This morning, I received a text message from my twin brother sadly informing me that they were going to have to put down their dog (Bam) today as the cancer had spread and they did not want to see him suffer anymore.
A lump quickly developed in my throat and tears flooded my eyes as it began to sink in that a significant part of our family would no longer be with us. To honor Bam, I felt the best thing to do was to list the top 7 lessons I learned from him:
1. Give Everyone a Chance
So often in life, we have a tendency to migrate towards people who are similar to us. We become friends with people who have the same interests, dress similar, talk similar, etc. Just as Bam treated everyone the same, we should always remember that everyone deserves a chance. Every life has value and we should never exclude someone because they’re different.
2. Connect Through Touch
I can’t remember a time where I walked through the doors of my brother’s house without being greeted by Bam. Bam was always quick to rub against my leg or even jump up to say hello. When you would sit or lay on the couch, Bam would always make his way to you to rub against you or just give you those “puppy eyes” so that you would pet him. So the bottom line is this: Hug your neighbor. Kiss your spouse. There’s power in touch.
3. Live In The Moment
Bam had an innate ability to always be present. Whatever was going on in that moment, he was always right there, giving his full attention. Don’t be so caught up in the things going on around you that you miss the most important things right in front of you.
4. Slow Down and Relax
It seemed like every time we had family gatherings or birthday parties, Bam would find a way to lay down in the middle of the chaos to rest. Life is crazy. Slow down and enjoy the journey. Life’s a garden, dig it.
5. Be Loyal
Bam was always loyal to his family. In a world that constantly attempts to pull families apart, we need to remind ourselves that loyalty is royalty.
6. Forgive Quickly
Life is too short to hold a grudge. Bam taught that well. No matter how many times Donovan or Liza smacked Bam (whether playing or throwing a fit), he would always turn the other cheek and move on. Forgiving others of their mistake may or may not free them, but it will always free you.
7. Love Well
Bam knew how to love well. He forgave quickly, was always happy to see you, and was one who knew how to make you feel loved. Don’t assume that people know you love them, show them.
Bam, you were more than a furry animal in our family. You showed us how to love one another. You will be greatly missed. Thank you for loving Ben, Ashley, Liza, and Donovan the way you did. – Uncle Stu