Friday, December 10, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 23): Breakfast, and a stupid phone camera that got misty...

Dear Marge,

I would like to tell you a little story about breakfast...

* * * * * * * *
I woke up knowing i just farted from the cold. Not sure if i smelled it, or i just felt i did, or i simply assumed i just farted because the cold weather has been making me fart a lot lately.

After reading the above, please look up “fart.”

Done? Great. Let’s keep going...

You and your mom were already awake, and i quickly offered to do what i’ve been doing for your mom for the past ten years. No, silly. Not THAT (whatever it is you’re thinking). I meant breakfast. As in pancakes and bacon. As expected, you pleaded to join me down to the kitchen. The photo above shows you trying your hand at stirring the batter.

Now these photos show you eating, while i finished up the stack, then followed by photos of us bringing it to mom.
numnumnum...

There. That was this morning. It’s a Saturday.

‘catch you later.

Love,

Dad


you giving mommy a hug after
serving her breakfast. The camera
on the phone fogged up. resulting
in this stupid blurry photo.


you offered me a bite.


parting shot


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 22): All About You

Greetings, Kiddo...

This is Happy the Poodle
As you may probably guess, you already talk by now. Not talk in the “Dad, there’s something i need to tell you about what happened at the prom...” talk (Lord, I hope NOT!!), but talk in the “blankie... me me me... watch Dora...” kind of talk (which is really quite adorable, while you’re still under three years old. Any further up, then we’re in trouble, kid.).

But i write this now to tell you about funky little tidbits at this point in your life that will fade with time (unless i can do something about it... something new and groundbreaking... like... err... uh... blog!?!?! Bwahahahahaha...). Anyways...

Here goes:

1. You used to describe something hot by saying “ca-ca.” Most likely stemming from the tagalog word “kakapaso,” i think. But you’ve grown past this one. Just like you’ve grown past pointing your index finger up instead of your thumb to express your approval.

It’s October, 2010, and you can now say “hot,” “very hot,” and even “warm.” Cool, huh?

2. Your mother tricks you into drinking any beverage she wants you to by prefixing everything with the word “Choco.” (e.g. white fresh milk is called “white choco milk,” and plain water (which is

good for you) is referred to as “choco water,” “Choco-medicine,” etc.).

The bad news is that it works. You’re being had, kiddo! So one day, if she says that she never lied to you, you can log back in here and show her this. Bwahahahahahahahahaha...!

3. You are now very good at naming things you see. Quite smart for your age, actually. But you always call pictures of little dogs “Happy.” Most likely naming them after our dog “Happy,” who is the smallest member of the bunch.

4. You love joining me in making popcorn, where i let you help me slice off a chunk of butter and throw it into the pot. The same way i let you help me beat the eggs when we make pancakes.

5. You love pink. Seriously. So if one day you grow to become some black-clad emo-goth who thinks the Care Bears must die, then remember that once in your life, you genuinely loved pink.

6. You love Dora. The photo at left is your favourite pair of shoes. Dora-edition Crocs. We are waiting until this pair gives you bunions, so you’ll finally give them up.

7. You also used to have this funny roll call where you point, then say: “YOU mommy”... point again, then say: “YOU daddy”...then finally point to yourself and say: “YOU Maaaaaarge...” By now though, you’ve learned the word “ME” and use it often. A little too often...
8. And as of October 3 of this year, your mother has effectively eliminated your dependence on your comfort blanket (a.k.a. “lampin,” “bwankie.”). Let’s see how long that lasts. Heh heh...

I’ll keep ‘em coming, kid. You just keep doing what you do.

‘catch you later.


Love,

Dad

Monday, June 21, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 21): Father's Day

Dear Marge,

Yesterday was supposedly Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to me. Yipee. You’re only a month over 2 years old, and still can’t greet me. But every time you reach for me and plead “carry...”, it feels even better than Father’s Day every time.

