Friday, January 23, 2009

Change Has Come: A Tribute To Coco And Steven Levitin

Inauguration Day 2009 was a day of change for America -- at least that's what President Barack Obama told us.

When I saw the front page of the Chicago Tribune at my home in Chicago Thursday morning, I couldn't believe my eyes. The truth lay before me -- a Cubs and White Sox fan were hard at work in the Oval Office.

But my grandparents saw something different.

They saw the first black man executing business in that black leather chair and a Jew providing the President with guidance along the way.

The only person who didn't get to see it was my father.

My dad passed away due to a weak heart on Jan. 17, days before President Obama took office and my mother's birthday. But don't let his death overshadow the truth. His heart wasn't weak by any means, its time beating came to an end.

The man was lucky enough to have two hearts in his life -- one of his own and one he received from a then 15-year-old boy named Mark, giving my dad nine extra years on this earth to continue to live every minute as if it were the most important one he lived.

It's times like these that you wish an entire campaign run on "change" never did. My dad knew I hated change. More than anything. I did and I do. Change scares me. And -- as much as it's needed -- I just never liked it much. It seemed trivial and unproductive.

Before each start of the semester during college, he'd write and tell me "I know you hate change BUT....," that kind of thing.

Guess I can't hate it anymore. He wouldn't like it if I did.

To make this nightmare more heart wrenching, my dog -- the beloved Coco -- passed away 12 hours before my dad.

Now, I don't really believe much in an afterlife but I must admit that I do believe Coco had to go that morning so when my dad got to where he was going, she would be there.

Because, as much as she was my baby (I picked her out of the liter, named her, all that jazz), a dog really is a man's best friend.

I can see it now. He shows up wherever people go when they die and he's all bummed, hanging his head low because now ... it's real ... he's not living anymore and he has to deal with that ... and then -- all of a sudden -- that rough, deep, husky bark just starts. He looks up. There she is. Golden, perfectly groomed coat, maybe even with a little halo (who knows, right?) galloping full speed toward the man she hadn't seen for the past two to three months. It must've made him so happy. Lord knows, she was.

And that's that. Change has come. Not only to America, but to me. And this time -- I'm just going to have to accept that.

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