Mawmaw’s Goodbye, 17 Days Later

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.

I don’t get His logic.

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.

But I refuse to go there.  I refuse to reduce Inoo to a set of faith or life lessons.

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.

What Makes a Keeper

Keeper (Urban Dictionary)

  • Someone who would make better marriage material than baby momma material.
  • Someone who you’d likely spend the rest of your life with if you found him or her.

What makes a keeper?

I don’t know and I don’t care.

Drink beer or drink champagne.  Choose bonfire over candlelight.  Don pants or a frilly dress.  Be one of the boys or be a lady.  Wear makeup or don’t.  Cook or bake or don’t.  Laugh out loud or be prim and proper.  Straddle his motorcycle or ride like a Disney damsel.  Sit on the passenger or drive.  Or walk.  Reply at once or take your time.  Call or don’t.  Be skinny, be athletic, be fab.  Choose a traditionally female job or a traditionally male job.  Or don’t have a job.  Do your hair however you choose.  Be loud or be quiet.  Pay for your meals if you wish.  Stay the night or don’t.  Like kids or don’t.  Be a princess or a cowgirl.

Remember, you are not defined by whether or not he thinks you’re a keeper.  You are in charge of your womanhood.

After all, getting a guy to marry you isn’t the purpose of your life.

Happy women’s month.

Adam vs Love

Truth is, I returned to the Catholic Church burdened with an issue: how do I reconcile my eternal gratitude for Eve for giving humanity free will and the collective ingratitude for the same woman for the same reason by the same institution I was about to re-enter?

Like my hero Prometheus who gave us fire, Eve hasn’t stopped getting punished by the world that exists because of her.  I haven’t stopped asking why.  With the same words I asked of L five years ago on the first of our handful of endings, would you rather worship because you don’t know anything else, or worship because you chose to?  If I were God, I’d be more pleased with someone who made the conscious decision to love me – despite and because of – than a man who loved me by default.  I was churchless five years ago, but I believed in an intelligent God.  And my intelligent God – an architect, an engineer, a biologist, a zoologist, a doctor, a teacher, an author, and everything else rolled into one – would never wish His people to remain ignorant. If we were born in Paradise, what then do we have to strive for?

Yet, men continue to punish Eve for their very existence; even for the fact because of her frailty they have a chance to choose God with their own free will.  This isn’t confined to the Catholic Church, however.  L was a Protestant.

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L blamed me.  For him, I was sent by the devil as a test that he failed.  “The spirit is indeed willing,” he recited, “but the flesh is weak.”  He was going to be a pastor.  I protested, “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heavens.  I believe this, right now, belongs to us.”  He looked at me disdainfully, as if he wanted to keep the Bible to himself, as if a girl who reveres the Mother has no right to know about the Word.

He blamed me when I just sat there and he helped himself.  He questioned why his test had to be a love without conditions, without judgments, without limits, without questions, without the desire to bind him.

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I loved him like a tree loves a bird.  I would look up at him, adore his beauty, and quietly remember the affection he once gave.  I loved him but I would not ask him to stay or to return.  That is not love.  That is need.  Need is insecurity.  A tree does not need a bird to become a tree.

Father Peter said love is a commitment but I disagree.

Love is not a commitment.  The best kind of love is the love you cannot keep, and the best way to love is to love with your all, despite and because you know he belongs to a destiny with which there is no sense to compete.  Love him by protecting him, not from the violent weathers or stronger predators, but from yourself.  Protect him from your ego, fears, and selfishness.

Love him now and let him fly.  If he is meant for the clouds, be happy that he is there because you let go.  That is your love up there.  If it is God’s will, he might be back.  But do not worry your heart or waste your youth over what might.  Let the earth nourish you, welcome others into the safety of your leaves and branches, look up to sky, and try to reach as high as you can.  Then if God permits your head will touch the clouds.  Then you will understand why the clouds mean everything.

Do not think that you have lost love. You have lost a person but love, once you feel it, will always be yours.

Let go.  Of him and of yourself.

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If love is scary, freedom is worse.  Truth is, of the tree and the bird, the bird has more to lose.  He doesn’t know where to go, or if he really should go.  He doesn’t know where he’s heading or if he can still go back once he realizes his place isn’t up there.

Freedom means confusion.  If your wings are for flight and you do not fly, do you disrespect your Creator?  Or can’t you make yourself useful down here, carve your own destiny?

Surely, you can.  This is why you are free.  This is why Eve paid the price for something she did not intend to do: to give you and me the power to decide for ourselves.

Faced with this free will, it is easier to blame Eve for the uncertainty of the future and the possibility of failure.  If she didn’t eat the fruit, life would have been uncomplicated.  I would know exactly my role and I would do it – no more thinking, no more confusion, no more feeling and inflicting pain because I do not have to make decisions.  But Eve had bitten of the fruit and shared this with her husband.  Freedom is here.  Blaming Eve after thousands of years makes no sense.  And what satisfaction would you feel doing the right thing when you do not know that it is right?

You, as the receiver of that gift (or curse, if that’s how you intend to see it) has to decide for yourself.  If you go, you might realize you aren’t strong enough to make it to your destination.  A hawk may snatch you on the way.  You could be shot by a human.  You could realize the flock had always been in the wrong direction.  Or you could reach the clouds and find what you’re looking for.  Similarly, if you stay, you could get hunted down.  You could secretly envy the flying and be bitter until you die.  Through the years you could turn into a flightless bird like a chicken, a quail, or a peacock.  Or you could discover something you can do down here nobody before you has ever considered, carve your own niche, and be happy.  Only God knows.

Freedom is both a gift and a punishment.  How you use it is up to you.

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I could’ve loved L without asking for anything in return.  I could’ve loved him from afar, in the silence of my heart.  But he came to me.  He took the love.  He gave what I didn’t ask for.  And when he got scathed, he blamed me.  He said I was from the devil.  He said I was a test to his strength.  But Timothy said I was not.  Timothy said L was weak because he just was.

And there’s nothing wrong if you are weak.  Man up and don’t blame anyone for it.