But hey, i’m not a father without you, of course. So if i get that cool “father’s club” greeting, it will be because of you. And best of all, you make being a father really fun, and totally great.

So i don’t care what kind of lame-ass marketing they threw around yesterday. Father’s Day was YOUR day, Marge-baby, because THIS father is YOUR father. You make being a dad cool.

By the way, you love positioning yourself at the edge of a bed, then telling me “jump!” which means that you’re asking me to catch you, and i do. Your mother hates it when we do that. She thinks you’ll hurt yourself with that stunt someday. (Just thought i’d say that...)

So, was Father’s Day exceptionally happy? Hell, no. Every day is happy, when you’re around.

‘catch you later, kid.

Love,

Dad

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 21, prologue): Busy busy busy... zipping to and fro...

Hey there, Marge...

Been a hectic few days, kid.
You, me and your mom drove back to Manila last 14th, then dad went to work in Maverick for a day on the 15th, then early on the 16th, the three of us flew to Hong Kong to work on what will become a bad back ache from the shopping and carrying you, along with foot blisters from all the walking.

Above injuries are almost exclusively belonging to this author. (More on the trip in the next blog entry, hopefully.) But yes, I happily blame YOU. Operative word: "HAPPILY."

We flew back to Manila yesterday (June 19th), then quickly drove up to Baguio to get ourselves ready for your uncle’s elaborate Super-duper Chino-Oriental engagement party, referred to in Chinese as the “ting-hoon.” (More on that in another post. Again, hopefully.)

And now we’re back and settled in Baguio for the remainder of the week, then dad has to drag you guys back to Manila for him to run a little house called Maverick. Hopefully sooner than later since dad is quite homesick, Maverick-wise.

But pardon me for rambling as i usually do... on to another post... the supposedly REAL post...

Travel Blog Entry Preview (but not the next post. am i confusing you? don't worry, i'm confusing myself): photo at right shows you waiting for your first Hong Kong meal.

‘catch you later.

Love,

Dad

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 20): Pizza and Parenting





Dear Marge,

Today is the very first time you prepared food. Your mom and i were there, but we weren’t totally there. We were busy stuffing ourselves with chilli crabs, homemade ice cream, medium rare steak, and more. A LOT more...

But you supposedly put together the little bite-sized pizza you and your nanny-of-the-day brought to the table.  You were proud of it, your mom and i were both amazed and said our “wows.”

We totally neglected to take photos of your first food foray. We were already half an hour out of the hotel when your mom exclaimed that we didn’t take photos, and even worse, didn’t even take a single bite.   We’re bad parents.  Photo on the upper right is sort of what your little pizza looked like.

The photo at left is obviously you. You were totally knocked out after all the fringe buffet food you downed at the Hyatt’s Market Cafe (photo below).  And yes, pointlessly, this is the first time you made food, and we didn’t even take a bite.

Sorry, baby. Won’t happen again. We’ll try everything you make next time, even if it means a week’s worth of diarhea.

Love you.

Dad

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 19): One Finger

Dearest Marge...

First things first… HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY! You turned 2 today!!!

On to this letter… Last election day (May 10, 2010), you almost lost your index finger. Your playfulness found you sticking your finger through the grills of an electric fan. Good thing all you got was a little cut.

The day marks the first time you cut yourself in an accident of your own doing. It is no exageration when i say that your mom and i were totally nervous. Relieved that you sustained a relatively minor injury, but nervous because it could have been so much worse. And you could have gone through the rest of your life sticking your left hand's middle finger at everybody.

As you go on through life, you will do various things that might result in you hurting yourself in various ways. Some physical, and mostly emotional. But the most important thing you should remember is that like your finger, wounds heal sooner or later. Nature has made it so.

Which isn't to say that you should not be careful. But it should tell you to have faith that no matter how bad things get, things can and will get better with time.

