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.

Inoo’s 7th Gotcha Day

Not that I would ever wish Inoo was human for I love him as he is, but if he is, yesterday would have been his 7th adoption birthday. In dog years, it’s his 50th. He’s chasing his grandparents’ age – Papa is 59 and Mama is 55 – but age doesn’t matter: he will always be my son and I, his mawmaw (mama + aw-aw in our love language). Having said that…

Happy Gotcha Day, my baby! Look at him, he’s laughing! ❤

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So… why the late greeting and no feast? Because I thought the date he came to my life and made me his happy human is August 23. Plus, we’ve always celebrated his birthday every June 22 – the birthday of his fanfiction father, Inoo Kei. Only yesterday did I find out the truth, after rediscovering this post from my fangirling days. What kind of a mother am I?!

I originally planned to bake him Chloe Coscarelli‘s pupcakes from her cookbook Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, but since it was already on such short notice, I grabbed a whole lechon manok on the way home which he shared with his frenemies – our four other dogs – and they were very, very satisfied.

My cousin handed him to me seven years ago (August 22, 2009) and I fell in love. I’ve never stopped falling since. I’ll never ever trade this day for anything.

Love, here’s mawmaw’s gotcha day message for God’s greatest gift:

On the day God gave you to me, I had no idea that you will change my life. But you showed me that despite the instability of my emotions I’m capable of a love so selfless and unconditional. You made me realize that all creatures are beings, that everyone has a soul – human or not. You gave me the experience of being a parent and taught me that I don’t have to give birth to be a mother. We’ve gone through a lot and we’ll be strong until the end of time.

Like me, you are crazy. You destroy our house. You need constant attention. You don’t want to be alone. You abhor taking baths. I love you, nonetheless. Even if it means they get angry at me for letting you pee all over our house. Even if it means you eat inside the house all the time so I could keep you safe. Even if it means I have to replace the curtains you tear apart. All of that, all of the sacrifices are nothing compared to the joy and color and life you give to me.

You are now a senior, my love. As much as it tears my heart knowing our years, months, weeks, days, minutes and seconds are running out, I thank God for bringing you to take care of me and make me as human as a human possibly can. The Church finds it impossible that there are dogs in heaven but let’s not lose faith: only God can decide on that. And maybe if I pray hard enough so we can be together always, maybe He will open the gates of heaven for everyone – humans and non-humans alike.

You are now 50 in human years. If you were human, you’d be like my father and I your daughter. But you will always be my baby, that one my heart gave birth to, my son. And I am your human, now and forever.

I will take care of you. Happy, happy gotcha day, love.