50 First Dates With Me

50_First_Dates_1I have been wanting to post this for a while but I forgot. That’s the problem, I forget. For the past 3 years, I’ve been getting absence seizures because of this congenital brain deformity (to be honest we really don’t know when this started). Nothing to worry about except for the fact that every time I seize, I forget some things. Things like what that thing you have in your hand is called. You know, the thing that you use to call and text people. That thing you hold against your ear and causes carpal tunnel…that thing. For the life of me, I would not be able to recall what it’s called until hours or a day after. Same as that yellow thing you use for writing and drawing with the pink eraser at the end. It’s not just these things I forget, I forget things that happen to me too. I have blurry memories of dates and activities with family and friends. Blurry memory if I’m lucky. At times, I get a total blank. Funny but it doesn’t really affect much of the memory related to work or heavy data. Stupid right? I can still remember the YOY net income of the company I worked at years ago.

It gets frustrating. It frustrates me that I don’t remember much, it frustrates me that my family sometimes has to talk to someone as if it’s a game of…I forget..the game where you have to act out things..wait, I have to ask a friend. Ah…Charades. That game.

It scares me too. I have images of Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates. A movie I really didn’t like, by the way. I felt that the female character, Lucy was asking too much from the male character, Henry. I mean seriously, all that effort every single day just to make her remember, every day for the rest of their lives. I do have maintenance medication but I do forget to take them at times, get episodes and I end up crying when a bunch of data gets booted out of my brain. My husband patiently reminds me of the things I forget. He reminds me of the dates we’ve been to, the things I have done or bought, the things he did. He reminisces while I listen as if it’s the first time.

“Oh, how sweet of me or wow, how could I have done that?” I would say in reply. I have no memory of these things at all.

I laugh at how we were and happy at how we are at the present. That’s just it, I live for the present now. I try to be as happy as can be every single day so that in case I forget, I don’t have to worry. In case I forget, my husband and daughter have a good story to tell me in the future to laugh about. The good thing about this is that we try to love each other as much as we can on a daily basis. My husband tries his best to make me fall in love with him every single day and vice versa. We aim to have good memories every day. Just like 50 First Dates, we love and live one day at a time.

Zee

  • I will be posting regularly now and keep this site as a journal. You know..in case I forget. Do you know anyone else with the same problem? It would be great to hear about how they cope.

Empty Calling Card, Full Heart

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There are just some things that are more important than work. Admittedly, it took a while for me to learn all this. I was independent from my family in my early twenties (in the Philippines, that’s pretty early or unimaginable) and have been stressing about household bills and surviving for around 16 years. I guess working my ass off to have food to eat and save for my future was hard-wired into my system. Things changed when I had my daughter and my second marriage. Work didn’t seem to be THE priority. Whatever joy I derived from work just didn’t seem to compare to the joy I had at home. This actually confused me. For many years, I latched on to my work and it slowly ate me away – my body, personality and my joy. It turned into an addiction and just like any addiction, difficult to manage.

I stopped working for a few months this year. Dropped everything and stopped working. For the first time in 19 years, there was no company name attached to mine. Questions such as, “What are you doing now?” or “Where are you connected now?” was something I dreaded. I came out with a blank. I had no calling card.

For the months of September and October, I decided to just recuperate and re- align myself. I focused on family, friends, painting and resting. Things and people I love. In a span of a couple of months, the addiction called work melted away.

My husband and I had a long talk about our situation. My choices in the next few months were crucial. If I were make a wrong choice when get back into the rat race, all would have been wasted. At this point, I told my husband that I wanted to step back at work, paint, write more and support him. The decision came with huge sacrifices but we feel that it’s all worth it.

I’m back at work now. Everything has been working well so far. It’s so hard to consciously pull back but I know that it is needed and a decision made. I apply my “Decide, Do, No Looking Back” motto again.

Some question my decision of taking a few steps backward career-wise but you know, when we die, our tombstone won’t have a company logo, credentials and a position title. So yeah, get over it.

There is nothing is more important than being happy. There is nothing more important than family.

Zee

Vader, Our Sith Puppy

I couldn’t post this earlier. It was too painful and I would end up crying.

Exactly 6 months ago, we lost our baby Vader. I was asleep in our room, our helper was in the bathroom and we both heard our front door open. I thought it was her, she thought it was me. I heard frantic barking from Luna the pomeranian and next thing I know, our helper barged into our room wrapped in a towel telling me frantically that Vader, our baby teacup poodle was gone. We ran to the building security and reported the loss and they started searching. We tried everything on the days that followed.

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Left his things outside so that he can find his way home.

We even contacted Mr.David Consunji who pleasantly and immediately helped us. My email must have been one of the most amusing he had received for the week but I am thankful they exerted all efforts. My letter (sensitive data deleted):

Dear Mr. Consunji,

We are residents of Tivoli Garden Residences. Yesterday (May 25) at around 8:30 a.m., our black poodle went out of our unit and into the hallway of the 39th floor. He was never found. I know we were remiss in having the door unlocked or even open but we are appealing to your kind heart to help us find our dog.

We have placed posters at the Iris Bldg., did door to door flyering at the building and have informed the security and asked for them to view the CCTV footage of the elevator. We feel that he might have entered it and went to another floor. We were informed that we do not have CCTV at the hallways yet as we are a new building. We have done everything and ended our search at midnight last night.

In fact, we have gone to social media and our call for help has been shared and reshared on Facebook. We are that desperate because Vader was family. We are all devastated.

You are our only hope to ask the security to take the matter seriously as we get mixed reports or they just say “makikita rin yan” or “nanakaw na yun”. We have not lost hope and will keep hoping that he is still within the compound.

I thank you in advance for even giving us the time to even read this email. I know this may be inconsequential for some but as my daughter said, Vader, our dog is family and we don’t give up on family.

Sincerely,

Zarah Hernaez- De Joya

I was sobbing for days. Vader our baby was truly our baby. He gave my family so much joy and love. He went with us almost everywhere and weekends were spent walking him at Bonifacio High Street. He had his own Twitter account: @sithpuppy and his own Instagram account. He was family and our hearts were broken.

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Vader Come Home

Some people may not understand how we had so much love for a dog, a pet, but this little guy made life so much brighter for our household.
He was stolen for sure. Who could have opened the door? How can a dog of 4 lbs. disappear at the top floor of a high rise condominium?
They say he was stolen because we never had him neutered and some dogs get stolen for breeding. We didn’t because we didn’t want to cause him any pain.

We kept searching for weeks. We even went to the pet markets – Cartimar, Tiendesitas, Arranque Market, ready to buy him back if we have to. He wasn’t there. We went through pet buy and sell sites hoping to see his picture. Friends and even celebrities posted our call for help.
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Heartfelt thanks to all those who helped us find him, Anne Curtis, Boyet Sison, Ellen Adarna and Ramon Bautista. Pet lovers all. People sent us leads but it wasn’t Vader. Every time someone sent us a message that they saw a lost dog or a black poodle, our hearts skipped a beat only to be crushed in disappointment and I would cry again. I cried and I still cry for my baby Vader, 6 months after he disappeared. The support was overwhelming. A man we didn’t know even painted his toe nails in solidarity with us and our search for Vader. This made us smile, God bless him.

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Black toe nails with paw prints.

We will never give up but we’ve come to accept that he might be in someone else’s home now. We just pray that they love our angel as much as we loved him. I can’t even call him a pet or dog, he was truly my baby. Vader was love.

A friend said one can never get over the loss. You just have to create space in your heart to love a new baby puppy.