In time, you may or may not hear about a very dark time in our little family's life. And at more than one point, your mother and i were more than tempted to believe it was better to quit, not while we were ahead, but while we weren't as behind as we could be if screwed up any more than we already did. Or at least screwed up as much more as she feared i would.

On another note, that day should also tell you to not stick your finger where it doesn't belong. And as you get older, fingers will become a very tricky subject. But better take care of yours, just to be sure of things.

You be careful, sweetheart. You were blessed enough to have been born with an appendage and organ count considered normal by human standards. Doesn't sound like a big deal right now, but if events last Election Day turned just a wee bit differently, you'd look for that finger whenever you see a piano, think of picking your nose with your left hand, or want to give some idiot the "loser" sign if your right hand was busy holding a frappuccino.

Unless you grow up not liking frappuccinos.

I love you, baby.

Dad

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 18): S'Mother's Day...

My Dearest Margaret...

Today is your mother’s second “official” Mother’s Day. The first “unofficial” one was when she was pregnant with you. That was practically just a bit over a week from when you were born.

Soooo... as of today, you were still too young to greet her, or supposedly give her that “honor” of greeting her. But she totally feels the love, kiddo... so i greeted her for you, anyways... and yes, i’m still doing my best to kiss your mother’s ass (literally and figuratively...).

Your mom is a great, great gal... let me tell you a little something about her...

Growing up, your mom always knew what it was like to make a living. I have thrown in here a bonus handful of old photographs of your mom in various stages and ages of her young life. I have selected the least hilarious and embarrassing, by the way... but you can tell from the photos that even as a little girl, your mother was beautiful. Just like you.

At the time we were about to get married, she was maintaining a little clothing shop back in Angeles, Pampanga. She saw herself through an additional two years of school to get a full degree, and supported herself and her mom (your grandmother) from that shop.

Not too long after your mom and i got married, she sold the rights to that little old shop and moved to Manila with me. She proceeded to open a little food place near the University of Santo Tomas, where your dad sweet-talked his way to a degree in architecture a handful of years before. I have since used that degree to design the dresser in your bedroom, design some really cute baggage counters for your other grandmother’s store, and our units on Plumbing & Utilities has enabled me to perform immediate repairs on the water closets at home, as well as courageously change the lighting fixtures even while the switches are on.
When she was finally, thankfully pregnant, she gave up the food place, and poured all her time and love to that little angel gently kicking inside her belly. And yes, that little angel was you. It wasn’t easy for us to become parents. In fact, when i had all but given up, your mom didn’t. She really wanted us to have you. She didn’t care what on earth she was injecting herself with, what meds she had to take, or how much anaesthesia she had to sniff or get pricked which was followed by her saying a string of funny, crazy things to the doctor. She really wanted us to have you.

You are special to us, not only because you are our child. But also because we begged God for you for almost eight years. Especially your mom. You live right now, because of her more than anyone. Even more than me, i must admit.

Your mom has consistently found something productive to do since she wanted to remain relatively independent, even after she gave birth to you. She sold little foodstuffs to canteen operators in local schools and has made a nice living doing those. She has saved all that money up for you, kiddo. Remember this twelve years from now when you bug her for shopping money and she says she doesn’t have any. I grant you the right to cackle like a witch and keep asking her... bwahahahahaha...

On some days, you and your mom will find yourselves not agreeing on a few things, and you may resent her for keeping you from things you may think you may want or should have, or from things you may think you should be doing. Or, your personalities may find themselves totally clashing on a bad day. When any of those things happen, please click your way back to this page and read the above.

Whenever you read this, greet your mother a Happy Mother’s Day, and that can be any time of the year, and for any number of days you will want.

And should YOU already be a mother while you are reading this, Happy Mother’s Day to you, my dear daughter. I’m sure you’re doing as great a job on my grandchildren as your mom did on you.

Love,

Dad

P.S. so far, your teeth are great. And yes, you have your mother to thank for that. She has great teeth, too.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 17): Touching Base 050210

Dear Marge...

Now where was i...?

