The Goodbye: Update

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A draft I wrote yesterday but couldn’t post as I was so tired after having 3 hours of sleep in 2 days =

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About two weeks ago, I wrote about Pipi and her near-death situation that she was going through. In the 15 days since, a lot has happened given that Pipi has cancer.
In the days after May 9th, Pipi continued to lose body mass, regardless of the food she was getting into her. Because Mum has been sleeping with Pipi ever since she came home from the cat hospital (Sunday the 5th), for the comfort of company – we got out a skinny foam mattress to lay out on the living room floor (much more comfortable than laying on a lounge with a missing middle cushion). Pip decided that this was not only easier to get on and off from, but more comfortable to sleep on. For a while there, Pipi slept on the mattress in a blanket while Mum slept on the awkward lounge. During the day, Pip would like to get up and bury herself in the vines and small plants in the front garden. It was like a little hiding place, but for sleeping and fresh air. Ever since the beginning of last week though, she has preferred laying out under the May Bush in the garden, in the sun/shade. I would go out and be with her while I read my Ansel Adams book. Marmal would sometimes come by and sleep close to her. One time, she went and visited Mum in the backyard (weeding) and snooped around the foliage-covered cubby house.

Pinky's Rocking Chair
Pinky’s Rocking Chair.

May 10th, we all went outside, all of us, to be in the sun, be with Pipi, read books and weed the garden. It was beautiful. This was the last time I saw Pipi ever use the toilet outside, in nature. I have a couple of photographs on an undeveloped roll of XP2, that I took that day with my Mamiya, of Pipi and everyone, sitting in the sun. I can’t wait to see those images. I did however get a few nice photographs of Pink Lips on the cane rocking chair.

The Goodbye - Update: Contact Sheet #1
The Goodbye – Update: Contact Sheet #1.

On the 12th of May, Pipi, skinny and somewhat weak, decided to go to her favourite patch of grass, on the other side of the driveway gate. It was locked, and she would normally jump the fence, but didn’t. She (while Dad got the keys to unlock the gate) in fact, used her hands to try and open the gate. It was beautiful to see.
Once the gate opened, she went for a run around to the neighbors yard. We didn’t want her there, as we didn’t want to lose sight of her, so we picked her up and took her back to our yard. I grabbed a handful of her favourite grass, and fed it to her while in Dad’s arms. Not long after, she was walking down the driveway, snooping around. To our surprise, she quickly launched herself up the tree, and and made her way onto the neighbors roof. She has always loved it up there, on the slope tiled roof.

Pipi's Last Roof
Pipi’s Last Roof.

From what I have witnessed (in hindsight), I could say that this was the tip of the iceberg for her. From this point on, it was a downhill journey. Later, when she wanted to get down, she balanced herself on the lattice wall near the car port. Dad tried to get her down, but couldn’t in time because she eventually leaped off, down onto some bricks packed up in the neighbors backyard. I had to jump the fence to get her back into Mum and Dads arms.

In the coming times ahead, Pip would begin to rapidly lose her appetite, and become even MORE weaker and skinnier. Thursday the 16th, we thought that she may be in some kind of pain. It had been a week and a half since she had her anti-inflammatory injection (which apparently should last about 2 weeks), so that evening we took her to the vet (different doctor this time) for another injection, in hope that this would give her, her appetite back. We also discovered in this visit that the ulcer in her mouth which was large in size a week and a half earlier, was almost completely gone. If you didn’t know it was there in the first place, you wouldn’t be able to identify it. It had disappeared. So from that point on, it seemed that the ulcer was not the source of her problems at all. The ulcer appears to have been a symptom of something cancerous elsewhere.
Thinking back, Pipi would have died from the infection of the ulcer in her mouth had the vets not taken her in for treatment on that Thursday evening; the 2nd of May. Still unknown to this day, what is definitively wrong with her – we have a feeling that it might have something to do with her stomach.
That night, when we got home, Pipi wanted only my lap, to lay on. She stayed in my lap, curled up, all warm and comfortable, with me for over 4 hours. This was the last time she laid down on my lap. I still have a little mark on my thigh from her sharp claws doing what they do best…

Pipi's Bird Bath
Pipi’s Bird Bath.

The next day, she did drink but ate very little. And continued to get weaker. On the 18th, while laying out under the May Bush, Pip wanted a drink. As weak as she was, she went to the nearest source of water; the birdbath. She made her way there, and sat there at the base of the bath and looked up, as if she wanted to “be up there”. It had no water in it, so luckily Mum was hosing at the time. Mum filled it with some hose water, and Dad put her up on the bath edge for a drink. After drinking, Pip went back to her spot in the garden where Dad would be with his book and binoculars and me with my book.

The Goodbye - Update: Contact Sheet #2
The Goodbye – Update: Contact Sheet #2.

