And Then Death Returned

Cooper Birthday 12; KMHuberImageAs I write this final post about Cooper James, there are more tears of joy than of loss for he and I did a pretty fine job of making the most of the time we had, which really was not that long but to be honest, it would never have been long enough for me. Yet, the fact that we were together is what comforts. Gratitude always sustains.

Cooper died on New Year’s Eve, and I have not been able to write this post until now for with his passing, a chapter ends but also, a chapter begins. Right now, I’m straddling the pages but as the days pass, the new chapter will begin to write itself. It always does.

Publishing a final post to sum up Cooper’s life just didn’t seem to suit. I seemed to recognize that early on so I began publishing occasional posts about our life together. I wanted to capture as many moments as I could, for Cooper was truly curious about his world. All dogs are completely present all the time but Cooper’s curiosity seemed to enrich his experience on the physical plane.

Cooper was not a dog that everyone loved nor did people see him as a perfect kind of dog. He was handsome, and he knew it, and he was a charmer, albeit a quirky one. Originally named Snoop, he lived up to his name. In Day of Freedom, I relay how he and his cat friend, EmmaRose, came to live with me. Then, I did not know that freedom resides in every moment, if only we are aware.

In Trailblazing, I wrote of Cooper’s intervertebral disc disease and further explained the consequences of a lifelong love of Cooper, EmmaRose; KMHuberImagesnooping:  Cooper has enjoyed reasonably good health, other than taking a daily Pepcid for most of this last year. Essentially, Cooper views the world in terms of how edible it is, often deciding to take a chance. This lifelong habit seems to have caught up with him. Cooper never missed taking a chance, and I began to understand how limiting hesitation is.

Shedding, which proved to be my most popular post for 2012, recounts our first visit to Waverly park. Spring was just starting. Everywhere, everything is coming to life as Cooper snores….There is a lifetime in this moment, as always.

In What Abundance Knows, Cooper, EmmaRose, and I, once separate, were now together enjoying abundance. How we lived before does not define us nor does it measure who we are.

KMHuberImage; Cooper JamesThe first sign of real decline was apparent In the Moment: Even with disk disease and deteriorating joints, Cooper strives for the handsome gait that has all but left him. In seeing his ramp with his car for the first time, he took that in stride as well—allowing me to guide him in—bearing the grace of the being he is. Once in the car, I buckled us into our seats. With hand and paw on the gear shift, we moved into yet another moment.

By summer, we were celebrating Waverly Mornings as an idyllic frame for every day’s possibilities. I am grateful to Cooper for these Waverly mornings for it is his heart that holds us fast to our ritual. He has taught me the forever joy of “bye-bye in the car.” It is a lifetime gift, of course. Already there are times that we must settle for the memory of Waverly but for every day we are able, we have a Waverly morning. 

However, as the winter solstice approached, Waverly in Winter was one of our last visits: I watch him more than he realizes. KMHuberimage; larch in autumnEvery time, I am glad that we are at Waverly on this day and that he is engaging with every scent he can find and even in winter, there are many. I do my best to stay as present as Cooper for far too easily my mind wanders to spring and whether or not Cooper will be with me at Waverly, gazebo or no. On the afternoon of the winter solstice, he had his first seizure.

The day that As Death Brushed By posted was Cooper’s last full day on the physical plane. What a visit we had at Waverly that day. The humidity was non-existent, and Cooper walked the circle that is Waverly pond. For the last time, he made his stiff, little legs trot just a bit in celebration of the day dawning. That evening, he suffered another seizure more severe than the first.

Once again, I watched over him through the night, and in the morning, he went for his last “bye-bye in the car,” a 2.5 hour ride, his last trip to Gainesville where he would cross the Rainbow Bridge. I thanked Cooper James for all that he gave me as he drifted into sleep, his last, and for me, the last time I would watch over him.

Regular blog posts will resume January 10, 2013.

63 thoughts on “And Then Death Returned

  1. Karen, I am so sorry to hear that your beloved Cooper has passed away. I feel like I have lost a friend and I am sure others do to. As we all got to know his little quirks through your writings. He was a character no doubt but I am sure he still looks out for you, from where he is. Animals are such a gift and bring us so much joy. My thoughts are with you.
    Athena

    Like

  2. Thanks for bringing Cooper James into my life through your observations. Rarely has a dog been so properly honored. I cried willingly over his passing. I hope there will be another Cooper James in your life. A cat is not a dog (do not let EmmaRose read this–and if she can I take it back).

    Like

    1. EmmaRose misses him as much as I do–maybe more–for literally, she has known little of life without Cooper James. She read your comment before I did but as she has given up keyboarding–paws and laptops, you know?–she wanted you to know she appreciates that you distinguish the species (actually, she is quite impressed). For now, we’re settling in together. Thanks, Adrian.

      Karen

      Like

  3. Karen, it breaks my heart to hear that Cooper James has passed away. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know him a bit through your posts and have admired his eagerness to make the most of each day. What a good companion he was. You were both lucky to have found each other. I’ve given my good dog, Ruby, an extra hug, grateful to be similarly blessed. Sending many sincere condolences.

    Like

    1. Hi, Teri!

      Give Ruby and yourself a hug from me. Finding Cooper James was one of my best moments, and his too, I think. At Dr. Mac’s farm, before I saw him, he was at my side, jumping up to get my attention. I’ve never forgotten that moment for we were in a sea of dogs but this little beagle was determined to get my attention, and he did. The love always outlasts the loss. Thanks for stopping by.

