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  • Writer's pictureKitt Villasis-Corbin

A Letter to Coco

My dearest Coco, my sweetie pie, It’s been a long 24 hours….. I’m sitting in my office holding you tight. In an urn. It’s so surreal. Eleven years of our life just passed us by. I am overwhelmed with emotions as I look back at the life you and I had together. From living in our townhouse in Cavite. To our posh apartment in Manhattan Square to St. Louis. You were my baby, my companion, my best friend. You were there during my saddest days and happiest moments. I remember meeting you for the very first time. A half a pound bundle of joy, full of energy with your tongue sticking out. I'd sneak you in my building at work in Makati. You would be in my special bag and no one even knew you were there because you were so quiet. For a chihuahua, you were not a barker and a lot of people were amazed. No one even believed you could say "Mom" until I showed them your video. New Years eve 2010

If you have known me longer than 10 years and have followed my blogs early on, you'd know that Coco has been an integral part of my life. She was practically on every photo and every blog. No matter what life threw at me, you were there. Every morning waiting for me to wake up. And at night keeping me company even though it’s already wee hours of the morning if I couldn’t sleep. Thank you for the endless unconditional love. I wish I had more time with you. More time to show that I truly truly appreciate the eleven wonderful years you have shared your life with me. Yesterday was probably one of the most difficult days I have ever experienced in my life. Last year was your pyometra surgery, and then a few months ago, we learned you had diabetes. A shot of insulin after every meal, controlled diet and limited activities.

Lately I needed to take you with me and cuddle you just like you were when you were a baby. Your most expressive face always seem to tell me, it’s going to be okay Mama. Even after a seizure, you lay your head and bark a little just to tell me it’s going to be fine. Even in your last moments, you give me a sense of assurance. I’ll never forget my sweetie pie. I was hoping that it will just be another run to the hospital and then Papa will take you home again after a few hours. But the two hours became three, then five and then that dreaded call at 2am. Papa and I rushed to the hospital as soon as the doctor told us there were other complications.

As I walked towards your incubator, I could see your legs shaking involuntarily. I know you hate being seen that way as much as you didn’t want people seeing you without a dress. The doctor led us to another room and showed us your x-rays. Fluid in the lungs, fragments of bone in your stomach area and a whole bunch of things going on. Quality of life if indeed we undergo any other surgery or procedure is almost nil. Especially not with your 4lb. frail body.

They gave us a moment and brought you out to the visiting area. I cried so loud I don’t even care anymore…. You were surprisingly calm wrapped in a crocheted blanket. You weren’t twitching. I knew you couldn’t see anymore but gathered enough energy to follow my voice. I hugged you more and you began to bark as if talking to us continuously as if again, telling me, Mama, it will be fine. The barking/ talking surely made you tired. But you still laid your head on my chest after you looked for Papa’s voice and talked to him. I was inconsolable….. I told Papa it’s time and I’m ready. Because I saw you were. But I wasn’t. It would be so selfish of me to continue to keep you while you are suffering.

The doctor came and asked me if I wanted to hold you while he administered three different injections. He took your left arm and you just looked at me…. It will be fine I said. He gave the second and the third. You were still…. He put his stethoscope on your heart and he said, she is gone…. My world shattered and I wanted to scream… Did I do the right thing? She still seemed okay. Maybe there’s modern medicine, maybe we could have bought more time, maybe a second, third or fourth opinion, maybe I’m just having a nightmare, maybe…. Maybe….

I kissed your lifeless body and put you close to my heart. Even as you pass away you were still a little lady. I can’t let go right away; I am so sorry…. I’m the only mother you knew. And I hope that in all of my humanly shortcomings in life that you have been a part of or witnessed, know that I have loved you with all my heart and always will. I can’t say goodbye to you yet my coco banana. Your beds all over the house and in my office will still be there for a while. Just a little more time until I am ready to let go. Love always, Mama

Our Many thanks - To Associated Veterinary Specialists for the care you have given to Coco the past year until her last. You were all professional, mindful and empathetic. - To Loving Hearts Pet Memorial Services for accommodating and understanding last minute arrangements, the private ceremony and the beautiful urn and paw print on clay. We will forever treasure. - To John and Kim Carpio - for taking care of her like your own while I was away on trip when we still lived in Manila. You were her second family and she missed you when we moved to the US. - To my cousin Ate Rose, for understanding my pain and for giving me comfort. - To Maureen Kennedy and your fur baby Drake for always showing love to Coco and giving her flowers during her first surgery. I'm glad you finally met during her last few days. - To Andy who has been my Personal Assistant the last 8 years. thank you for always being there. You were there during her last moments and I am sure Coco was more than grateful to have you in her life. - And most of all to my husband, you have been the best Dad to Coco. I couldn't have had a better partner in life who would show her the love, care and attention you have given her. I love you more.

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