Monday, 23 August 2010
Farewell, my beloved Tigerlily
Rest In Peace, my beloved Tigerlily
~ Best Kitten In The World ~
(?? August 2010 - 21st August 2010)
Tigerlily died around 0400 hrs on Saturday, 21st August 2010. Perhaps our world had no place for anything as good but as fragile as my beautiful Tigerlily.
She had been doing so well in the last six days. She was the best kitten anyone could hope for. She had even started learning how to lap milk from my palm. On Friday morning, she had mewed for milk, and I had fed her twice in the morning. In the afternoon, when I fed her, she seemed a little quiet, but dutifully drank an ounce of milk and curled up into a ball and went back to sleep.
By 1630 hrs or so I was getting concerned because she seemed uncharacteristically quiet. I tried to warm her up in my hands and she purred with pleasure. Still, I didn't want to take any chances and drove her to the vet immediately. Kind Dr. Steven inspected Tigerlily and declared her free of infection or illness. All her vital functions were fine. Her airway and lungs were clear, she was not dehydrated or constipated and she showed signs of good health such as sucking on our fingers and wanting to nurse. He advised me to keep her warm and not only did not charge me for the check-up, he sent me home with a pack of PetLac milk, a tube of Bene-Bac for kittens and a new feeding bottle, all free of charge. I went home happy that there was nothing wrong with Tigerlily and convinced that the world is full of good people.
By 2100 hrs it was apparent that something was very wrong. Tigerlily was very weak and could hardly drink milk. She tried to mew but no sound came out of her tiny mouth. I called up Dr Steven and he offered to return to his clinic for her. I drove Tigerlily to the clinic, aware that she was already fading away.
The next 3 - 4 hours were among the worst in my life. The good doctor gave Tigerlily IV fluids subcutaneously through a syringe as she was too tiny to be put on drips, and nebulised her every 5 minutes. The reason for her sudden deterioration was still unclear. There was nothing wrong with her, except that she was very, very weak. I held her tiny body in a towel, pleading with her to respond to the fluids and oxygen and recover.
By midnight, the vet and I bowed our heads in prayer and prayed earnestly for little Tigerlily's recovery. We needed a miracle now, and I sent out urgent requests for everyone's prayers. That Special Someone called up and began praying with us. Tigerlily's breathing became laboured, but at least she was still alive. I held her and kissed her, trying not to let my tears soak her fur and cause her to catch a chill. Despite the weak state she was in, Tigerlily purred and looked at me with eyes full of love. She raised one tiny paw and tried to touch my face, but she was too weak and her paw could not reach me. I lowered my face so she could have contact with my skin. She tried to keep her eyes open but even that took all of her strength.
By 0130 hrs, Dr. Steven informed me that we have done the best we could and that he had given her the maximum safe amount of glucose and oxygen. There was nothing more we could do for her. I wanted to bring Tigerlily home so that I could keep her warm and close to me. I woke up every few minutes to check on Tigerlily in her little carrier. Tigerlily breathed her last around 0400 hours. I closed her eyes with my hands and wept for the tiny kitten who took such an important position in my heart and life.
I woke up around 0700 hrs as I had promised Pasupathy and the other Nature Guides that I would assist them with the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park trail clearing. A recent freak storm had uprooted many trees and damaged the trails, and we had agreed to clean the trail up on Saturday morning. I felt terrible and looked terrible, but a promise is a promise, and I have to keep it. I had slept in my clothes and my hair was unkempt when I drove to the Kelana Jaya LRT station to pick up my friend and fellow volunteer Marvin.
I did a terrible job of trail clearing that day. My machete was blunt and I could hardly hack at the overgrown Bertam palms and weeds. I chopped at fallen trees listlessly and tugged at weeds. I had brought biodegradable garbage bags with me and managed to fill two of them with litter. Thankfully, Marvin made up for my lack of productivity and worked like a Spartan soldier. I had no appetite for breakfast as all my thoughts were on Tigerlily and her tiny lifeless body, still in the carrier. Marvin offered to help me with her burial and last rites and I was grateful for his help.
We returned to my bachelor pad to find Tigerlily's lifeless body covered in ants. I was very distressed and remorseful. Marvin helped me wash her body under the garden tap and remove the ants. He suggested burying her in a large earthern pot and growing new plants in the pot that I could take with me when I move house. I agreed with his idea. Marvin dug up soil from my compost pit to fill the pot with. I lay Tigerlily's tiny body on top of an Asplenium nidus leaf in her final resting place. I recited the Pattidana and we covered Tigerlily's body up with soil. Marvin informed me of their Bidayuh tradition of returning all things to the soil and letting them become part of new life. He made a burial mound in the pot and informed me that it was because the soil in the middle would sink within a few days, and a barrow-like mound would help keep the soil level. He clipped 3 stalks of one of my garden plants and asked me to push them into the soil in a small triangle as I recite my final prayers for Tigerlily. We then arranged flowers around the pot and I placed in the pot a small limestone rock upon which I had written Tigerlily's name with a Sharpie. We sprinkled water to help the new plants grow and bade Tigerlily goodbye.
I was grateful and reassured to have Marvin with me in my time of grief, as he is a good friend and colleague and he had enjoyed Tigerlily's company in her short time with us.
Tigerlily, I hope when you are reborn, you will know how to find me, so we can be together again. I will never forget you, my beloved child.