On April 29, seven years, eight months, and eight days since I carried him in my arms for the first time, the handsome white and black dog with the broken heart on his right died. He died and I wasn’t there. At 7:02 p.m., all I, his mother, stuck in traffic from the airport, could do was weep in silence “Father into your hands I commend his spirit” as the joy and meaning of my life cried his last cry a hundred and thirty kilometers away. When I arrived at 10 to what I used to call home – for it’s all different now that the one-dog welcoming committee and the master and the heir is gone – all I could do was take his still warm body in my arms, say how handsome he was even then for he didn’t look like he suffered, feel awed at the fact he wasn’t heavy at all despite his being fat, and bury him.
I’m not a person who prays for much, and, although I forced him to make pinky promises with me, truth is I didn’t have the illusion that my Inoo will live forever. All I prayed for was for me to be there when God decided to take him, so I can hold his paw, so I can lay with him on the floor, so I can shower him with kisses, so I can whisper to his good ear a million times that I love him and that he is loved and that Mawmaw loves him, so I can sing for him our kunikuni song, so I can hug him even if it meant I can because he would have no more strength to resist. Because I had hoped being there will ease his pain and sadness. Because I had hoped if I prayed hard and if I went to church as much as I can and if I served at least four times a week, God would listen. Because I know that I am his life as much as he is mine. Yet God decided that my Inoo should go exactly when I wasn’t and I can’t be there.
Or maybe I do. Maybe it’s God’s way of reminding me that even if I go to church everyday, even if I pray hard for this one wish, even if I serve, in the end, it is His will… His timing. Even the fact that I don’t eat animals and advocate not eating animals couldn’t change His mind.
Maybe this is God’s way of reminding me to cherish every second I am with those I love, because I never know when they or I will be gone.
Maybe this is God’s way of teaching me to pay attention to signs.
Or maybe this is punishment because I had been neglectful the last three months. But no. God is not that kind of god.
All I want is to do is grieve: grieve the fact that the meaning and joy of my life is gone.
I love you, Devil Dog. Now you can watch over Mawmaw 24/7. Wait for me. If Catholic heaven doesn’t allow dogs in it, wait for me by the gates of dog heaven instead.