he definitely won us both over with his loving good nature. He’s been a good dog…and I can’t even say how much I’ll miss him.
And so on this weekend where we say goodbye to Buddy, we also have fun plans with friends and family. There’s the whole Facts of Life theme song again…at the same time I’m mourning the loss of my beloved dog, I’ll be out gallivanting around downtown Des Moines getting good and colorful at the Color Run 5K with some good friends.  I’ll be enjoying some quality football with Matt and friends. And best of all, we’ll be cruising the wagon up to the Cruise to the Woods with my family…including my parents who will be up with their Cuda…the first time in several years. Fall is in air – good times are all around me – at the same time I wipe away tears for the losses I’ve endured these past 4 weeks. I suppose I find myself hopeful that more good times are ahead and that they will help me move past the losses. I’m grateful for these good times – for the love of friends and family. For the support you've shown me over the years, months, and these past few especially difficult weeks. In time I hope that the grief gives way to good and that soon we can celebrate hope together.
In the meantime, we do our best to keep on keeping on. Working hard to keep our chins up, when the world never seems to be living up to our dreams… 


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