The News Girl is finally out!

Dear readers,

news-girl-sml-copyIt is a coincidence that The News Girl has been officially released on Thanksgiving Day. One of my New Year’s resolutions will be to write more blog postings and be more active on my website. It’s so easy for me to share quick things on Facebook that I forget I can share anything with you here.

But today is all about gratitude, because it feels good. It’s impossible to feel grateful and be angry at the same time, because those two feelings can’t live together. So, first I’m grateful for my wonderful family in Spain, North Carolina, and California. I’m grateful for those friends who feel like family, and many other awesome friends who are scattered around the globe on different continents. I’m grateful for the ten years, five months and ten days of Chiqui’s beautiful presence in my life. I’m a people person, and that means people always come first. I’m grateful for my job, and the people I work with, including my fun teenage students who drive me crazy sometimes, but who give me a reason to try to be better every day. imagesI’m grateful for my health and for having a home with a cute patio where the hummingbirds come to say hello while other birds bathe in the fountain. I’m grateful for all the yummy meals and good times shared with our amazing friends.

Last, but not least, I’m grateful for having the most supportive hubby in the world, who has helped me go through the loss of our dog—my baby—and has encouraged me and made my life easier so I could write and publish The News Girl. He’s always there when I need a hug, or a coffee . . .

Thank you for being here, for reading this. I’m grateful for YOU.

Have a wonderful day!

Silvi Martín


Love and loss

Dear Readers, I wrote this posting because I’m one of those people who overcomes hard times by talking about it, writing about it and letting it out. You don’t have to read this if it’s going to make you sad. This is like therapy for me to deal with the loss of my beloved dog, Chiqui Martin. My baby. P1050531

Every time I’ve heard people talking about losing their dogs, my heart ached for them, because even though I had never experienced it, I could imagine it. That had been my biggest fear since Chiqui turned eight and the clock started ticking. P1010916

Chiqui was born on November 4, 2005 in Galveston, Texas, to give me ten years, five months and ten days of pure and unconditional love and teach me how to love.Jueves dic. 15chiqui 7 semanas copy

He always looked younger than his age. He was a healthy, handsome and happy dog almost until the end. My baby boy was a beautiful, considerate, adorable and loving puppy. Now he’s gone. Cancer took him from me fast. He left me yesterday, and the hole is so big nothing can fill it. I wasn’t ready to let him go. I had more love to give him, I needed to touch him longer, feel his fur and kiss him thousands of times. Ten years were not enough for me. I miss him in my life.

Dic. 21 (2)I always hoped he would die very old, in his sleep, not this way. The pain of seeing him die in my arms was almost unbearable. Part of me died with him yesterday, but he will live in my heart for as long as I live. We had such a strong connection that I felt he could read my mind sometimes, when I was planning on doing something he didn’t like so much (cutting his nails or giving him a bath), or leaving him at home because I couldn’t take him with me. He always knew.

He expressed everything with his eyes and his body language. Chiqui-patio copyHe communicated with me, and it truly seemed like he was trying to articulate words. Chiqui was hilarious. He made us laugh every single day.

No matter how hard or frustrating my work day had been, getting home and seeing his face smiling at me, his tail wagging in anticipation as I got out of the car, ready to smother me with kisses and love, changed my day.

This is the saddest part now… A few times over the last year, he got in the habit of chewing on his backside, close to his tail, when we left him alone. We thought it was separation anxiety and we bought him a cone to prevent the chewing. Then he started doing it when we were home as well and we thought he had pain in his hips because when he ran or did more exercise he had the urge of chewing on the same spot that had already healed. The last time he did it was on March 25th when he stayed with his adoptive family while we went to Boise for a wedding. Then the third possibility came out, a flea had bit him and maybe he was allergic so he had a hot spot there where he chewed because it itched. Everything made sense but cancer.Chiqui y yo en la arena copy

His wound healed fast and we gave him antibiotics so it wouldn’t get infected. But then he didn’t want to eat and began to look more uncomfortable.

