Acas, how are you? Papa hasn’t seen you for a hundred days already. It feels like forever that you’d been gone…
A home left so uncomfortably silent, especially during times of heartache. It almost aches the heart more when that sunshine-square by the window has all at once been left empty, and the pleasing barking and growling suddenly stills; home with the sounds of you; padding across the kitchen tiles, nails clicking underneath, softly growling in your sleep (sometimes annoyingly loud) while dreaming – your presence is so benevolent and familiar.
I once had a buddy with fur, Acas, whom I regard as my boy, my son, to absorb my tears, and who wants nothing more than to comfort me during my time of need. Who will listen, and who never offers unwise or unwarranted advice when I specifically don’t request it. Who is content to simply bask in my presence, because I am me, and that’s all that matters, with unconditional love and loyalty, and nothing more is expected.
There is an empty space left where Acas used to be. I no longer feel or hear him moving through my world. He is just gone. It is a lonely place! The grief is still intense, raw and overwhelming! Before, I don’t know how I going to respond to a loss until it happens… I don’t choose my feeling. I wish there is instant, easy panacea.
Losing Acas is never never never gonna be easy for me. I live, I go through the motions, I hold on to life, I even smile… not because I want to but for my loved ones. Acas, Papa feels really exhausted because you’re not here… When you were alive, I just liked to be near you. Your mere presence put me at ease.
Ever since, I’ve been feeling all sorts of emotions. I find myself sleeping until the last possible second before dragging myself out of bed. Before, you’ll bark at the door handler every morning as your way of better approach to waking me up. Sometimes, you seen to have an uncanny knack for anticipating the alarm by 10 or 15 minutes. I didn’t tell you, Acas, I don’t mind that!
Acas, Papa just don’t have the energy to get things done the way I once did; losing interest in activities that I once enjoyed. Forgotten the taste of my favorite New York cheesecake. I haven’t been on a walk for a long time. You used to warn me against coffin nails because the smoke irritates your nose. You would start sneezing like mad anytime I light up. It was your way of communicating that it’s harmful to me. But now, I would gladly pick up a pack from the convenience store in our estate.
Though we’ve got a new sofa, your favorite nap time sofa with a few thorns fabric was still here. No matter how unsightly it looked, it doesn’t bother me, at all! You slept so soundly on it when I went office, that shows how contented you were with all things you’ve got. You’re being left alone for more than eight hours, most days of the week, you never once complaint, and obediently waited for my return. I owe you BIG time! I had since rearranged the plants at our balcony as I picked up more ‘abandoned’ plants from the street. Your favorite spots for “wee wee” have gotten smaller, I hope you don’t mind. I was reluctant to go our pet grooming salon because I fear to see other dogs. You are the reason I setup Furkids Home; to provide trusted and loving pet grooming services. I recalled how traumatised you were when you were groomed by some pet shops when you were young.
Acas, do you know brother Wayne had your face tattooed on his calf? Trust me, that size of tattoo with such elaborate details of your face is painful and it took time to complete. Now you know how much brother Wayne loves you. He wasn’t good in expressing his love. When brother Wayne was in dilemma for his new job, I suggested him to pick up a skill, i.e, a pet grooming or hairdressing. That’s an easy decision for him and I thought it’s a right decision for him, from you! Acas, sister Margaret has been giving you every single things she ate. Without fail, she diligently change your drinking water, talk to you, and get you flowers from the market every week. Brother Sam, who was so afraid of you when he first met you, afraid you would bite him! He missed you a lot too. I knew it. He wouldn’t want to express it in front of me because he doesn’t want me to feel more sad. Grief has a way of making me feel alone, and it’s not the easiest of topics to talk about. Times like these, I’ve often found comfort in the company of brother Sam. Acas, Christmas is around the corner, it won’t be the same this year and in future. Your intensely fierce barking towards the blinking lights on the tree will be remembered forever!
Acas, my pride my prince, I didn’t give you many things like other papa did but one thing for sure, I had given you the best and my love whole heartedly. You’ve got your birthday cakes every year; one and sometimes more than one apple a day; you never had to be restrained when travelling in my car; your treats were never forgotten when I’m travelling; you never had to check in to those prison-like pet hotels when we were all away from home, you were well taken care of by the beautiful Michiko jie jie at the comfort of your home, and you had the best pet grooming and pet spa, handsome boy!
My boy, do you know the Covid-19 pandemic that has resulted in much of the world grinding to a halt; that has banished us from outside and ordered to go inside; our lives, which had been marked by so much movement has suddenly been brought to an abrupt standstill; our streets have never been emptier; our home have never been more occupied. Some of us may be surprised at how much we are struggling with being isolated at home. For Papa, this was the best moment and a blessing in disguise! Never once in our 14 years together we spent so much time with each other’s. A good four months of true companionship, what more could I ask for!
Listen Acas, the one thing you need to know. Papa has NEVER given you up, NO way, NO how, NEVER, absolutely NOT! NOOO! You are my boy, my son, my family, I would give my own life to save you if that could do. I try my best, my very best, Acas. Forgive me if there were things I could have done more and better for you. To euthanize you was a relief for you. To end your pain and suffering. You cried so much at night because you were in severe pain and you could not turn yourself on the bed. I knew you were hiding your pain from me. I tried to stop the bleeding so desperately but it just won’t stopped. I asked God why put you through this! The pain is beyond word. It’s inhumane to let you endure it even for a second. It was the toughest decision I had to make. I went through the most excruciating experiences of my life! I remember making eye contact with you moments before you took your last breath on 30 August 2020, you flashed me a look that was an endearing blend of confusion and reassurance that everything was OK because Papa was by your side. You trusted Papa right up to the end. Papa held your hands, kissed you on the head and told you “Everything is going to be fine and you’ll free of pain very soon. Just relax, PAPA LOVES YOU, Acas…“. When the vet set the injections, there was a part of me was clawed out deep within and torn away. I broke down and cried. I couldn’t stop crying. I never cried so much in my whole life.
Right after, even as I’m typing this letter, self-doubt, guilt, and nagging thought began to cloud my mind! Had I done everything I could for Acas, who had suffered from cancer. He had a major surgery just before the pandemic. I thought I had followed every treatments and advices from the vets. Yes, not just one vet. Was there something else I could have done? Gosh…
Acas, it’s gonna get better ya? Papa will get onto the other side soon for you, will make it through. You were (and still are) one of the most important elements in my life. Without you, I would have been half the person I am today. I wish that I could just hold you for one last time, that I could just hug you and kiss you on the head like I always did in the mornings before going off to work. The worst is coming home and not seeing you at the door, waiting for me, like you did for 14 years. I know that you’ll always be with me… in my heart! Thank you, Acas for filling my gap, thank you for being the best dog ever . . . you will NEVER be forgotten, replaced or unloved!
Until we meet again at the rainbow bridge…
I thank God for sending me an Angel in the furry body of a canine. Amen!
“I appreciate you guys reading my grievances for Acas. And, I’m sorry. I told myself all the time that everyone had to deal with some sort of ‘shit’ in their lives, that my situation is no different and I just need to deal with it and figure it out. But, I just feel the need to pen it down to tell the world how great is Acas. Thank you.”, Andric, 5 December 2020