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.

19 comments:

Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn, though you have done everything you could for Tigerlily, I guess the Maker love her more.

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Tigerlily...though we never met in this life
We'll seek you out in the next...
Hey...hug Ralf for us when you meet him in heaven...
Wait for us little brave kitten...

In mourning.
Angelina, Brad, Tom, Nicole, Michael & Nikki

Thanks C078....for taking care of Tigerlily...and for being there for her in her final hours.

Au and Target said...

Poor little thing. Kittens are so terribly fragile. Sorry to hear about this, Ee Lynn.

Angie said...

Sorry to hear about Tigerlily. I'm sure she has gone to a better place. But she is very lucky she knows what is is to be loved in the short span of her little life and also to have such a loving and caring 'mummy'.

Rest in peace, Tigerlily.

MajorDad64 said...

Condolences on her passing.
She went well.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Dear Abang Zawi, Kitties-in-Sydney (and your Mama), Au, Target and Ellen, Angie and Major,

Thank you very much for your condolences and kind words. I miss my Tigerlily so very much. Everyone tells me she is in a better place now. But I thought my home would have been good enough, and she would have been a very happy and loved kitty here. I will never forget her.

I will need a few days to grieve before I foster the next batch of needy animals. I wish people would stop shoving animals in my face and asking me to foster immediately after Tigerlily's death, and give me a little space and time to grieve instead.

louis said...

You loved Tigerlilly and she loved you. A fleeting moment in time perhaps but no doubt a beautiful one.

Pat said...

I have to agree with Louis here, darling E: You loved her, and she loved you. That is what you should keep in your heart, and take with you forever.

Reading about Tigerlilly reminded me of the passing of my own two girls - now buried in my garden, beneath the beautiful sunsets we get here every day. We've planted a gorgeous rose bush above them, and often when I see the roses in all their splendour, I remember my two girls and wish they weren't taken from me so quickly.

I hope they've found Tigerlily and are showing her the nice bits wherever they all are now.

*hugs*

Pat said...

I have to agree with Louis here, darling E: You loved her, and she loved you. That is what you should keep in your heart, and take with you forever.

Reading about Tigerlilly reminded me of the passing of my own two girls - now buried in my garden, beneath the beautiful sunsets we get here every day. We've planted a gorgeous rose bush above them, and often when I see the roses in all their splendour, I remember my two girls and wish they weren't taken from me so quickly.

I hope they've found Tigerlily and are showing her the nice bits wherever they all are now.

*hugs*

Pat said...

I have to agree with Louis here, darling E: You loved her, and she loved you. That is what you should keep in your heart, and take with you forever.

Reading about Tigerlilly reminded me of the passing of my own two girls - now buried in my garden, beneath the beautiful sunsets we get here every day. We've planted a gorgeous rose bush above them, and often when I see the roses in all their splendour, I remember my two girls and wish they weren't taken from me so quickly.

I hope they've found Tigerlily and are showing her the nice bits wherever they all are now.

*hugs*

Pat said...

I have to agree with Louis here, darling E: You loved her, and she loved you. That is what you should keep in your heart, and take with you forever.

Reading about Tigerlilly reminded me of the passing of my own two girls - now buried in my garden, beneath the beautiful sunsets we get here every day. We've planted a gorgeous rose bush above them, and often when I see the roses in all their splendour, I remember my two girls and wish they weren't taken from me so quickly.

I hope they've found Tigerlily and are showing her the nice bits wherever they all are now.

*hugs*

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Dear Louis,
Why must happiness be ephemeral? Why can't anything that is beautiful also be durable? Why does life have to be so fleeting? I miss my Tigerlily so much.

Thank you for your kind words, my friend.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Dear Pat,

You were one of the first people I text messaged when Tigerlily died, because I knew you would understand and could empathise. And we both had to say goodbye to our babies who we love so much. They weren't "pets". Just because we didn't give birth to them doesn't make them any less our children.

I am told Tigerlily is now at the Rainbow Bridge. Maybe her biological mother is there too. I hope they wait for me to come and get them someday. Tigerlily and I will meet again someday.

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Sweet Tigerlily knows you love her v. much. I'm really touched you've been a gem of a mother for her and other furry friends. You're a dear friend.

MajorDad64 said...

But durable it is. Where do you feel the ones you miss? Transient or enduring, that was all she needed to get home.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Thank you,Keats. I think Tigerlily really did know that I loved her and she loved me right back, and it had nothing to do with mere survival instinct. Animals feel love as intensely as we do. I miss her so much. I hope she is well and happy and strong up there at the Rainbow Bridge.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Dear Major,
You're right. Tigerlily lives on in my heart. Though I would rather she live on in my arms and my home too. She was only with me for 6 days, but our bond was so very strong. I miss her every minute of every day.

JALAN REBUNG said...

Ee lynn,

I share your sadness on this unfortunate event. And I agree with Pak Zawi , the maker love her more. Please be strong ya ...

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Thank you for your kind words, Abang Rizal. Yes, the Maker loved my little Tigerlily, but I loved her too. I didn't have the chance to watch her grow up.