Mr. Frodo and I

When I went home from the hospital, fresh from my miscarriage and D&C, I was expecting to come home to a dog who will console me. I have pictured it in my mind during our cab ride home: The moment I open the door, he would come up to me, look me in the eyes, and express the same kind of sadness that was overflowing from me. He would give a little howl, perhaps lick my face tenderly, and just stay with me while I drown in my thoughts. Similar to Marley with Jen Aniston’s character when she lost her baby in the movie, Marley and Me.

Marley and Me

But it did not happen. I did not have my Marley and Me moment.

Instead, I came home to the usual overly excited pug who acts like it’s the first and last time he’s seeing me. Since I don’t want my husband and brother to worry about me any more, I gave him the same response that I have each and everyday — greeted him excitedly, patted him, and played with him a little. But deep down I was thinking,

Does he not know? Is he not sad that Ezra is no longer with us? 

Where is my Marley moment? 

The problem with having a dog is we were conditioned to have this great expectations from them — that they would think like us, feel like us, and be like us. Blame the books and movies for giving us Hachiko, Lassie, and, yes, Marley. All of them knows how to console the movie characters on cue. They have full on empathy like a real family member. They will make you feel better, not act like nothing’s happened; like everything’s normal.

The day after, when Mr. Frodo and I were alone in the room, I talked to him. My sister told me that I should try talking to him because it may help with my recovery. So I did. I told him that I’m so sad that Ezra is gone. It feels like my heart has been crushed into pieces and all these tiny pieces are waiting to burst out of me. I told him that I wanted to cry all the time, even if there are no more tears. I told him about all the moments I have imagined Ezra and him would no longer have. But all he did was sneezed straight to my face, turned around, and walked away from me.

I ugly cried after that. I’ve felt like my best friend has abandoned me.

Does he not know? Is he not sad that Ezra is no longer with us? 

Where is my Marley moment? 

The next few days was full of resent for Mr. Frodo. I gave him the cold shoulder; I wouldn’t even look at him. When Cris asked me if there’s something wrong, I told him nagtatampo ako kay Frodo. He doesn’t even console me, I said. Cris, being the good cop that he is, told me that maybe he’s just not showing it. Or he doesn’t have a full understanding of what happened. Maybe he’s just happy to see us safe and well after being confined to the hospital.

I did not buy it. He’s supposed to know; he’s supposed to empathize. He’s man’s best friend, isn’t he?

Sunday came — my most dreaded day of the week. It was a Sunday, a week earlier, when I was first given a sign that I will lose one of my most precious. So that particular Sunday was very difficult for me. I again found myself crying my heart out with Cris consoling me. Let it out, he said. Just cry it out.

And then I felt him — his fur brushed my hand; I heard his ragged breathing going nearer and nearer. He sat in front of me and looked at me with those big black eyes while I was crying. All I can say at that moment was, “Frodo…”, but I know that he somewhat understood. When I was pacified, he stood on all fours, leaned in to me, and licked off the tears that ran down my face. This is it! This is my Marley moment!

But as per normal Frodo style, he sneezed on my face, turned around, and walked away.

That moment made me think: I think that in a way, dogs are like humans, too. They react differently to different scenarios. It’s not like a cookie cutter Marley world where you expect every dog to be as emphatic as you would want them to be… very much the same with humans…

And for me it’s OK.

During this whole ordeal, I learned a thing or two about the people around me — how they reacted to the news, how some consoled me, how some chose not to, how some whom I haven’t talked to in years could give you the kindest words, how some whom you’re expecting to offer even the briefest of “I’m sorry for your loss” could just brush it off and choose not to reach out, and how some would not even utter a single word and yet you know that they are crying with you.

And for me it’s OK.

I can’t blame those who choose not to reach out. Miscarriages still carry a stigma especially here in the Philippines. Most people would rather talk about the weather than know how you bled, how capsules were inserted in your vagina every 8 hours as part of your D&C process, how you last saw your still baby, and how your first consoling words came from a nurse who’s a complete stranger to you.

And the stigma does not stop at the people surrounding you. There’s also a great stigma about talking about your own grief. Most of the time, those who suffered miscarriages are shy, even afraid, to talk about their inner struggles. We are afraid to be branded as weak, overreacting, and hypersensitive. Mainly because of the incorrect notion that our loss is not the same as losing a child that was actually born. To some, a miscarriage is not something tangible so they expect you to get over it quickly.

But as one of my acquaintances who had a miscarriage herself said, talk to your friends who are willing to listen. 

I guess I have Mr. Frodo for that while I’m still mustering the courage to literally face my human friends. I would just have to endure all of his sneezes for now.  Mr Frodo and I

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