“I told you not to leave me.”

I was crying on him. His eyes were half open. His body still warm. But there was no heartbeat. No sign of heavy breathing.

Mama was just feeding him, with his food crushed and mixed into a water prescribed by the veterinarian. He vomited again. And we thought it was normal, as he was on his way to recovery. It will take time before his body could have enough strength to digest his food intake. A minute after he threw up, he gave one last blow. One final blow. Like a loud cough, spitting out a few more food particles onto his orange towel blanket. And then he fell silent.

I was staring at him, then at Mama. Back and forth. She was calm. Ten minutes ago, I had just looked at him and said “Ma, look… he’s not having a hard time breathing anymore!” and she smiled at me. But this time I knew he was different. He was no longer stopping me from feeling his nose and ears. I looked hard on his stomach to look for a sign that he was still with us. I wanted my eyes to fool me. But I was unlucky.

“Jay………. Jason……..Ma!!!!!! He’s not breathing anymore!!!! MA…… MA!!!!!!!!!!!”
She was standing right next to me, and I was sitting right next to him. I stood up and gave her room to see… It took awhile before she finally realized…

“JAY, MAMA (like saying “Jay, its Mama”)……BOO………..JAY!!! MAMA!!!!!!........NO!!!!!!!!!!”

The last time I saw my mother like this was before Papa Loy (my grampapa) was cremated. She was jumping and up and down, calling her mother, stopping people from taking him away from us. Crying like a little child. Like she was lost in a mall, calling out for someone to help her find her parents. That was 12 years ago.

She was banging on his half-open kennel cab. Doing everything to wake him up and I immediately looked “CAT CPR” up on Google. We tried. But we could do nothing.

I didn’t cry until 10 minutes after. When it had sunk in. He was gone. His eyes were half-open. But he was gone. I can no longer see the glare. No sign of the first boy in my life.

Our usual sleepy-time!

I was in Kindergarten. I was spending my usual afternoon playing in my Lolo’s furniture shop in Palawan, wandering around, playing with his tools, looking at all the unfinished furniture and sniffing the smell of varnish. It was quiet as all his workers had gone home, and I had it all to myself.
I went farther back, and inside what appeared to me then as an unfinished box for my Lola’s arinola, I saw what I remember was 4 small kittens, probably several days old. I held them, and they were as tiny as my little hands.

I made visits there from time to time, looking for where their mother could’ve probably left them. Until they grew weeks old. I remember putting him in a jar and shaking it. In my mean little head I found him too adorable that I wanted to let all my gigil out. Mama scolded me then, telling me its not right to treat them cruelly.
We would use empty ice cream containers and fill them up with milk and spread broken pieces of bread on it. We would leave the containers at the backdoor. Minutes later I would find them there. I would pat Jason on his back, as I watched him eat. But he would stop and give me a warning that he would attack me if I didn’t stop. I liked his sibling more, and I named it “Baby”. Baby was nicer than Jason was.

A month later I found their Mom floating at the kanal outside the house. And only two things came to mind – either she was beaten to death, or was run over (which was impossible cos she was still in one piece). Mama and I figured we had the kittens under our care now. Until little by little one of them would either die, or run away. And all I had left was Jason.

I didn’t name him Jason until he officially became my “brother”. I was plopped down on our Video shop’s red carpet, leaning on both of my hands, watching Power Rangers. I had the biggest crush on Red Ranger, who just happen to have “Jason” as his screen name. So I looked at him and told myself…”I’m gonna name you Jason”. And so I did.

Whenever I find him sitting next to me in the kitchen,
there are times that I'd grab him and put him in my lap.
(see my allergy marks? ew)

Jason went through what your typical human boy would go through. He would run away sometimes, get someone pregnant, come back home and would later on find himself doing the same thing again. Until one day we found him resting his head at the footstep of our video shop, ants all over his body. Looks like someone beat him up. And with God’s grace he was able to survive it and have the strength to come back to us.

We brought him to the vet. Got him treated and decided we have him castrated.
I would watch over him as he lie asleep in towels, on one of those red craters we had for our video tapes. One time I found myself running to him, leaning my head on the crater and just running my hands on his head, telling him that it will all be alright, while I sobbed away.

