As Death Brushed By

Waverly Bridge; KMHuberImage
It does no good to make an appointment with death for death has its own schedule. In other words, death knows its moments. That said, death may give us a glimpse if we are observant and completely present.

Cooper James; KMHuberImageOn the afternoon of the winter solstice, Cooper James was jolted from his sleep by a spasm/seizure so severe and so long in duration, I thought death had stopped for him completely. Not so. Cooper was more than content to let that moment go and get on to the next.

I could not, however, let it go. With more ease than I care to admit, I abandoned the freedom that is in every moment and tried to secure every moment that remained for Cooper as if I could know when his death would be, as if I could make an appointment for it.

St. Mark's Refuge; Gulf of Mexico; KMHuberImage
I wanted to be ready but by looking to the future, I was missing what was occurring: Cooper was approaching his life as he always had, a little slower, perhaps, but with just as much interest. In fact, he took advantage of my rather dazed nature by sticking his nose into the cat box, something he hasn’t done since…well, I can’t remember when.

My head stayed stuck in the future, creating and re-creating it, as I cleaned up the cat gravel without giving it any attention. Of course, Cooper seized every moment in which I was not present and that included scoring extra portions of chicken and rice.

Cooper steadily improved but my head remained in the future because of what had occurred in the past. My head was trying to decide what was best for him while my heart went unheeded, as if it did not beat.Rose of Waverly Park; KMHuberImage

By Christmas Eve, my head was so restless there was no chance for sleep so I watched Cooper sleep and listened to an NPR broadcast of A Christmas Carol. His seizure/spasm had altered our lives but Cooper stayed present–it is all he knows—while I was stuck in the moment that death brushed by. Disregarding the present, I anticipated the future when death would make a complete stop.

As Christmas Eve turned into Christmas morning, I did not hear sleigh bells or angels singing on high but I did receive a gift. As my heart tucked my head under itself, the joy of being filled me with gratitude for what is.

I realized that my best is always in being completely present. That is what assures a future and heals a past. I have written about being present in so many blog posts but it seems I required a winter solstice event and a Christmas Eve carol to experience it completely.

St. Mark's Refuge; egret; KMHuberImage
The moment is always free, neither attached to the past nor future. What we are in each moment will frame our past and color our future. If we will tuck our heads under our hearts, we will not get caught within the ego web of our thoughts.

In keeping an open heart, we know joy, love, gratitude and compassion, the emotions the ego cannot know. This I wish for each and every one of you for every moment you have.

Blog Format Change

Beginning Thursday, January 3, 2013, I will begin publishing a weekly Thursday Tidbits post in addition to my regular Sunday posts. True to the definition of tidbit, these posts will be some choice bits of information that I find curious and think may interest you.

Often, I come across information that does not warrant or merit a full blog post but is worth sharing with my readers. Obviously, I am quite enamored of the idea of all of us connecting with one another—oneness meets technology—so my thinking is that Thursday Tidbits will provide us another avenue to do just that.

Other times, I discover blog posts that I would like to share but re-blogging has its issues so I’ve decided I would rather direct people to those blogs and blog posts. Thus, I will provide some introductory information and possible background information regarding the post and then you can decide whether or not to click on the link.KMHuberImage; writing

I may also include some videos and at times, these Thursday posts may be a forerunner for the Sunday posts. At times, I may ask for your thoughts on a subject before I write a blog post. Clearly, the Thursday Tidbits format is fluid.

This week, I am celebrating my one year anniversary of blogging. I have thoroughly enjoyed this past year. Obviously, that has a great deal to do with you, my readers, who have been so constant. I thank you and look forward to another year together.

32 thoughts on “As Death Brushed By

  1. I can see by your posts that you love Cooper dearly. It is only when we are faced with losing something we love we realise how precious it is to us. Congradulations on your blogging anniversary and Happy New Year.

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  2. Karen, my old canine companion also has had troubles of late. A vestibular seizure in spring she recovered from–slowed her down but diminished none of her zest for the now! She’s 14…yes, I do find myself looking ahead, worrying. You offer a splendid reminder that what she cherishes is the present moment, so all I really can do for her is spend time with her.
    Which I have been doing during my holiday break!! I think we will miss one another when I go back to the office tomorrow. Many snuggles to Cooper, and have a productive and liberating new year.

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  3. I’ve seen Cooper James rarely, and mostly from a distance, but he is a solid and real personality to me thanks to your accounts. I must admit that when I got your note about Cooper James deciding whether to stay or go my eyes stung. I felt as if I knew the boy and that I’d hate to lose him.

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  4. Sometimes I feel I am the only person among my circle of friends who is cursed (blessed?) with ever-present awareness of the fleetingness of life. I’ve come around to the idea, as you seem to have, that the only way to bear this knowledge is to live fully and without reservation in the present moment. And yet, full-hearted living is so hard, and the people who embrace it are few and far between. I so appreciate hearing your voice calling me back to the right-now.

    Thanks for a year of much-needed reminders, and I look forward to your new blog format.

