Lessons from Ivan


darkest of nights
brightened with love-
spring begins

Yesterday was a horrible day with the whole family missing Ivan so very much. However, last night my wife and I sat around discussing his life and how much he taught us. In a way Ivan was out first child and his loss has been very difficult. He was there when our oldest daughter entered college and when our youngest was born. He was and is part of our lives.

Lessons from Ivan:

1. Be loyal. No matter what happens always have each other’s back and take care of each other.

2. Be neat: Ivan always had issues with vomiting so he learned to vomit in the toilet. We learned to check the to poker as one never knew what he might have left in it. Sadly he never learned to flush.

3. Deal with Stupidity. Ivan was a good leader. His brother Sigmund is NOT the smartest dog and in fact he is neurotic. Yet Ivan was kind in correcting him and even yielded to him when it came time to “go outside” as Sigmund was not very patient either.

4. Be brave. Ivan once jumped off a 12 foot ledge to chase someone away from our car and was always ready to go with me outside to check the yard.

5. Face illness with dignity. Over the past year Ivan rarely let his illness cause him to lose composure. Even on bad days he would fight to walk up the stairs to go to bed rather than be carried.

6. No when to let go. One his last day Ivan asked to “Go Outside” after he was done he sat down and just looked at me with a look. I thought he might be ok if we got to the vets. But Ivan knew better. He was happy to be in the car for the last time and before his last breath he reached for me with his head, putting it on my hand. At this time I told him he was a good boy and it was okay to let go. He took one last look and then breathed his last.

There are more lessons but right now I cannot write anymore.

About fiercebuddhist

Welcome. I am happy that our paths have crossed. Here you will find various poems, articles and photography. I hope that you enjoy them and visit often. I am currently working on writing “A Haiku A Day” so that I can, perhaps, have enough good ones for publication. If you are wondering what a “Fierce Buddhist” the following declaration should clarify. The “Fierce” in FierceBuddhist I define as “an obligation to do what I can to benefit all sentient beings, not just those close to me or those I agree with. If I see something or someone that is hurting others I must step forward and do what I can to assist them.” In the Army and in the dojo I learned how to defend myself, family and country but that does not mean I endorse the use of force. Two nonviolent examples of Fierce Buddhists that come to mind are Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. While I do not claim be even close to them I can strive and so can you. Furthermore, my Buddhist name, given to me by Sensei Kubose, is Seiyo. His interpretation of my communication and interaction with him led him to this name. He told me Seiyo means “Fierce Sun.” The sun shines on everyone without prejudices without giving preferential treatment to anyone. This is tough to live up to, as you can imagine, but it sure sets the tone for my life. In Buddhism this is called a Fierce Bodhisattva. I am only on the path to Enlightenment and can only say to be a Fierce Buddhist.

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