Memories and Thoughts of Don and Pucky Remain Strong 11 Years Later

It’s been a bittersweet weekend with the 11th anniversary passing of Don.

It seems like yesterday I drove Don to   attend
religious services not long after the passing of mother (Pauline). Don was
already in the throes of  his cancer treatments, yet he was
able to hobble down the isle and sit with me as we prayed for Mom and
sister Joan, who had passed two years earlier.
I remember Don having a really good spirit that night, as he did most of the time,
even despite his serious illness. Despite grieving for our family members
there was the strong hope  in both of us that Don could beat his illness and that positive attitude would give him more time that most. I remember that night, again, like yesterday,
hoping beyond hope that Don could beat the odds; if anyone could he could.
The other thing I remember  especially well during the time when Don was going
through his illness and treatments was that he continued to put others ahead of
his own problems.  Every time I would talk to him he wanted to know how
Pucky was doing.  Pucky was Joan’s dog for whom I took over guardianship after
Joan passed in 1999. Pucky, a chihuahua-fox, had that same indomitable spirit like Don
and was going through her own tough times with kidney failure
Sadly, she would pass this same week as Don,11 years ago, after her own long struggle.
It was certainly a double blow to lose both Don and Pucky at the same time , while
Dad was beginning to experience his own medical problems; it was certainly no easy feat
for Dad, who had been looking after Don, daily, the past years, after losing his wife
and daughter. Words don’t come to describe the empty pit-in -your-stomach feeling losing your closest people/pets (I had lost Joan’s older dog, Roscoe, just two years earlier,
not long after four cats in their infancies).
I learned a lot from both Don and Pucky, and TRY to live by the qualities they
showed me, especially in their later years as I got to know them better.
 I still miss them a lot, and always will.
While Pucky had a full life, for a dog (18 years)  I always feel especially bad
for Don, who spent so much of his time caring for others in his short-lived medical profession as well as being a dedicated father and friend of many-some of whom may not always have been there for him, especiailly when he was in need . Don did live longer with
his cancer than the great majority of people with  his kind of cancer.  I just hope he got more than a little back in his shortened life; for sure two great kids that will
perpetuate his legacy.  We know he was appreciated by many, including his co-workers at Kaiser Hospital who  awarded him Doctor of the Year. Dad and I went to accept that award in Don’s posthumous honor. As they say, Don was  ‘chip off the old block,’ much
revered by his patients as was Dad.  If Don had any enemies I never heard of any.
but lots and lots of admirers. 
I like to recall certain memories and ‘living thoughts’ of Don (and others no longer with us) that inspire if not daily then at least once or twice a year on these notable days. And, I always enjoy hearing stories about Don and my other family members which keeps them ‘alive;’  I cherish my brother Don, Pucky along with all my family members; just because they may not be so-called ‘active’ participants in society today they remain very ‘active’ in my hearts and thought processes, and , hopefully, some of yours’.
Thanks for caring and sharing,
With Love,
Burt K.
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