Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Howard at 39

Today would have been Howard Lipman's 39th birthday. He was my best friend growing up. He was the one I could tell all of my secrets to. When I was dealing with major coughing attacks, he was the one who didn't ask if I should go to the doctor or show constant worry on his face. He just sat by my side and listened to my concerns. He was the one who made me laugh when laughing didn't seem possible. He gave me hope when hope seemed lost. He relieved my fears when I had every right to be scared to death. I loved him and he loved me.

Howard was a crazy guy. He used to drive the girls wild. He was extremely affectionate, but he could be tough too. He once stood up for me when a bully attacked me. Still Howard got in a lot of trouble and I know there are times when my parents wanted to ship him to Antarctica. I'm glad that they never did because Howard...

saved my life.

In the 15 years I knew Howard Lipman he didn't speak one word yet his constant listening spoke volumes. Howard believed in me when the Vegas odds would have called me a longshot. Howard was there when I read the encyclopedia article that told me I would not see 25. Sadly the truth is that my life expectancy was always greater than his but he showed me that living in the moment was all that mattered. Howard was there when I got my first therapy machine. Though he was scared at first, he still sat with me as I turned on that noisy metallic monster. He never saw me as the kid with cystic fibrosis. He saw me as his best friend.

Howard died 23.5 years ago.

The fact that Howard was a dog does not lessen his loss one bit. I never saw him as "just" a dog. I saw him as a brother. I saw him as a great friend. A best friend. And I will celebrate his memory every April 1st until the day I pass.

Howard wasn't just a dog.

We got Buddy last summer. The primary reason I wanted a young dog was for our other dog Magic to have a playmate. What I didn't realize is that we'd found a crazy, mischievous dog who licks everybody who gets close to him. I always wanted my kids to meet Howard. Seems like they're getting that chance with Buddy. As much as I want to beg him to stay out of trouble some days, I look into those doe-like brown eyes and I see that brown crazy mutt who wrecklessly ran into my life 39 years ago...more like ran into my heart. I see my best friend. I want my kids to experience that same unconditional love.

The moment my kids first held Buddy they began to feel a love I'd never thought they'd get to experience.

Now they're experiencing it.

Glad "Howard" is back...

though I still miss the original.

Love you Howard.


1 comment:

  1. Okay, I've never posted a comment on a blog post before but I just had to tell you how much I love this post about Howard. I got a huge smile on my face the moment I realized Howard is a dog. I believe God has a very special purpose for animals on this earth and it sounds like Howard was amazing as your best friend and you were the same to him. Howard, you are amazingly loved still 23.5 years later and will always be loved. And Magic and Buddy, thank you for showing that same kind of love to the new generation. Happy Birthday, Howard!!!