Letters to You

Dear Suzie,

guess who came over today? Your favourite friend, Marion. Your departure affected him quite a lot too. He tells me over the phone how much he misses you especially when he watches videos of you two. He still can’t believe you’re really gone, neither can we. I didn’t want him to come over yesterday because we were still raw from the pain and the house wasn’t exactly the best place to be in. We didn’t want him to be affected to that extent. But I decided that maybe what he needed was to come over. He needed a place to pour out his grief and to people who would understand and relate – and who other than us?

Walking back home, he started to laugh because that’s how he deals with feeling weird about stuff. He felt weird not seeing you at the gate – everything we already went through. But I had enough strength to be there for him today. We took turns actually. We’ve all been taking turns. We watched videos of you together and we laughed at how adorable you were, or how funny you were. We laughed and smiled and then he’d tear up. The hardest part of today was remembering how you’d come in the room whenever Marion came over because you always wanted to be in his company. While we were watching Jessica Jones, we both recalled and imagined how you used to walk in to my room from the hallway. How we’d hear your footsteps and how you’d just walk in like it’s your usual business to do so. And then we started singing that stupid “bang bang bangity bang” song from How I Met Your Mother and we started to recall how if you’d heard that, you’d come pacing in to the room with your tail wagging and your eyes full of joy because you think we’re playing and you want to be part of that.

I remember how you used to sit between us and I’d tell you “hey, he’s my boyfriend you know?” and then I’d proceed to squeeze you. And as you got older, all you wanted to do was just be around. It didn’t matter anymore if you were sitting in between us, you just wanted to hear our voices while you drifted off to sleep.

I still miss you, Suzie. It’s been 2 days. The pain isn’t as raw but it’s still there. It’s more of an ache. I can smile and laugh more now but when I start talking about you to someone, even as I describe a happy occasion, I would start choking up again and then I’d have to cry. It comes and it goes. I miss you. I miss smelling you, and kissing you, and hugging you, and petting you.

Letters to You

Dear Suzie,

I keep having dreams of you. I miss you. I dreamt you were walking about in my room and I don’t know how you managed to climb over my window like a cat, but you did, and when you did you opened your legs in the way you’d ask for a belly rub. And I was trying to climb after you to get you back in but you growled at me in my dream. It’s quite funny because for a dog, you really do behave like a cat. I think the worse or best part about dreaming of you is remembering your mannerisms exactly as how it was. It’s what made you uniquely you. I close my eyes and I see how you used to smell our bags or grocery bags whenever we came home carrying one because you needed to investigate. Or how’d you back away (literally back away like a reverse parking) when you didn’t want to eat. Or how you’d you do that thing with your mouth as if you were always tasting something or your mouth was dry. The worse or best memory was how you’d nudge my room door open with your nose in the mornings and lay by my bedside til I got up. I don’t know if it’s the best or the worst to dream about your mannerisms because it helps me to remember and it’s wonderful but then I wake up and I know you’re no longer here. I don’t want to forget the way you were but I don’t want to keep being stuck in this pain. 

I got up from my sleep to go to the toilet and when I went back to sleep, I dreamt of you again. But it wasn’t a pleasant one. I dreamt of your last day. Tita and I were in the toilet with you giving you a quick shower and then I sat on your pee without knowing and had to throw my pajama pants into the washing machine. Then Chels and I were with you bringing you for a walk when you fainted on the gravel and the last thing I remember is us saying “oh no” and having that look on our faces that we needed to put you down. Though the events that happened were not entirely true, it was quite accurate in capturing the feelings that day.

I’m still so sorry that we had to put you to sleep. I know you didn’t want to suffer anymore and neither did we want to see you suffer but I can’t help but feel that you might have been a little disappointed in us to have made that decision for you. I’m sorry but I hope you understood why. 

Daddy texted the family chat and he mentioned you last night. He said he gets flashbacks of you and he misses you very much. We all do. Forgive me and all of us for trying our best to cope without you k? I don’t want to forget you because you were the bestest friend I ever had, and you were family. But holding on to this pain is so unhealthy for us. We try not to purposely look for you in the house. Like when we look at the chair beside the door, we no longer try to see “Suzie’s bed that used to be there”, instead we just see it as it is. There are other ways to keep you alive in our memories and we intend to do so but holding on to this pain and remembering you that way isn’t what you would have wanted anyway. I hope you don’t feel like we have forgotten you or that you’re slowly being erased – you’ll never be. You’ve left paw prints in all our hearts and we will always remember you. We’ll never stop loving you. 

Some days, it gets so unhealthy. I imagine how it’d be like if one day we open the door and you’re there. Like last night when I accompanied Tita to throw the rubbish at the dump last night, I saw Lola’s black shoes by the door and I thought it was you because that’s where you love to rest. Then I remembered you’re no longer around. Today we went to the market and we thought of you – both Tita and I. We would always buy minced beef every Saturday for your meals and now we don’t have to. Then we saw sweet potatoes and we remembered how you loved eating them.