Been a while since i last wrote you one of these... By now, you’ve learned to say your name (or something close to it, anyways...). Although at this point, you still pronounce it as “Marsh.” You can now identify dozens of things correctly, and your current favourite word is “no.”
You are now a proponent of this wonderful family phenomenon called the “group hug,” as illustrated in the inserted photo.

Pretty soon, we’ll start having some real conversation where you will ask me things, then refuse to believe them unless you google it, or catch it on the Discovery channel. You’ve already gotten tired of M&M’s, still refuse to try using your potty trainer, but can now inform us of the presence of “pooh,” or excrement in your diapers.

Where you used to have this cute way of pointing a finger upwards to indicate your approval, you have devolved to the rather pedestrian thumbs-up, as shown in this photo where you enjoy a slice of pepper steak at Alfredo’s along Tomas Morato, one of your mom and dad’s favourite places.

You like to eat fish, and love sniffing flowers in the garden... (a.k.a. “fwowers...”)

You and mommy are napping at home, and my brains are melting from spending a no-brainer Sunday at the Harrison Road store... And this is where i end today’s e-time capsule... no lectures or anything today...

‘catch you later, baby...

Love,

Dad

P.S. on the way up here yesterday, we drove through a Jollibee, then proceeded to present you with a thigh of Chickenjoy... this was followed by a loud and gratifying "WOW..." from you upon seeing the food... cool...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

...a REAL Saturday.

A Saturday with no serious agenda is a real Saturday in my humble opinion.
So today is/was a real Saturday.

Wife asked me to wash the van before we head out to our “no agenda” day and i concurred. Only to be reminded while doing so, that being 5'5” is a total bitch... washed the vehicle’s roof on a step ladder and was abso-tively certain i was going to fall off and scratch the side of van... thank heavens for some serious rubber traction on the ladder’s legs.

* * * * * * * *

Drove to the Medical City for an important, but not urgent errand... had a late lunch with Marge and the wifey at Amici, Tomas Morato... brought Marge home... then crashed into a droll-looking Gruppo Barbero along Tomas Morato for some hand, foot, and ear pampering... then he-who-is-known-by-his-adoring-public-as-Michael-V comes in with his son for haircuts. Serious-looking and sounding dude... considering he’s practically one of the funniest guys filling up the TV screens. At least after the political campaigning is over... right now, nothing’s funnier than the preposterousness of many of the campaign ads running on TV. So yeah... for now, Michael V isn’t the funniest guy on TV. I give that to Manny Villar... everyone else is a close second.

* * * * * * * *
Went to Robinson’s Supermarket in that new condo building along Timog before heading home. Had to grab a few little things to round dinner up.

Was approached by one of those Nestle promo girls for their “let’s check your health and wellness” campaign. She offered the wife and i a “free assessment” on supposed things like height vs. Weight ratio and all that... told her, i already knew i was short and fat.

Then added that at least i know there are shorter and fatter people running around on the planet. So yeah... i’m fine with my “wellness.”

And while i have had my share of bad copywriting throughout my supposed ad-man career, some things are so bad they’re good... anyone for seafood? Try dropping by Robinson’s Supermarkets’ “Lenten FISH-tival.” Bwahahahahahaha...!

* * * * * * * *

My favourite masseuse desperately keeps trying to squash my “bayabas-sized” lipoma on my lower back around forty five minutes after a home-cooked dinner of munggo and galunggong... and now i’m blogging...

Now THIS is a real Saturday.

‘catch you later...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Letters to Marge: (Chapter 16) Breakfast and Holding On...


Dear Margaret...

Three days ago, we were in our Baguio house, and I woke up at around 7:15am. A bit earlier than usual, so i headed down to the kitchen to make breakfast for your mom.

Lo and behold... look who i found just freshly up from bed? Yep... it was you, kiddo...

