Tag Archives: loss

Rest in peace faithful Flea

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Yesterday¬†we had our old Flea put to sleep ūüė¶ Ninja and I couldn’t bear it anymore to see her struggling so much; the smallest movement became a flailing effort to our arthritic old ratty. We felt we’d done everything we could,¬†and there comes a point where treatment becomes more stressful for a pet than a peaceful passing would be.

Baby Flea in Ninja's pocket

Baby Flea in Ninja’s pocket

Afterwards we took her to my parents’ garden, to bury her near the spots where Muesli, Scribble and Coffee were laid to rest. Of all the options available to pet owners for saying goodbye to their furry friends ‚Äď be it cremation, burial or leaving the body with the vet ‚Äď I’ve always felt that burial provides the most honour and closure.

Young Flea in a basket

Young Flea in a basket

Looking back on her 60-odd rat years, I can see how this fancy rat lived up to her proper name, Faith. First, when she was tiny, Ninja named her because she seemed to need a good dose of faith to venture out into the world. Later when she became comfortable roaming around our home we called her Leap of Faith, because she was never afraid to cover great distances in one bound… just like a small black¬†flea, of course ūüôā

Old Flea in the same basket

Old Flea in the same basket

Much later, after her tumour removal and the loss of her sister, she continued to live up to her real name, fighting bravely to heal after such an invasive op. And finally, just before her second birthday as she began ageing rapidly, her faithful little personality still led her to wake us up every morning for breakfast, even if she could only just drag her tired legs around.

Flea enjoying sweet papaya

Flea enjoying sweet papaya

Another thing that I loved about Flea was that she always seemed ‚Äď if one can say this of a rat ‚Äď grateful for the smallest thing. Towards the end when I had to pre-chew all her meals and wipe her face with a cloth because she could no longer groom herself, she would always brux and boggle happily in thanks afterwards. Ninja and I got to have many very sweet moments with the old lady as she cuddled with¬†and slept by us for long periods.

Faith ~ 25 Aug 2011 to 11 Sept 2013

Faith ~ 25 Aug 2011 to 11 Sept 2013

Rest in peace our sweet old Flea. You were the softest ratty I’ve ever kissed and I loved your beautiful fluffy and colourful¬†coat. You showed us the very best side of girl ratties and left us with so many funny and heartwarming memories.

I’d like to share with you a poem that was given to us by the vet yesterday (it’s marked as anonymous so I don’t know who to attribute it to). It was a blessing to me and I hope it’ll bring comfort to you if you’ve also had to make that tough decision to say goodbye to a furbaby. (But I warn you, keep the tissues handy!)

If it should be…

If it should be that I grow frail and weak

And pain should keep me from my sleep

Then you must do what must be done

For me, the last battle can’t be won

You will be sad ‚Äď I understand

Don’t let your grief then stay

For this day, more than all the rest

Your love and friendship stands the test

We’ve had so many happy years

What is to come can hold no fears

You’d not want me to suffer, so

When the time comes, please let me go

We’ve been so close, we two

Through these years

Don’t let your heart

Hold any tears

Take me where my needs they’ll tend

Only stay with me until the end

Hold me firm and speak to me

Until my eyes no longer see

I know in time you too will see

It is a kindness you do to me

Although my tail its last has waved

From pain and suffering I’ve been saved

Don’t grieve that it should be you

Who has to decide this thing to do

In memory of my granny

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Friday this week marks one year since the passing of my precious little German granny.

Googie

My granny

We called her Googie, and she was my penpal, my¬†friend, my role model and my strongest link to my German heritage. In honour of her, here’s a short memorial¬†(my German is a bit rusty, sorry for any errors).

Googie¬†war ein liebevoller Mensch, und ich bin sehr dankbar da√ü sie meine Gro√ümutter war. Ich vermisse sie sehr. Aber ich bin froh, da√ü ich sie¬†im¬†2011¬†besuchen konnte. Googie war sehr schwach und gebrechlich zu dieser Zeit, aber sie wu√üte noch, wer¬†ich war. Wir hatten ein Paar Stunden zusammen die von unsch√§tzbarem Wert waren. Wir sa√üen zusammen im Sonnenschein und redeten langsam √ľber unsre Zeit in √Ėsterreich, als wir dort¬†vor zehn Jahren¬†eine Cousine Googies¬†besuchten. Ich hatte auch die Gelegenheit, sie zu sagen, wie sehr ich sie liebte und wie dankbar ich immer sein w√§re, da√ü sie ein Teil meines Lebens war.

For Googie

For Googie

My dear granny reached out to more people than anyone I know. She could strike up a conversation with anyone, and made a point of learning a few words of as many languages as possible so she could engage with people from different backgrounds. She was endlessly writing to, visiting or telephoning people she knew and loved.

As a young woman she had been a school teacher, and I remember being amazed that some of her pupils still kept in touch with her over six decades later! She had that effect on people: she could get along with shy little kids and grumpy old men; she could bring out a smile on the toughest face.

I gained many blessings from being one of¬†Googie’s granddaughters. Although we lived with the¬†length of the whole country between us for most of my life, we kept in touch with letters from the moment I could hold a pen. In this way she also introduced me to other relatives and friends of hers that I began to correspond with. Even though I only spent time with¬†Googie in person a handful of times, she was one of the people I felt closest to; I could pour out my heart in my letters and she would always respond in kind.

One of my favourite memories of my relationship with¬†Googie centres around my birthdays. I must have inherited my love of birthdays and gifts and giving from her. When I was younger, the anticipation for my birthday was always heightened by the arrival of a large parcel from my gran,¬†wrapped in brown paper,¬†tied with string and sealed with red wax. Inside there’d be a collection of interesting items… cards, stickers, stationery, dried fruit, trinkets… and usually themed around whatever I was ‘into’ at that stage of my life (such as kittens, or horses, or collecting old perfume bottles).

My granny never forgot a birthday (or any other special occassion) because she had a thick notebook filled with peoples’ names, numbers and important dates. I remember being impressed with that and wanting to make people a priority in my own life too. We also shared a love of reading and of languages.

One of the¬†loveliest things about Googie was that she¬†rarely complained.¬†I love¬†the story of how my gran touched the heart of one of the doctors who was¬†caring for her towards the end. She was very¬†frail and¬†ill¬†then and could barely see, but when he asked her how she was doing she¬†sweetly replied, ‘Life is beautiful, doctor.’ And if you knew Googie, you’d know she meant it.

It’s hard to think about the gap left behind by this very special person. I know there are¬†dozens of¬†people in countries around the world who will miss her letters and phonecalls and presence. I am so grateful to have had her in my life, and I pray that I will take the good from her example and continue her legacy of living life¬†with her arms wide open, welcoming other people and looking for the best in them.

There’s so much more I could say, and then there’s only this:

I miss you terribly, meine kleine Großmutti.