I really wish your life didn’t have to be so short. Stupid heart murmur yeah Suzie? Poor thing, you suffered so much and yet you fought to stay with us as long as you could. We’re trying to get back to do our normal day routine today. I still miss you. I love you. Say hi to Jesus for me. Help me look out for Lady and Frisky. Tell them we said hi too. We await the day we’ll all be reunited again. 

Letters to You

Dear Suzie,

We’re on our way home and I can’t help but to think of you. The grief is overwhelming again. I’m thinking about how you won’t be there at the gate. I can’t erase your face from my memory. Sometimes I close my eyes and all I can see is you. I cannot help but wonder if you are talking to me still. If you’re telling me you’re alright and that you’re free. I miss you so much. I need to keep writing everytime I think of you. It’s how I deal with losing you. It was a nice day out. We managed to laugh and we smiled as we talked about you and in those moments, the grief isn’t so bad. But it’s moments like right now where the grief becomes overwhelming again. Look how you’ve impacted our lives. You left paw prints in our hearts. I cannot stop thinking about you. In the morning, I went into your room to lie by Tita’s side. We started to cry again. She told me how she heard the karang guni and she started to think of you. Everytime the karang guni horned, you’d growl before you bark even while you’re lying down. It’s so funny and so adorable too. But we didn’t hear that today. We started to miss you again. Not like the missing ever stopped. It’s been 1 day since you’re gone. I’m still quite scared to sleep at night. I fear sleeping on my own because I feel so empty and lonely without you. I fear waking up the next morning. But my body keeps wanting to rest, besides what good will it do me for me to stay awake and remember how you’re no longer around. We are trying our best to slowly cope with losing you. It’s gonna take some time. But I don’t want to forget you. I’m scared once the grief is over that we might think less of you. I don’t know what to feel. Immense sadness maybe. I need you to walk by my side again and to help us in our grief. Help us, Suzie. We love you.

Letters to You

Dear Suzie,

I’m looking at the Christmas tree and I am remembering how you liked walking around it, smelling the floor and being your usual nosy self. This will be the first Christmas without you but I know you’re still here in spirit. We’re on our way out to Gardens by the Bay. We feel like we needed to get out of the house for some time. Not that we don’t want to remember you, we just don’t want to feel the pain of missing you. Remember when I said that you can finally go anywhere with us? This will be your first trip with us. We’re going to see pretty lights. I hope you’ll like it. I love you. ❤️

Letters to You

Dear Suzie,

I miss you. I woke up and I wasn’t fooled – I knew you were gone. But I kept having dreams of you that you were still alive. I keep hearing the slightest sound and I imagine it’s you walking about in the house. I don’t know how to move on from this or how this pain will start to heal. I just know that I miss you and I wish I could just hold you again. I know you hate seeing us sad. You fought so bravely. I will try to be strong like how you were strong for us. But I miss you. You took a huge chunk of my heart the day you passed away. I don’t think it’s a void anyone or anything can fill. I have to keep writing because I just need to try and live life normally. I know you’re in doggy heaven. I’m happy for you but I miss you so much. I love you.

Forever loved

Maybe it’s too soon to write this but I needed to express how I feel. The thing is, I don’t know how to talk about it and I don’t know what exactly am I looking for. Comfort? Understanding? A numbing machine? I don’t even know why I’m writing this when most people grieve quietly. I just know I have a lot that I feel and I don’t know how else to let it all go.

So it begins.

On this very bittersweet day, I lost my bestest friend, Suzie Rodrigues, to death. We had 11 wonderful years with her. She was more than amazing. She was the best. The best companion. The best comforter. The best listener. The best friend. The best lover. The best. 3 years back, Suzie was diagnosed with heart murmur but the condition worsoned in October last year. Since then, it’s been a series of highs and lows – one minute we’re given hope that she could live long and the next minute, the situation seems bleak. Every single time it got worse, medication after medication will be given and they would work, but for awhile. Then a new problem would arise and another medication would be given, but again, for awhile. It went on like that for a year. Back then, we would never consider putting her to sleep – she was still full of life and all she ever wanted was our company. How could we be so selfish as to not give her that, just because it’d take more out of us to just see her through her illness. But today, things took a turn for the worst. She had just turned 11 two days back. But on her birthday week, she started coughing non-stop and the cough would keep her up all night. When she tried to get up, she would faint. Her vet prescribed her another medication – cough suppressants – in hope that this would help her to feel comfortable at least. It only worked for a night, even so, it only lasted every 4 hours.  The past few nights have been the toughest on our family. We could not sleep, and we had almost no motivation to get anything done during the day. Our mind would always wander to Suzie.