He went with us wherever we moved. He was all excited when we moved out of my grandparents’ house into a new one we got for ourselves. I remember carrying a plastic dirty hamper that had a cover on with him in it, walking at 5 in the morning, as the house was just a street across.
Years later, when we decided to move to Jeddah, we brought him – ALL THE WAY FROM PALAWAN.

Jason and his acrobatic sleeping skills.

Jason would “do his thing” in the bathroom. We trained him to do that.
You would always always always find him wherever we were. Either occupying half of your kitchen chair, watching Grey’s Anatomy with you, watching you dress and camwhore, or disturbing you while you’re chatting with your crush by sitting on the keyboards or sit right in front of the computer monitor. Sometimes, he would jump up in bed with you to sleep, or wake you up for what would most of the time happen to be a good reason. In the morning, whenever I wake up, he would get out of bed and stretch in front of me, and meow like there’s no tomorrow, greeting me good morning and probably telling me what his dream was. He would also stay in places where he know he’d get run around by your foot, or hit by your leg. And I’d just say “Jay, baby, wait… I’m gonna be late.”

He’d respond to you whenever you talk to him and ask him questions. Its really cute. When I want him to sit beside me I just call him and tap the spot next to me. He’d turn his head to where I was and meow. Sometimes he did it with one call. Sometimes you have to bug him for it. But either way he‘ll do it. He would do whatever you tell him to. And most of the time, where the entire family is, you’ll see him there.

That look. I’ll never forget that look. That look full of life, with the glare in his eyes, as if it were saying “Yes, I’m here….”

My partner-in-crime and me, watching T.V.
Seriously. He really does watch T.V. with us.

Jason was there for me through my toughest times. I would find myself hugging him tight and wetting him with my tears. He was surely there to give me comfort.

But at this moment… he was no longer there to respond.
Its been awhile now. Mama had just called the veterinarian to tell him we need to give them the body as soon as possible, even if we had to pay an emergency fee. I was holding his hand that still seems to be pink, he was still warm. And mama was whispering to him and saying “Its okay now, bubu… rest now….Its okay….” And it just made me cry more. I sat next to him, still looking at him in disbelief with tears building up in my eyes. Mama had gone to her room crying and dragging around. I just cried on him while I screamed “I told you not to leave me!!!!!!!! I just told you a few minutes ago, I said “Jay, don’t leave me, okay?” I told you to fight!!!!” and I expected some sort of miracle, he would hear my cry and be bothered by the tears falling on his body and wake up. But he didn’t.

I took him out of his kennel cab and into my arms. He was almost starting to stiff. And I never imagined myself not being scared of something like that. But I didn’t care. I lay him on my chest, and Mama wrapped around two hand towels on him, and it seemed like he was just asleep. I was kissing his head countless of times while I held his hand. And I retold him the story of how we met.

“Remember when we first saw each other, Jay? We were so small! Remember, I took you in my hands. You were just as small as my hands then…”I let out an awful lot of sob. And then I continued whispering in his ear. “You’ll always be my baby, no matter what….”

I couldn’t believe he was gone. I never imagined him lifeless.
Minutes later, Papa and my Tito Boying came, and said it was time for him to go.
I just sat still on the chair. Holding him tighter. Not wanting to let him go.
Not wanting to let him leave.
But I had no choice.

I stood up and handed him to Mama for awhile as I wore my abaya. And took him back into my arms. I felt like I was going to explode into tears. Before I headed out the door, I let the flat have one last look at him, and I told him to say goodbye. Goodbye to the place that housed him for over ten years.

I wrapped my arms around him tighter as I walked out and down to the car, protecting him from people I would pass by as I know it would terrify them if they saw that I was carrying a dead cat.
I got in the car and protected his ear from the door banging shut as it would normally scare him.
I was feeling a mixture of shock and depression. The AC was busted so Tito rolled the windows down. And I figured it would be good for Jason. It would be nice to feel the air blowing through his face. I just stared out the entire trip, running my sight back to the view, to Jason and to my Mom who was sitting beside me, as she was looking out on her side of the window, sobbing. Papa and Tito Boying just made everything lighter by not talking about it. I didn’t care. There I was kissing his head countless of times again and holding to what is slowly feeling like a cold hand. We passed through Tahlia, the life of the night on the street didn’t seem to make me feel any more alive. As I was cold inside. I appreciate that Tito drove slowly, giving me more time to feel him in my arms. More time to have his fur scatter on my clothes. More time to look at him.