We took him to our wonderful vet, Dr. Dadwal last Saturday, April 9th (less than a week ago) and everything appeared normal except for something he could barely touch when he did a rectum exploration (nobody had ever done that to him before). The doctor seemed worried about the mass he discovered and urged us to get an ultrasound. On Monday they did the blood work and it showed fifty-fifty possibility of an infection or some kind of cancer. He had completely lost his appetite by then.

Chiqui y yo en Aptos copy

On Tuesday he had the ultrasound and a FNA (fine needle aspirate) to get a sample of that 7cm mass between the colon and his pelvis. By then his legs got swollen and he had edema, since that thing was pressing the blood vessels, causing them to leak.

On Wednesday we knew he had cancer.

Lymphoma is fast. We knew time was running out, so we took him to the beach in Aptos, his favorite place, his happy place. He ate, ran and played. For just a few hours he almost looked normal (even though they had shaven his belly and his legs were swollen). He still looked like a happy puppy. That was his last day. I joined him in the back seat and pet him the entire ride to the beach and back.

Jugando con Chiqui Dic. 16

Yesterday at around 11AM his beautiful life ended peacefully, his head resting on my hands and his eyes fixed on me, letting me know how much he loved me. I didn’t see fear or pain, just love and trust. I closed his eyes, let his head rest on the towel and kissed him and hugged him for the last time after his heart had already stopped. My tears didn’t let me see him anymore.

Pain hit me straight in the heart, beyond words. The rest is emptiness, silence, memories, tears, more memories, absence, desperation and deep, deep sorrow. My baby had a tumor growing inside and I couldn’t help him. He tried to chew it out and I didn’t know. Dr. Dadwal wanted the ultrasound to prove him wrong, but our worst fear was confirmed and I had less than three days to say goodbye to my baby. This last picture is his very last, about fifteen minutes before he left me for good.

5. His very last picture today 4:14:16I’m so grateful to the two best vets in the whole world: Dr. Laura de la Prida (also one of my best friends from Galveston, Texas who is a real animal lover and an awesome surgeon), and Dr. Raminder Dadwal in San Jose, California. Both have proven there are some honest, compassionate, decent and loving vets we can trust a hundred percent. Both Dr. de la Prida and Dr. Dadwal treat pets as if they were their own and care about their owners as if they were friends. Thank you on behalf of Chiqui .

My Passion for Reading

My parents married in their early twenties after dating for five years. Soon after that they were brave enough to leave their safe environment in a little town in Andalusia, Spain, to move to the amazing continent of Africa. I grew up in Dakhla, a picturesque town with rounded white houses and flat roofs, located on a tiny cape between the Sahara desert and the Atlantic Ocean. I was a healthy, confident and happy child, full of energy, fantasies and dreams.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 8.40.30 PMMy father was a math teacher, like all of his friends in Dakhla. I believed it was fun to be a teacher and I wanted to be one too. Dad used to go to school every day, to teach children how to solve problems, equations and an infinity of things related to numbers and signs. I looked up to my father. I was one of those children who loved to ask questions. He knew everything. He always had an answer, always delivered with kindness and love.

Once a week, big students—most of them older than my parents—came to our home for private lessons that, surprisingly for me, were easier than the ones he taught at school. At the age of five, I didn’t understand why grown ups were learning things that children already knew in their early years. My mom explained to me that they didn’t have the chance to go to school when they were little, and my father was helping them catch up. I admired my father for that too.

I used to watch his lessons from a distance, Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 8.33.26 PMquietly secluded in my bedroom with a side view of his clean-shaven face, long sideburns and Roman nose. My favorite part was when he wrote the alphabet on the huge blackboard my mom had given him for his birthday, while the attentive students asked questions and took notes. That is how I learned to read, secretly, hidden, peeking behind the doorframe, with voracious big brown eyes semi-covered by my natural golden curls. I loved the letters and I wanted to write so badly that I couldn’t wait to go to school.

Soon after that I had almost as many books in my bedroom as my parents had on their shelves. I developed a passion for reading, and a curiosity for learning. Reading before sleeping became a routine that I have kept throughout the years. Now, I can’t go to sleep without reading, even though sometimes I can only manage a page before my eyes close 🙂