Today, we made that decision that she was suffering too much and the quality of her life was not exactly the happiest. She could no longer walk for long, she refused medication and food, even water. She would wet herself because she no longer had the energy to run to her toilet every now and then. We knew that this was it. We never wanted it to end this way. We kept praying she would go in her sleep. In fact, we prayed for a peaceful death. Euthanasia was always an option we would never even try to consider. But she was slowly rotting away. Medication was no longer just prolonging her life, it was prolonging her suffering. She didn’t deserve that.

This was the hardest goodbye I ever had to say.

I told myself I’ll be strong for her and I’d be courageous. We chose to be with her til the very end. We watched the euthanasia process. I kneeled before her and looked at her at eye level. I saw the life draining from her eyes. And as it happened,  I told her I will see her again. I intend to keep my promise. It was quick, it was fast and that was it. In just mere seconds, the dog we held for the last time went limb. That was our final goodbye.

I had all these grand plans of how Suzie’s last day would be. Call it morbid, call it whatever you want. In my heart, I wanted her to enjoy everything in life that we told her she couldn’t do due to reasons concerning her safety or whatever. I wanted her to enjoy the juiciest, greasiest, meat patty of all time. I wanted her to run wildly at Sembawang Park. I wanted her to eat Bacon bones again cause she loved eating that before we found out it was actually bad for her. To sleep on our beds. To go for car rides and enjoy the wind in her face. None of this happened. Suzie’s last day was the saddest last day. All she did was lay on the floor, weak and occasionally coughing and crying. She went on an empty stomach because she could not eat any food. When we tried giving her the skin of the pau because we felt there was no point restricting her diet anymore – she started choking on it. She had no water to drink because she couldn’t. And she peed all over herself. The only upside of it was that we managed to take her down for a short walk in the morning, just under the void deck, and for a quick shower after. She struggled to get up to greet anyone who came home, but she’d faint after.

She didn’t die in a dignified manner – at least not in the way I’m describing it to you. But she did in our hearts. In our eyes, she would always be the amazing Suzie. For a small dog her size, and barely any fats around her bones, she fought a brave fight. She fought for us and we knew that was her act of love. And in return, we let her go.

Coming home from the vet was a painful nightmare I wish I could wake up from. The thought of not seeing her at the gate, or how her bed near the doorway is now empty, all that was just painful to walk by, much less, to think about. All I could think of in my head was “Suzie’s gone”. I keep picturing her in heaven, looking down at us and attempting to lick our tears away. I miss that. She would always lick mine away and now, the day when I am crying the most, and need her the most, she can’t be around for. She thinks that we were such huge blessings in her life, little did she know she was the biggest blessing in ours.

I struggle with this question concerning euthanasia for Suzie – are we being selfish for putting her down because we cannot handle the pain of seeing her suffer or are we being selfish for not letting her go when she needs to? And today, I knew, this decision was necessary.

In my heart, I’m so relieved and happy to know that she is restored fully. No more suffering, no more pain. But the sadness is in missing her and being away from her. Did I ever think about losing a pet when we first got her? Yeah I did. But I told myself, I’d have many years of her, and we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. When I was 14, I somehow felt that I’d lose her when I turn 23. I was right. I wish I didn’t have to be. More than that, curse all the stupid illnesses, cancers, diseases that rob lives earlier than necessary.

I decided to keep her collar and her medical card and her death cert. I know it’s probably best not to hold on to these painful memories of her. But I don’t ever want to forget her. I can see as many photos or videos of her and smile and cry at the same time, to myself, but I’m missing her touch and her smell. Since I can’t feel her warm furry body anymore, I figured I’d at least remember her smell from the collar until that fades away. This is how I deal with my grief. It’s so stupid that I still kissed her dead body before we left the vet for good. Every part of me just wanted to take her and hold her for a long time. We were given time with her before the euthanasia to say our final goodbyes and to hold her but I will never feel that enough is enough when I do. I wish I could still hold her. I wish I could see her happy face one last time. I wish she could kiss me one last time. I miss her.

I looked into her eyes for one last time, and I knew she knew. She teared a little. I told her I love her and that was it.

I will never find another dog like that. She was more than a dog. She was my companion. She literally went through my growth into a young adult. She went through both heartbreaks and joyous moments with me. Tomorrow when I get up, I fear I’ll forget what just happened today and start looking down on the floor by my bedside just to see she isn’t there and remembering all over again that Suzie left us.

Wait for me at the rainbow bridge, Suzie. Go play with your friends there or with Jesus if you like. When I get there, I hope you come running to my arms again to greet me at heaven’s gates. I look forward to that joyful reunion with you. Til then, I’ll miss you. I’ll never stop loving you.