So i promptly took you from your nanny, and proceeded to bring you downstairs for a steaming mug of Milo on that fine, cool and misty Thursday morning. You and i shared a single mug, alternately sipping. And before i proceeded to put your mom’s omelette together, we took a short stroll in the garden that slightly sparkled with morning dew drops on the leaves of the bushes and flowers.

When your mom came down to eat, i propped you up on my lap, and you ate with us a simple omelette of spicy spam, onions and tomatoes.

Before i left for work, you puckered up for a kiss, then waved me goodbye.

It is among the most beautiful memories i have of us... thank you for being such a wonderful child.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

As i write this, your mom and i have been having a pretty rough six months. And i don’t mean sandpaper rough, kid... we’re talking roller coaster running through the Grand Canyon without railway rough.

Your mom and i are still very much in love. But sometimes there are mistakes that cut really deep, and take a lot of time to heal. It’s difficult, and many in our shoes just throw in the towel and give up. But your mom and i aren’t like that. We’re both stubborn fighters, just like you’re going to be.

I’m praying that one day your mom and i are going to be able to look back at all this, and maybe not laugh (since this really is no laughing matter), but breathe a sigh of relief that we survived it. We’ll look at you and your beautiful almond eyes then, we’ll all smile together, and life will go on the way life is supposed to.

So far, we’re pulling through relatively well enough, and a lot of that has to do with you. Through the haze of vodka, and misty evenings clouded by tears of pain, regret, and flickering hope, you come through like the angel we’ve always called you to be.

For now, thank you so much, my daughter. I will make it up to you and mom...

When you’re old enough, ask me about this. I promise i’ll tell you EVERYTHING.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

When i was asked to say a few words at the wedding of Mike and Zeth, i said that “...married life is like a roller coaster... and that the most important thing in a marriage is to keep holding on, no matter what...”

But that’s not just something for marriage, kiddo. In life, when you love someone or something so much, hold on. Do everything you can to hold on. When your head tells you to let go, but your heart doesn’t, don’t. But when your heart really has tired and asks you to let go, then by all means, let go and move on.

My heart is telling me to hold on, and best of all, there’s a little voice from a little almond-eyed girl, who keeps smiling and laughing, that keeps cheering me on.

Thanks again, kiddo.

‘catch you later...

Love,

Dad

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 15): Another Reason Why We Love You and Why Children Are Beautiful

Dearest Margaret...

It has been a very interesting past few weeks for us as your parents... you’ve shown us that you love music... you pound on your grandmother’s old piano that i coerced her into transferring to our Baguio house, and in Manila you pound on the Casio keyboard i brought back from the office... and to top it all off, you actually sit as an attentive audience when i play sax...

Just a couple of days ago, we just heard you count up to four! And you finally learned how to give us the “thumbs up” sign... All that and more, kiddo... all that and more...

So many firsts that your mom and i have lost count... we’ve stopped counting because we’re too busy watching you smile, listening to your giggles or shrieks of joy and running after you while you play in the garden...

* * * * * * * *

These past few weeks, there were massive earthquakes that literally rocked the world. One in Haiti, one in Chile, one in Taiwan, and many smaller ones that... well... those small ones didn’t exactly rock the world, but...
So what i’m getting at is that it’s a tired, old planet... and many people are like your mom and dad... we’ve “been there, done that” and all... and then YOU came along...

And the world through your eyes and smiles, was beautiful again... we suddenly find new reasons to go to old places, something new to talk about with old faces, and for every time we scowl at a vehicle belching smoke on the road, we see you smilingly pointing upwards and saying “sky.”

For every bad thing we see or remember, seeing you smile or giggle at something new to you, or something good reminds me just how wonderful the world still is and can be.

* * * * * * * *

Young parents always say: “ang bata nakakawala ng pagod...” which means that “...kids can take away your weariness,” and it’s one of the truest things in this world. That’s what you do for us, kiddo... without having to do anything at all.

‘catch you later.