All for the last time.

We parked in front of the clinic and waited for the doctor to arrive. I planted it in my head that I wasn’t gonna let go of Jay. Papa went in on Mama’s side and patted Jason in the head, saying “Goodbye” which really just made me cry more. I secretly wished the Doctor would never come. And that I would wake up and its all just a bad dream. But it didn’t happen.

I got out of the car when I saw him unlocking the gate. He looked at me with pity. I had my hair in a mess and my baby wrapped around my arms, lying on my chest. We entered the clinic and headed to the check-up room. And he took out a black bag.

We lay him on top of it, the pinkishness of his paws are now turning white. His mouth was slowly turning gray. He was stiffer than he was when we left the house. Mama bid him her last goodbye, and I took out both hand towels from him. The veterinarian then took one back from me, covering Jason while saying “leave this, this is for him…okay go….leave now Madame….I know this will be very hard for you…” Mama left the room sobbing. And I just gave him one last kiss, and I heard the vet say “Okay, okay now….Go….” As I left the room I looked at him one last time as the vet placed him inside the bag. I cried even more saying “Please take care of him……” and the vet said “Okay, I will….” And slowly placed him in. and wrapped it all up.

My tubby wubby and me before
meeting up with our friend and my date,
Peter Pan.

On the way home, I sat closer to Mama this time, putting my head on her shoulders as we went on sobbing together. She tried comforting me but I just ended up tearing up more whenever I would think of what would happen to me EVERY day.
“Wala nang babati sakin sa umaga…..”
As it was part of my daily routine – seeing my baby sitting by my bedroom door, as if he’s waiting for me to get up so he can greet me (or ask for food) - meowing, meowing, meowing.

I have several scars on my arms from him. I have two that are really obvious though, one on my right chest and on the right side of my tummy. I always told myself I’d have them taken out by several laser sessions when I have the money.
…But I don’t think I’d still do that. I’d like to have them with me forever, and show them to my children and tell them about the first love I’ve ever had in my life.

April 30 2008.
Jason's last photo before he got sick.
I saw him sleeping so cute and peaceful, and I loved
how the sunlight hit his body so I hurriedly got my
camera and took a photo of him. It is now my office PC and
cellphone wallpaper.

Jay, my baby boy… I know you are in a better place right now. Somehow I wished you took me with you. But I guess I don’t deserve to have the peace that you have right now. Last night I was waiting for you, I was eager to sense that you were still in the house. Its just not going to be the same without you,baby… I just want you to know that you have made me very happy. Especially Mama. Thank you for teaching Papa how to love animals. I’m sure he’s gonna miss feeding you with whatever he’s munching, as you always follow him around asking him to have a bite of what he has. You know he spoils you more than Gringo. I’m sure Mama will miss making gigil to you whenever she carries you in her arms and you just rest your head on her shoulders or chest. Thank you for always being there for me in your own catty ways. You always knew when to sit next to me even when I don’t ask you to. I’m sorry you had to suffer the way you did, I never liked the idea that you weren’t feeling so well before you left. I’m sorry I didn’t pursue my dream to become a vet – I would’ve known what was really going on. I’m sorry you had to drag yourself to places and had difficulty breathing. Mama says she’s sorry she fed you the last few minutes you were with us, she said she just wanted you to recover soon. I know you’ve seen all of us surrounding you for three consecutive nights, not knowing what to do, what pained you… and I know you didn’t want us to have a hard time seeing you like that. We thought it was going to be okay since we’ve brought you to the vet right after we noticed you weren’t feeling so well, and we did that for 3 consecutive days.

Thank you for the beautiful life you shared with us, Jay. To most people you are just a cat – but you will always be more than that to me, to Mama and Papa. And I know, most people won’t understand that.

Thank you Jay….for teaching me the value of life.
And for making me realize the importance of having it while it lasts.

I will never forget you, and I can’t wait to see you again.

I love you forever.
Rest in peace, baby.