Three days after her updated pain killer injection, having had nothing to eat in the past couple of days, we took her to the vet again to see her desired doctor to see how we can get food into her. Mum and I went in with Pipi on Sunday the 19th of May, and saw how to feed her with a syringe and a high-calorie food/water mixture. The doc was happy to see just how far we have prolonged her life. To her and us, it was unexpected just how tough Pipi would be. She is a strong girl. And I am so grateful to have had this extra time with my black hairy sister.

This was the beginning of the end. By this time, she seemed more comfortable laying in her ‘cat box/tray’. This allowed Mum to sleep on the foam mattress next to Pipi on the floor in her warm tray. We would feed her through her syringe (she didn’t really want it much), Monday, Tuesday… But she still got weaker and less active. She would need help when flipping over, trying to get in a comfortable position in her blanket. That night, we discovered that she was laying in a puddle of wee. We cleaned her blanket, got a pillow and put a purple plastic bag on it (the same one she loved burrowing in) and put her on a fresh blanket, on her pillow, in her bed.

Mum & Pipi Wakeup
Mum & Pipi Wakeup.

The next day, overcast, rainy, still immobile, and quiet, I saw her trying to maneuver and didn’t have enough time to understand why. I got to her, and held her back/shoulders and head(just like I did with my black hairy sister Betsy. I held her hand and supported her back. I couldn’t let her go…), but unfortunately late to help because I then realized by witnessing a dark pool of liquid making its way up her body, on her blanket – she had wet herself.
Dad picked her up, Mum wiped her so Dad could put her on the mattress while Mum cleaned the bed and replaced the blanket/plastic bag. Pipi was still with us, acting her normal self; she licked herself clean like she always would. Then, she was placed back in her fresh bed; hopefully feeling somewhat refreshed; she went back to sleep (while Dad and I watched Jackie Chan’s Chinese Zodiac).

“In this time of pain and complete poignance, I can’t help but wonder if the cats are crying… Like us. Pipi’s eyes watery. Pink Lips eyes watery whenever near….”

That night, I sat with Pipi allowing myself to be in her view of sight (so she knew I was there) because she wasn’t always asleep. She’d have her ‘glazed’ eyes slightly open and you could hear her mouth make sticky sounds as she would prepare to swallow (same thing we do when we salivate when we see yummy food, but she does that when she finds comfort).

Pipi's Last Meal
Pipi’s Last Meal.

Thursday was much the same, rainy and gloomy – Although, this was a ‘1 month anniversary’ since (Anzac Day) I first took those portraits of Pipi on her favourite lounge, back when I first feared the worst… Pipi rested, and didn’t move from her bed. That morning though, Mum took her to her kitty tray, and she did a wee.
Friday came… Pipi was still on her bed, resting but mostly awake. That day Mum and Dad went out to St Marys to quickly check something out. While so, I took Pipi outside in her bed, on the verandah (the lawn was wet from all the rain from the past couple of days), in the fresh afternoon sunshine. I wanted her to enjoy what she loved most – the sunshine. When the sun light turned into shade, I took her inside with me, where we kept warm next to the heater. That night, we had Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner. When I had finished eating, I put a little mince meat on the end of my fork to try and give to her. She wanted it; Pip even slightly gestured a nibble towards the meat; But couldn’t bring herself to eat it.

The Goodbye - Update: Contact Sheet #3
The Goodbye – Update: Contact Sheet #3.

That night, Dad and I watched a couple of movies (Ironman 3 & A Good Day to Die Hard) and some tv shows. In between and during each, I noticed that Pipi became increasingly somewhat like how Betsy was on her final night. I remember hearing her purring (when touching her) at one point in the night and then suddenly not. I remember discovering her largely dilated eyes. I also witnessed a change in how heavily Pipi was breathing. She didn’t look good, and I remember feeling really “off” that night, especially once I went to bed.

At around 2:30 am, I knelt down infront of Pipi, and like the night before, and the night before that, I put my cheek to her head, and whispered to her that “will see you tomorrow”, and “I love you. Please be brave”. Hesitatingly so, I went to bed to go to sleep with Pink Lips, leaving Mum and Dad up and awake. I thought they would go to sleep, but they did not. Mum and Dad couldn’t go to sleep. They too felt something wrong, which kept them awake.
5:40am, I wake finding myself with my heart pounding out of my chest. I hear Mum and Dad in the living room. I knew something was wrong, my stomach sank. I launched out of bed and went out to attend to the matter. I believe the following text I wrote in my hand book (just after all was said and done) suits the emotion and truth behind what happened, at that moment =

