2019 was a rough year for dogs in the Ittmann household. Today, Moose joined his brother Chunk in puppy heaven. He was 9 and a half years old (6/19/2010 – 12/23/2019). Having been through this with Chunk less than a year ago, I thought we’d be better prepared, but telling Moose good bye still devastated us. If anything, our 5 year old handled it the best.
Moose was the sweetest, kindest dog around. His goal on earth was to make us happy. For him, just being by us was all he needed. Those were the traits I remembered from our mastiffs when I was young, and Moose lived up to it every bit. He was loud and made a mess just about everywhere, but that was part of his charm. There were several times friends would be over and would just start laughing. I had no idea what was going on at first, but it turns out we were so used to Moose snoring in the middle of a room like a grown man that we didn’t even notice it. Obviously, everyone else did.
Alyce flew to California to pick up Moose nearly a decade ago, but it seems like recent memory. This was the first of many times his momma spoiled him. He was in a travel kennel for the flight but managed to convince his mom to let him out on the plane to visit…only leading to a big mess developing mid flight.
Chunk Ittmann – November 14, 2007 – February 8, 2019. He is survived by…Nope. That’s not Chunk’s style.
If you venture over to our very out of date “about” page (I’m closer to being in my 40s than my 20s these days), you’ll see Chunk – our English Bulldog. Chunk has been around for almost as long as there has been a Justin and Alyce. Yesterday, we had to make the hard decision to put Chunk down. He was 11 and meant the world to us.
We got Chunk right when we got engaged in early 2008. We were just kids living with my brother in our college condo. I was a 2nd year law student. Alyce was working as a floor nurse. That was 11 years ago, but it seems like only yesterday I was riding home with Chunk after his 90 minute delay arriving from Arkansas.
Anyone that still has our blog on your reader may have noticed that it has been over a year since our last post. This isn’t for lack of things to write on – I’ve just been slow to get to the posts I’ve been needing to type up.
I had hoped to have my posts on Spain/France 2016 wrapped up by year end 2016. That didn’t exactly pan out. But, the good news is that I now have that typed up along with wrap ups for our other trips since then (New York and Charleston).
This post is a little different than our typical post. The title says it all:
Life is fragile.
That is something I’ve always believed. We are on this planet for an unbelievably short time. Even if you live to be 100, it is just a fraction of a blink in the grand scheme of things. You must make the most of the time you have. This belief has led me to making several work/life decisions that others considered odd or out of the ordinary.
On our big trip, we stayed with our friends Tommy and Mallory on our final stop of the trip in Abu Dhabi, where Tommy was stationed for his job with Exxon. I went to high school with Tommy, and Alyce went to high school with Mallory. They got a bit of a head start on family life on us and had two beautiful daughters when we visited. Mallory was also newly pregnant with a son when we stayed with them in Abu Dhabi.
Fast forward a couple years…We have our own son and are wrapping up our trip to Italy. Alyce tells me that something sounds bad on facebook our last night in Venice. Mallory is asking for prayers for their son (something we knew was serious based on the people/circumstances involved). Two days later, we are back in New Orleans. Alyce filled me in on the news – Tommy and Mallory’s son, Austin, had passed.
We were both devastated. We know that accidents happen and are a part of life, but that fact doesn’t make it any more palatable when it happens to someone you know. Plus, it hit really close to home considering we have a son just a little bit younger than Austin.
Today we went to Austin’s service, and it was every bit as sad as you would expect. There is really not much you can say in such a circumstance, but I think just being there and giving a hug helps.
So hug your loved ones tight. Don’t put off things for the future that are important to you. You never know what will happen. And keep Austin, Tommy, Mallory, and their girls in your thoughts/prayers.
Alyce just informed me that she put the link to the blog on facebook. Things have changed some since many of you have probably been here.
First and foremost…See the blue words “continue reading” immediately below? Click them.
Got the blog up and running. Hopefully, this will be the first post of many on our travels.