Love,

Dad

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Letters to Marge (Chapter 14): Life is Too Short... 3 Weddings and 2 Funerals...

Dearest Marge...

Pretty soon, you won’t be a baby anymore... pretty soon, writing these letters will seem redundant, because i’m looking forward to the days when we can finally talk with words that comprise more than three letters (e.g. sky... fly... bye...). I’m excited about the prospect of telling you stories and knowing that you will understand all the crazy details... Hopefully, you and i will become friends before we start moving on to 4-letter words...
"...As you go on through life, gather roses while you walk..."

In the four weeks between December 22, 2009 and January 20, 2010, we attended, yep, you guessed it... three weddings and a couple of funerals.

We caught three couples grabbing the moment, with your dad having the honor of playing a big role in three weddings, you in one of them, as well as attending the wake of someone in the family i barely knew... I was principal sponsor for the weddings of the former Cecile Gamoso, and Mike Lorenzo to Zeth Maceda. I was a groomsman and you were a beautiful flower girl in the wedding of Vergil dela Cruz. All of the above people worked with your dad, and we have remained very good friends.
Last January 1, my cousin’s husband had a freak accident by having a loose-flying piece of firework cannonball through his left temple. He had supposedly spent the past two or so years in some Middle Eastern country for work, and had been back in Baguio City for barely two days before the thing happened. He most likely had so many more stories to tell, and they most likely had so much more love to share.
And last January 20, little Jennifer bade our family goodbye…

I’ll keep this short and sweet, baby girl… Life is too short, but it’s never too short that you can’t make your mark in other people’s lives the way I was blessed enough with opportunity to have done.

As you go on through life, gather roses while you walk and remember where the thorns are, so you will know where to step or to avoid when next you have to take those paths again. The lessons in life are wide and plenty. But to learn them, you must keep not only your eyes, but also your heart open. It may not have eyes, but your heart makes more of the memories you keep looking back to in your head than your eyes. Don’t be hesitant to share what you have learned with others the way that I did. Despite whatever material blessings may come your way, the most precious things you can share without giving away your heart, and the things that people will always remember you for are what you have learned that you have shared.

If you’re lucky enough to have helped make them laugh with you, they will remember that, too.

Don’t be afraid to love, because loving is the single purest good thing in this world. But do remember that someone who loves, has to open her heart. And sometimes when it’s left open, bad things go in there and hurt you. But the good news is that no matter how broken your heart can get, it will heal. Maybe not tomorrow, or next week, but it will. I promise you.

And unless survival requires it, don’t stay too far away for too long from the ones you love. You will never know if a crazy piece of firecracker rocket will decide a part of your head is its new landing pad.

Before the people at Hallmark think I can resurrect the cornball greeting card business, I am ending this post here, and leaving you with a link to a song that makes me think of you whenever I hear it. Listen closely, because this song has many things I hope you can live by. It’s Ronan Keating’s version of Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.”

‘catch you later. Love,

Dad.


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

P.S. wrote this post/letter last week, but posted it much later so people won't say i don't have anything better to do with my time...

Anyways... turns out that today is... Chinese New Year... and Valentine's Day... it also happens to be a Sunday.  You, mom and me went for a little snack at a nice place called Cafe by the Ruins up in Baguio City.  We chose to take a nice slow walk through the park on the way back to the store.  The photo here shows you refusing to let go of my hand, while you desperately try to follow a bunch of other children running around the grass with cheap toys like inflated balls decorated with lead-laced paint, rather ingenious little planes made with plastic and paper that flap its wings like a bird...and what nots...

Just something you might want to try and look back to.. Let's see if remember any of this... since you're only almost a year and nine months old... and they say that memory retention really starts at three years old... let me know...

love,

dad...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eulogy for Jennifer: Goodbye to a Baby...

Everybody thinks their dog is special from the rest of the canine world.

And the thing is, they’re all correct.

