Charlie Jr or CJ is the son of our first dog, Charlie. He was born with a sister but it was dead when her mom gave birth to her. That's why CJ was so special with us, he was the only pup that survived. Even when he was little, CJ was really sweet and unlike his dad, he is not queasy whenever you want to hug him. He was a good dog, one that we could rely to guard our house. People are afraid to venture into our yard because of CJ (and his dad). One memorable trait of CJ was that he has a way of letting you know if he wants to go out, is hungry or thirsty. He would whine and bark to get your attention and when you ask if what he wanted to do (like, "CJ, do you want to go out?"), he'd respond by yelping and barking. It's as if he could understand what you were saying and he was somehow trying to answer back. He was very loyal to me and would always stick close to me whenever I am home. When there were times that I'm really down, I'd take him with me and we'd sit together in our front patio. CJ and I would just sit there on the steps - I'd be quietly thinking (sometimes crying) and he'd just be still, sitting close to me. Always ready to lend a hug. Like a friend who never needed to say anything but just lets you know, he's there. I remember telling him, "Wag mo ko iiwan ha." and he'd just look at me or would sometimes snort and go look around the yard. It was as if he was telling me that he couldn't promise that or maybe it was too much for me to ask...
The next morning, CJ didn't show any progress. I already got in touch with the vet but he wouldn't be able to visit CJ until in the afternoon. I kept checking on CJ and seeing how he was, I couldn't help crying. I saw how he was suffering and at one point, I told him, "Sige na, CJ. Kung hindi mo na kaya, sige na." In my heart, I don't want him to go but I just couldn't let him continue to suffer. I took out an electric fan and had it run near him (he always wanted to sleep with the air blasting to him). I went out to attend to the store and after a few minutes, my mom came out and told me, "Wala na si CJ." It was as if he just waited for that last loving gesture to reassure him before he went.
I ran back to the house and saw his still body. I just broke down and cried. I still couldn't believe it and wanted him to still be alive so bad that I kept checking his pulse and if he was still breathing. But he was gone. I don't know how long I cried or how long I've stayed beside CJ, stroking him and holding his paw as if he just asleep. When I finally stopped crying, my mom asked me to eat lunch and I couldn't remember what and how much I ate. I just remembered filling my plate wih food and when I loooked down again, I'm done eating. And then I just sat there with the empty plate in my hand and just thought about CJ. Tears welled my eyes a few times but didn't fall down. It's as if my tear valve had shut off and I thought I'm done mourning for CJ. Meanwhile, my mom also wept because CJ had been her companion and sleeping buddy. My older brother cried when he got home and was told of the news. That was how much CJ was loved by each one of us.
Wedding preparations and work kept me busy the next few days and my mind strayed to CJ but it never lingered. I really thought I had grieved enough but I guess I haven't..
Last Wednesday, as I was heading home, I was suddenly struck by the thought that there won't be a CJ anymore who'll be jumping up and down the couch when I get home. No more CJ who'd prefer to sit by me whenever we're watching TV. No more CJ who'd want to cuddle by my side whenever he's afraid of thunder and of firecrackers. And just like that, I suddenly missed CJ. The pain of seeing him hurt, the loss we all felt all came back to me. The longing struck me so hard that I had a hard time holding back my tears during my walk home. When I got to my room, I just let it all go. I was sobbing so hard that Myke couldn't understand what I was saying when I called him up. I guess I didn't know the extent of the pain until I had the time to fully come to terms that CJ, our beloved CJ is gone.
It has been a week since that sad day. I couldn't say that I could now move on. I still miss CJ. It would probably take a little more time before I could talk about CJ without tears threatening to fall down my eyes. My mom has been scolding me on again becoming too attached to Cookie, CJ's son. She said we should probably avoid that because the pain of losing them is a bit too much. I couldn't promise that to my mom because I know when that inevitable time comes, we would still feel pain and grieve all over again. It is a part of this cycle we call life.
We will miss you.