Losing My Baby Girl

It’s a difficult thing to have lost most things for then to lose everything. 

It’s end of summer 1999 and we’re on our way to meet a little girl. I saw a tiny little creature with wild, soft hair and big, curious eyes. That’s the moment I became a mum.

We met, it seems, such a short time ago
You looked at me – needing me so
Yet from your sadness
Our happiness grew
And I found out I needed you too
– Fox and the Hound, “goodbye may seem forever”

When you become a mum you get responsibilities. You live, not only for yourself, but for someone who is dependent on you. So when my own parents died one by one, I couldn’t sink into the ground. I had someone who lifted my spirit, made me smile and who loved me in a way I had never felt from anyone. When I was teased for having lost my parents, treated differently for not being like everyone else or a 100% Norwegian, she saw no difference in me although we couldn’t be more different genetically. She listened when my Grandparents did not. She would dry away my tears and remind me I had her. She was my bestest friend and I was hers. Lately it has dawned on me that would be why no one else have managed to get and remain as close to me as her. No one has ever loved me as unconditionally as she.

When I was younger and my fantasy had no limit, I used to practice natural magic, aka spirituality, and follow the wind. I’d find her waiting everytime. As if she knew I was on my way to her – just like she would sit waiting by the door every time I returned from the University. Three months or six – she would be there. No conditions to her love. Whenever I was home she would follow me and we’d do the things we had done together since she was young: watch movies, play on the laptop, sunbathing, eat sandwiches and cheese doodles – her poking my food for “just a nibble, mommy”.

Bedtime. She’d slither under the cover, poke my face to wake me, stretch out and hold around my neck while she snored in my ear. I’m going to miss being kept up all night.

I remember how we used to play
i recall those rainy days
the fire’s glow
that kept us warm
and now I find – we’re both alone
– fox and the hound, “goodbye may seem forever”

I came home from Peru because of the Typhoid fever but soon forgot about the sickness because my girl was gone. I searched and called everyday for her – breaking down, screaming with tears because of the silence. I cried in my pillow every night and morning when she didn’t come to poke me “good morning – time to cuddle”. I missed waking up to her on my head, seeing her in the corner of my arm or almost stumbling upon her as she walks into my feet. I lost my faith in the bigger power – never knowing how much it had meant to me until that point. I had tried to help children, instead I got a dangerous disease and presumably lost the most precious individual in my life. That was the worst: Beginning to think the worst possibly scenarios. I had help searching the first couple days, then everyone began to lose hope and more important things came on the order of the day. I felt like the mother in Changeling – never believed, all alone in the search – only I started listening more to the fear than my motherly instincts about my baby girl; I feeared I’d never get to see her and let her know I was back.

She returned after a week; a moment that made me fall to the floor and let out cries all the way from the heart when I saw her. I bawled in relief like I later would bawl in grief.

Goodbye may seem forever
farewell is like the end
but in my heart is a memory
and there you’ll always be
– fox and the hound, “goodbye may seem forever”.

She was ill. A terminal cancer and liver failure we soon found out. I’ve hardly left her side the last five weeks. She would lay on my belly when I was sick to warm me. All these years later I’ve paid her back by nursing her everyday: I’ve fed her many meals a day with teaspoon, measured and given her medicine and walked her on a leash for fresh air and the toilet. I’ve told everything I’ve wanted to tell her and told it  twice. We’ve done all the things we used to do day out and day in.

I got my faith back, thinking the meaning behind my illness was to get back in time to say goodbye. Goodbye is not that easily said, however, no matter how much time you get. I never seemed to have enough of time either, I couldn’t make the decision so they called when they saw it fit. The vet came.

Our last twelve hours together was a sunny day spent cuddling. She was rolled over for a stomach rub, held my hand in her paw and looked at me with curious, big eyes like the day we met. I felt like a traitor. “She’s just like her Mama” I’ve heard her whole life with all the pride my heart could hold. I would never forgive someone if they ended my life. I also knew her best. All my instincts were screaming what was coming was wrong.

25th of March, 22.45. They were babbling, I was stuttering out apologies and last sentiments. Second needle: I threw myself over her – begging them not to take my baby from me. The final reality hit me with a shock. A lifeless body, an empty shell with wide open eyes. They left me with it. I pulled her up on my lap screaming for her to come back to me; cradled and rocked her, back and fort. My insides burned in torment and my body shook. Out of my lips came frightening sounds of my heart bleeding and soul shattering. The only thing which echoed louder was the fully stopped-yet-previously-soft-breathing of my little treasure.

I’m being told to let go. “Take to your senses, Christina”. 

After spending the night watching over her, silently crying and willing her to come back, we buried my heart in the morning.

Goodbye may seem forever
farewell is like the end
but in my heart is a memory
and there you’ll always be
– fox and the hound, “goodbye may seem forever”.

I haven’t said she was a cat simply because it doesn’t matter to me. I adopted her, raised her (and sometimes she raised me) and loved her for almost 16 years (and she me for her entire life). She’s my baby girl and always will be. I’m exhausted and deprived of a social life, because of her illness, but that doesn’t change that I would endure it to be able to kiss her little pout, head bump in the staircase like equal beings, stroke her soft cheek till she falls asleep and see her wake up with an adorable disoriented expression. My world has turned dark, empty and lonely. The pain is strong; that doesn’t change just because she wasn’t a human – she certainly wasn’t just a normal cat to me and those who knew her well.  

Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
– A. A. Milne

Sometimes animals are like humans and sometimes humans are like animals. The world should know there has been few humans in my life with a love like hers; unselfish, pure and unconditional. She taught me that love exists, she taught me to be a trooper and she will always be irreplaceable to me.

 

In loving memory of Tigera Qvam,

June, 1999 – March, 2015

Thank you for getting me through, one day I’ll see you again. 

Sleep in peace my little Queen, mommy loves you – Always.

  

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