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Frames of Time...

001_06 - Roku
Originally "barks" from 2005

December 25, 2005
This has certainly been, as the song says, "a hard candy christmas". Today it became evident that Roku will be leaving us. If he does not succumb tonight, he will be assisted in the morning. The tumor on his shoulder has grown and grown. He put up a good fight and attempted to keep us from seeing how much trouble and pain he was in. We call it 'pulling a Diamond' after our wonderful horse. But today, his true condition could no longer hide - trouble walking, shortness of breath, vacant eyes, dropping temperature and more. But amongst all these signs came other signs. His perking up to see his grandkids. His sudden desire for an ice cream cone. Perhaps the most amazing was tonight before dinner. Our small Christmas tree had gone 'kaput' several days ago when the lights stopped working. Checking circuits, wires and bulbs showed no reason for the darkness. We chalked it up to "cheap lights". (I think they cost $1.99.) The tree stood above one of the eating crates. Tonight, as Roku lay in this spot awaiting dinner, Rachel once again, as she had each night for days, plugged in the lights. Tonight, they came on. Even though it is now late, I have kept them burning. His love turned them back on. Perhaps he used it as a sign to tell his family, already gone, that he is on his way. Among others, he will get to see his sister Jordi, his son Keitaro and companion Baron, who also left this year. Several times during the day he has looked skyward. Roku, "mr. woo" as we often called him, has been such a major, and important, part of our lives. It will be hard going on without him. But I know it is his time. And I know that when it is my time, he will be there for me. A 'hard candy christmas' indeed. Yet even with my tears it is an oddly merry christmas, for Roku will find peace.

December 26, 2005
Roku left us today. He was a most remarkable fellow. I want to talk about him... but there is too much to say. The most important thing to say is that he loved Rachel. In my half a century I have seldom seen a couple so in tune. They would think and act as one. Of course I will remember so many things about him. His 'woo-woo'. His leaning. His love of beef. His desire to hug. His love of ice cream. His howl. His love of cottage cheese. His scolding us when we stayed out too long. His love of whipped cream. His smooth movement in the ring. His 'big head'. His gentleman manners. His cottage cheese nose. His game of 'eat' my face. And much, much more. But key was his love of his wife (Star). His love of his children. His love of his grand children. Of all the folks I have ever met, he was the most family man I ever knew. And it rubbed off. Tonight it is obvious that Star and Eagle (first born son) miss him. They have a saddness, and a frustration, almost anger at his being gone - like a child whose parent is suddenly taken. All of our kids are unique in their own ways. But Roku was a true one-of-a-kind. A personality that will never be seen again, but always remembered. Tonight I opened the refrigerator and came face to face with a large, fresh cut of beef. I cried. He loved beef, and would ask for it specifically if offered. I then wondered what we'll do with the cottage cheese. Then I heard one of his catch phrases, "I love you, dad" and felt a little better for he did love me. But it was nothing like his love for Rachel. Again, the most important thing was that he loved Rachel. And, she loved him. You can see some photos and art of him at Rachel's page, www dot 6stardanes dot com.
December 27, 2005
Our first day without Roku. Started it with a playtime amongst grandma Star, papa Eagle and his two kids, Rooster and Kele. The foursome had a grand time playing, grooming and just cuddling. It helped remind all that the family remains. I also found the day to be somewhat relieving. True, Roku's departure left a large hole in our home. However, also gone was the stress and tears of his later days. There was no worry about waking up and wondering if he had made the night. There was no wondering if he would eat. There was no wondering if he would be able to stand up. The good was gone... but so was the bad. We spent some time looking at the final pictures taken. His face was often flat, tired. He perked up for some whipped cream, but that was all. It was his time. He knew it. And I knew it. Now he is up taking care of the others who have left us. In fact, it struck me he will see some we never got to know - his kids who died too young to even open their eyes. (There were two.) I miss him very much. But I do not miss him suffering. That gives me a calm I have not always had with our other kids who left.

text, photo and format John Cawley
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