Saturday morning, May 25th, 2013, 1 and a half years after Betsy, my last black hairy sister departs from us. 2:30am, I am tired after watching Mythbusters AfterShow with Dad. I say to Pipi, I love you. Please don’t leave me. I love you Pipi. I put my face to her head and tell her to be brave; Like I did with Betsy, just before she passed. I look in her eyes and I say I will see you tomorrow. Please have a good sleep. I love you. The glow in her eyes from the reflection of light, was there. I do this as I rub your head and rub your chin. I hope this comforts you. I leave unwillingly as I don’t want to leave you alone, but I had to.
All night I worry’d about your heavy breathing and dilated eyes. I hope you were in no pain.
Three hours later, 5:40am, I awaken, heart racing, pounding out of my chest. I hear muffled talking and crying. I race out of bed to learn whats the matter. I ask, what happened? Dad “thinks she has gone”. I look… Her poor beautiful face, eyes open, mouth open… I say, “but she is moving” – could this bee my sister waiting for me to be with her as she say goodbye, or her body moving its one last release, of energy. Dad says I was but seconds to arrive after “first notice”. I hope I was not too late to be with her as she passes. I hope she knows that we were all there with her… I lay my hand on her on her blanket to give any lasting strength to her. I asked Girlie that afternoon to guide her…. Did Pipi wake me up to say goodbye. She must have known that I wanted to be with her.

Girlie was my first cat family member. She died in September of 2001, under the verandah in my backyard. I remember, that morning, she woke me, coughing and what seemed like choking, under my bed. Being only 9 years old, I didn’t know what to do; So I let her out as Mum was busy in the bathroom. That evening, I remember that distressed look of sadness on my Dads face when he came inside revealing what he discovered outside in the backyard. The day Pipi last saw her sun, for the very last time, I went out in the front yard to where she was buried and asked for her to help her, once she passed. I wanted her to find peace, joining my other ‘passed’ loved ones.
As I sit with Mum, talking but in a lot of silence, (while Dad got some sleep) that horrible morning, I couldn’t help but feel anger and a sense of feeling guilty for unknown reasons. I was lost and confused. Was there anything I did wrong for her? Mum felt the same way. When the sun began to rose, I couldn’t help but cry knowing that she wouldn’t have the ability to see this beautiful array of light, after so many days of rain and darkness. We sat there for hours and hours. I’ve been counting down the exact time each hour since 5:40 this morning. Mum called her Mum and let her know as best she could that the worst had happened. Mum called the vet to let them know. Mum then called the cremation people to organise a time for a final departure. Just before midday, Dad and I mixed a violet colored paint and made some paw prints of Pipi’s left and right hands. After I tried to wash the left over paint off her hands, not long after, a lady was here to take her body away. This was the last time I would be able to see my sister ever again. Still, as can be, I put my head on her after Mum and Dad said goodbye. And she was gone.
Today has been an unimaginable mapping of strange events. Not only am I experiencing the same thing I did with Betsy, 1 and a half years ago, I also am experiencing some rare oddities. The moon was lying low this evening. Dad and I were getting dinner in Emu Plains, and when driving back, I noticed it. It is as large (or appears to be) as I have ever seen it. Dad explained that it was the perspective making it appear the way it was. A massive, magnified yellow circle, down low, on the horizon. Very weird. Marmal and Pink Lips have been behaving oddly as well, today. Marmal has been the most loving and affectionate as I have ever seen him before. He slept with Mum and I, while we were on the font lawn, this afternoon, reminiscing Pipi and our favourite moments with her. Mum actually fell asleep out there on the front lawn, while I sit there and cry while Dad paint his wooden Pinocchio. Mum had never slept outside before, in her life. I also found a miniature lemon on the ground near the lemon tree. Mum and I also went for a walk, just after Pipi was collected for cremation around midday. This was the first time we had walked down the road in years (a lot has changed in our area). And this may be why Mum was tired enough to fall asleep outside that afternoon. At dinner time, Pink Lips looked as if she was shocked. I don’t believe I have ever seen her so pale, eyes so stricken and unsure in behavior. The cats were certainly aware that their sister had gone. Such an eventful day, full of tears and sadness, yet moments of special memories. But it wasn’t over. That night, after I wrote all of this as a draft, in bed, I slept alongside my Mum, something special happened. While talking to Mum about past loved ones and how they died – trying ti find a way to cope with what is happening to us now – I felt something. Pipi visited me.
That night in bed, at around/aprox 11:30, in the darkness while I was listening to Mum talking about her Molly and Mama, I felt the sheet/blanket move or push down, on a certain area of my chest. It was unexpected, I thought maybe Mum moved causing the sheets to move or the blanket was in a position where it fell down to my chest or something. But nothing. Mum swore she wasn’t moving, I wasn’t moving…. Pipi touched my heart. I think she was trying to let us know that she was there with us, in bed. Something she always used to do.
I will miss you, Pipi.

Pipi's Last Evening Sun
Pipi’s Last Evening Sun.

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6 responses to “The Goodbye: Update

  1. Pingback: The Goodbye | HICKEY GUY·

    • Thank you Elaine. I definitely appreciate it, especially when you feel like everyone around you is dropping like flies.
      I hope you are well and happy :).

  2. Pingback: Thinking In Reverse #1 | HICKEY GUY·

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