      Karen

      Like

  4. What more could I add to the lovely thoughts expressed here? But one more virtual hug is, well, one more virtual hug! The approach you took during his last year…brief sketches of contentment and being in the moment…seems so right. Take care of yourself.

    Like

    1. One can never receive too many virtual hugs, Ann. Thank you! I am so glad I wrote of his moments for as you say, it really does (and did) seem right. The next chapter of my life is beginning to write itself–he is settling into my heart, now–I remain amazed at how much he was a part of my daily routine but as I say, it is the next chapter.

      Karen

      Like

  5. Karen, I’m so sorry for your loss. Pets are a heartbreak waiting to happen. In the first 4 days of 2013 my grrrrl went from happy poodle to stone blind. Hopefully the K9 eye doc will be able to tell us what happened.

    I’m used to old doggies, and I love them. I just wasn’t prepared for her to go from vital 12-year-old to blind and 1/2 deaf doggie, running into the walls, and turning the opposite way when I call her.:(

    Like

    1. I am quite partial to the older dogs myself and glad to hear you are as well. All in all the love animals give is worth every moment of loss, for me. As you note, with older dogs, change is quick and requires an immediate adjustment on our part. My best to you and your beloved poodle.

      Karen

      Like

  6. Dear Karen, Cooper James was one of my virtual pets. I loved hearing about his adventures at the Waverly and the connected-ness between you two. Thank you for sharing your journey together in a way that celebrates life and death. May these memories comfort you now.

    Like

  7. Such a beautiful tribute to Cooper!! He was adorable and sweet, and he was SO lucky to get to spend the last part of his life with you and his beloved Emma. Much love to you!
    P.S. My mom, who as you know also died the same day, needed a little buddy to love so he’s in good hands. She took such good care of my old dog Buddy that he lived to be 19!

    Like

  8. Karen, I’m so very sorry to hear about your loss. What a beautiful post collecting so many of your memories of him and all that he taught you during your time together. He sounds like a wonderful companion and teacher. May those lovely memories soften the edges of your grief as you adjust to life without him. Sending you lots of virtual hugs!

    Like

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our yellow lab 6 months ago. He was 13 and couldn’t get around much anymore and had breathing issues. It was very hard. Thank you for sharing Cooper with us. Our dogs will always be alive in our hearts.

    Like

  10. Karen, Consider this another virtual hug. I loved reading about Cooper, and the way he stayed so beautifully present, and taught you some of what he knew. I know you felt blessed by him and he was lucky to have you caring for him and giving him love and walks. My condolences for your loss.

    Like

  11. Oh Karen, I think this is the most beautiful post I have ever read about the loss of a beloved pet. Well actually they become more than a pet, don’t they? I am taken back by all the amazing experience you had with Cooper. Those I’m quite sure you will always treasure. What can I say? I am truly sorry for your loss. Please take care. You are in our thoughts.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Karen! As you say, my life with Cooper is a treasure, and because it was so full, it will last a lifetime. That is the upside. Good to see you and will be stopping by your blog to welcome you back.
      Karen

      Like

  12. My condolences, Karen. Thank you for sharing this very special relationship with us. I have to think that Cooper had finished what he needed to do in this world and held on until the end of the year to say goodbye. {{{Hugs}}} until we see you again January 10th.

    Like

  13. Karen, I’m so sorry about Cooper crossing the Rainbow Bridge. He was one blessed dog to have you as his puppy Mommy. Thank you for letting me get to know him and share your adventures to Waverly with the two of you! Your writing and love for him was so real, I honestly felt like he was a dog that I knew!

    Like

  14. My heart is sad that he is no longer with you. I very much enjoyed reading about your travels with him. I am glad you found each other and were able to give him such a loving home until it was time for him to go. I will miss Cooper’s blog posts and I am glad you tagged so many of your adventures in this post for me to be able to go back and read through them. Much love to you Karen during this difficult transition. I certainly know how hard it can be.

    Big hugs to you,
    Morgan

    Like

    1. Yes, Morgan, you have been through so much of late and although I have not told you, please know you have been in my thoughts. Always I hope for your highest good. I will miss writing about him for he truly approached the world with a sense of discovery. Thank you for your kind words, Morgan.
      Karen

      Like

  15. Karen, consider my response a giant virtual hug. I’m so sorry to read of Cooper’s passing and I know your heart is heavy at this moment but I also know it is filled with the love and memories the two of you created together. I’m sure that now, more than ever, staying in the moment is a challenge and as you told me when we first connected, our pets keep us there as it is all they know. I’m glad you and Cooper were able to enjoy a beautiful loop around the lake for one last time and I wish for you, continued peace, healing and may you find comfort in the wonderful time you shared.

    Like

    1. The joy of our life together outweighs the physical loss of him, ultimately, but there are moments that are a challenge, just as you say. His final hours on the physical plane were also filled with more life than illness, and for that, I am deeply grateful. A beautiful comment, Stephanie, and thank you.

      Karen

      Like

  16. I am so sorry that Cooper James is no longer with us! I didn’t really know him but through your wonderful writing, I feel I got to know him. So thank you for letting me get to know him!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s