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    1. Life just is, isn’t it…”the web that has no weaver.” I like to think our ranks are growing. Thanks so much for the pingback to your blog. It will be a bit of a challenge to add Thursdays, but we’ll see what it brings.

      Karen

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  5. As soon as we think we feel zen, we lose it. Like a slippery bar of soap. Be gentle with yourself for moving into the past or future. It is natural for humans to do. Zen realizations come and go…nothing to cling to…nothing. I loved your post! Zenning with my dogs!!!!

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  6. Now I know what you mean when you say “a writer who learned zen from a beagle.” Cooper definitely is a zen master. Congratulations on your anniversary. Hope you and Cooper have a warm and safe New Years. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

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  7. Thank you, Karen, for this year of blogging and for this last, heartfelt entry, so appropriate to the end of the year, a time for reflection, especially your insight to focus on the now, a lesson we keep learning. Your essay captures well that sense of panic and urgency when someone we love has a brush with death. Three years ago, my hubby had a stroke. The doctors said it was a miracle he survived and survived well. But death certainly brushed us by, and it’s taken a lot of time to heal, to have trust in the future that he would still be with me. I hope to tuck my head under my heart and celebrate the ‘now’ that each day brings. As you so eloquently show the way. Beth

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    1. Oh, Beth, what a lovely comment. Keeping my head under my heart has changed my life and I like to think it helped me do my best when Cooper needed me most. Thanks for the kind words about my blog.

      Karen

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  8. It’s hard to let a pet go even when you know it’s for the best. We lost our dog this last summer. We were glad we were here to be with him. Still, it was harder then I ever imagined. You and Cooper will be in my thoughts.

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  9. Your post is beautiful, but I ache thinking of your Christmas Eve and the worry and distress you bore alone for Cooper. Words are a good way to come to terms, as you have done so well in this post, but emotions aren’t canned goods we can order on a shelf. Worry only saps strength and will; you combat that challenge well by living in the moment. But grief is human and necessary and shouldn’t be swept away. Love every moment you have with Cooper, let his sweet self imbue you with joy unadulterated by future fears, but when it’s time, allow yourself to feel the entire range of emotions in your heart. It’s the only way to heal.

    Congratulations on your milestone. A solid year of blogging your weekly gifts to us. We’re grateful, more than you know. Looking forward to those intriguing Thursday Tidbits!

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    1. Wise, wise words, Leigh, and I have read them more than once. As you note, it is tempting to sweep grief away rather than experience it but being present keeps the broom at bay. Always appreciate you stopping by.
      Karen

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  10. Thanks for this post, Karen. I am sorry to hear about Cooper. I know that you will stay present with him and give him the love and care he needs and continue to learn from the experience. I lost a dog three years ago to kidney failure. It was a difficult but heart-opening four months, which left a legacy that benefits my current dogs.
    May the new year bring you many blessings. Ann

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  11. I think Diana is right–living through this event might help prepare you. But how wonderful that you are so awake to see it as a reminder to savor the present. Happy New Year to you, Cooper and the cat. You are in my thoughts.

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    1. Happy New Year to you, Deb. As it turns out, I was more prepared, and I like to think that Cooper benefited from it. Thanks for being such a loyal reader and for keeping us in your thoughts.
      Karen

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  12. Congratulations on the one year of blogging anniversary! I look forward to hearing from you on Thursdays too.
    I’m sorry to hear that Cooper is having such health challenges. It is hard to watch our little loved ones get older. I hope you have his company for as long as possible and that you are able to enjoy the time you have with him. Blessings on you and on him!

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    1. Hi, KJ!
      The one year anniversary came much more quickly than I thought, and I have enjoyed blogging. Adding another day will be a challenge for me but I am wanting to expand the blog a bit. We’ll see how it goes. I always enjoy your comments.

      Karen

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  13. Oh, Karen, your post touched me. I went through a similar experience with my beloved miniature schnauzer earlier this year. My husband and I were able to be present with him until it was time for him to leave us. May you have many lovely moments present with Cooper in the time he has to share with you.

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    1. Thanks so much, Lynette. Have always felt that he and I made the most of our time. Like you and your husband, I was with Cooper when he left the physical plane.
      Karen

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  14. I found myself thinking of you this week Karen – wondering if all was OK, maybe from not having heard from you after the solstice. Your communications by blog or comment have indeed become part of my world! Sorry to hear about Cooper but maybe you will be more prepared for the final moment when it eventually arrives. It is a time of year for reflection even more than usual but I can always count on you for not letting me dwell too much on the past or future. Thank you for that over the past year and I look forward to another series of moments, Thursdays as well as Sundays! I will try and keep up! Enjoy the New Year, best wishes, Diana

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    1. I look to your blog for my art education and am always thrilled to see another of your blog posts in my email. As for adding Thursdays, I’m a bit concerned about keeping up myself but it’s an experiment I’ve been wanting to try. Best to you in 2013; I am glad we are part of each other’s worlds.
      Karen

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