And just like every well-loved dog, Jennifer was special to us from the rest of them. In fact, canine or what, Malou and i never really considered Jennifer and the rest of her cohorts as pets. But yes, clich├ęd as it may sound, they were our children.

She was born last September of 2001. The last child of their line, before Malou and i decided that it was time to neuter the males to stop them from turning our little home (a.k.a. 39 sq.m. apartment) into a veritable farm. A huge batch of poisonous Pedigree dog food later, the tragic passing of Soda, Joey, JM, Marge (yes, there was Marge the poodle, before Marge the baby), and Joni, it was now Jennifer’s turn to throw in the towel... with only their 12-year old father, Stolich to survive them...
"...That space in our hearts we saved for Margaret, [Jennifer] tried to fill in every way that she could..."
Jennifer was extra special to me, because she was the only one who was born after Malou and I were married. Thus, she was the one i came home to from the moment she saw the light of day, to that one wistful moment when i can only wish i can imagine her smiling at us one last time, thanking us for the love, and the life she lived with us. We referred to her as “Baby Jennifer,” because while all of them were our children, of them all she was our baby.

In those drifty years between declaring that our honeymoon was over, and the happy-weepy day that brought us Margaret, Jennifer was unabashedly the star among our 4-legged children. She knew it, acted it, and demanded of us and our time the way she knew she had a right to. A baby in practically every sense of the word. That space in our hearts we saved for Margaret, she tried to fill in every way that she could. We knew it, felt it, and somehow she knew that we knew.

* * * * * * *

One day, I had a lump in my throat since i woke up... The smell of Jennifer's breath and discharge, which were indicative of what truly bad shape what was left of her kidneys were in, were smelling sharper than ever... She had suddenly already started vomiting, and refused to eat... I knew it wasn't going to be much longer...

Malou and Marge brought Jennifer and the others to the Makati Dog & Cat Hospital hoping that grooming and some dental work might take some pain off her and get her eating again. But her body's breakdown was already accelerating at a pace we never saw before. When we went to visit Jennifer on the morning of Vergil's wedding, she had already pee-ed on herself, and her weakened jaw totally gave during tooth extraction.

She was in bad shape. A mere shadow of her once-beautiful and zest-filled self. And she made no qualms about showing us her discomfort. She didn’t even bother acknowledging our presence.

Seeing her broke Malou’s and my heart so bad...

And we made one of the most painful decisions we ever made together and gave Jennifer the gift of taking away her pain, ending her suffering, and setting her free while the memories of her beautiful life were still fresh enough to be among her final thoughts.

"...A decision like the one we just made for
someone we hold so dear is usually filled with
maybes..."

I did notice that when Dr. Binogon came in with the blue syringe, Jennifer held her head high in that proud, beautiful way she always did in her prime. As though wanting to walk into the coming darkness with her soul as proud and beautiful as it had been in life on the earth that we know.

Then she peacefully set her head down and closed her eyes one final time.

The day was January 20, 2010.

* * * * * * *

The thing about moments like these is that one is almost always left to imagine whatever it is the dog is feeling and/or thinking. We like to imagine that maybe they’re quietly saying goodbye. We choose to not consider thinking that maybe they were wordlessly begging for one last chance to see the sun and breathe the air. But there does come that time when we guess in our hearts that maybe there are ways they wouldn’t choose to live. A decision like the one we just made for someone we hold so dear is usually filled with maybes.

But we know we did the kindest thing she would have wanted. And there will never be a “maybe” for how much we will always love her.

Not too long ago, when one of Jennifer’s older siblings passed away also from complications of renal failure, i asked Malou through misty eyes futilely, pointlessly, heartbrokenly, almost stupidly... why they (our four-legged children) always went before we did...

And in her matter-of-fact way of wisdom, she replied: “...because if we went before they did, then no one would take care of them.”

Strangely undeniable and oddly comforting. Malou always had a knack for things like that. Still hurts though... and Jennifer will always be a testament to how someone so small could leave a void so big.

‘catch you later...