Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Bonnie's last day

As you know it was Bonnie's funeral yesterday at 1.30pm GMT. When she was taken ill so suddenly on Monday 7th of last week and passed away on the following Tuesday 8th September, I was devastated.

I had been through good and bad with this funny little white fluffy dog, she had fought to stay with me all her life, from puphood to her passing. Always poorly, hardly a month without something wrong, yet she was always happy, smiling with those cute little glossy black lips, and her tail was wagging more than it was still. I loved her to the moon and back, and had swallowed my pride when she was diagnosed with SARDS and Cushings, and had to ask total strangers to help me keep her alive by donating to her vet treatment fund, as I couldn't afford it and couldn't bear the thought of having her put to sleep.

She was so popular on Twitter that her pals and hooman followers alike all rushed to help, it was so touching, so emotional and so wonderful, and I will always as long as I live be ever grateful to each and every one of you for doing that. You kept her alive and she repaid you with her help and advice and her love.

So when she passed away it was not only devastating for me, but for you too. You all loved her, she touched each and everyone of you, and the outpouring of grief and love shown by you I've never seen before.

I didn't feel alone in my grief, you shared it with me, as you had shared her ups and downs throughout her journey of life while you knew her on Twitter. You were and are and always will be very special to me and I will never forget how you have supported me emotionally. It is something quite special.

When dear Bonnie passed away, my world fell apart. I had never mourned a dog as much. Maybe because she was so vulnerable, so brave, so poorly, so happy, or that she suffered those last 24hrs of her short life. The physical pain in my chest was unbearable. As you know I'd already lost 2 cats this year and my brother. I have no other family so my furbabies are my family. And so to lose the most important member of that furbaby family was like being stabbed in the heart.

So in my grief, I wanted to do something so that her short life was not in vain. I'd already dedicated thefureverbook.com to her, not thinking she'd be mentioned in it so soon, and this blog was started to help people with a dog or cat with a disability, or similar conditions to those Bonnie had. And I'm proud to say it has helped many pawparents.

But this was a different feeling, I'm not sure if it was my idea, Bonnie's idea, or a joint effort, but I wanted to show people that they could visit their furbaby's funeral or if they couldn't face seeing them to just attend the funeral. So that's why I took my heart in my hand and gathered as much strength as I could muster, with your help my friends, and decided to go to her funeral. I felt it was something I had to do personally anyway to say goodbye to my very special girl, but also to show others it is possible. I had no idea how much help it would be to my own grief. The change was incredible, as you will read further on in this article.

Some of you will remember that Bonnie had sent me 2 signs that she was ok. My Magnolia Stellata, which had bloomed in the Spring was now in bloom again, I picked a blossom and brought it indoors to press it later so I could keep it along with my other keepsakes of Bonnie. Then I noticed a solitary dandelion seed trapped in a spiders web in the corner of the window, so that too was brought indoors, wrapped in tissue and kept safe. Later I will get a picture frame box to put them in along with a lock of her fur.

I have shared everything with you my friends, since darling Bonnie passed away, for two reasons, firstly to let you know what was happening because you all loved her so and secondly because it helped me in my grief to cope with her loss.

I'd already done the flower arrangement for Bonnie the night before her funeral, some white roses and sunflowers with tiny butterflies on them. They looked lovley. I thought these would be the only flowers Bonnie would have, how wrong I was.

Biddy's mum Shirley arrived at 11.30am. The weather was terrible and I'd been desperately worried about her driving 3hrs to collect me, but thank goodness she'd got here safely.

As Shirley and myself travelled the hour's journey to Penwith Pet Crematorium there had been an accident and the traffic was travelling very slow, at snail's pace. By 1pm we were still crawling along and it looked as if we wouldn't make it in time, so I rang the the Pet Crem and explained where we were and that we were worried we would miss Bonnie's funeral.

The man was very understanding, and told me not to worry because he would wait until we got there. Shortly after, thankfully the traffic began to move more freely.

The weather had now brightened, and was dazzling sunshine wth a bright blue sky with huge white fluffy clouds. We spotted Bonnie in many of them.

We had put the co-ordinates in the sat nav and it seemed to have a mind of it's own. As we got nearer we turned off by it's instructions and ended up driving around country lanes with high banks each side, crammed with wild flowers and grasses still waving their seed heads in the wind. I think we were both worried we wouldn't find the Pet Crem let alone arrive within a reasonable time, but then as we went round a sharp bend in the road, there it was on the right hand side.

The time, amazingly was 1.25pm. How we'd arrived with 5 minutes to spare is a mystery but thank goodness we had.

We turned into the gravel drive, and drove up towards the buildings. We parked outside the wooden barn type structure, alongside the horse orchard. When horses are buried there, they plant an apple tree on each grave, and their names were on slate markers under each tree. A small statue of St Francis of Assisi peeped out out from a brightly coloured flower border at the side of the orchard gate.

As we got out of the car the man came out and welcomed us, and told us some flowers had arrived from California earlier and that they were next to dear Bonnie in the chapel of rest. Thank you @HoneyDogKimura so much they were beautiful and now stand next to Bonnie's casket.

The man opened the chapel doors and there was Bonnie, on a brocade covered bier in a blanket lined wicker basket, wrapped in a brightly coloured crochet blanket. She looked so peaceful, her little head resting on the blanket.

Biddybt went over and stood up to look at Bonnie and pay his respects, it was very touching.

I touched Bonnie's fur, and ears. She was very cold, her eyes were closed and she looked just like she was asleep. As soon as I touched her the grief left me. It was swept away by an overpowering feeling of peace and love. I can't explain it, but it was wonderful. Shirley noticed a white feather caught in the strands of the blanket she was wrapped in and pulled it free and placed it on the blanket by her shoulder.

Shirley read the note from ZombieSquad HQ, which I have videod and will put on Bonnie's youtube channel this week, and then I read my personal note to Bonnie, which Shirley recorded.

We stayed with her for about 20 minutes, telling her about all her friends on Twitter who were thinking of her and helping her over the bridge. It was very special.

I then played the special song for her, but unfortunately the recording didn't work, but it didn't matter, the song was from me to Bonnie and she'd heard it. It was Cliff Richard singing Golden. The words seemed so apt.

We then left dear Bonnie and the man who had left us alone to perform our service, came back and told us it would be 2hrs before we could collect Bonnie's ashes. He asked me what type and colour of casket I wanted for Bonnie's remains, and I chose a dark wood one.

We decided to go to Mousehole to find somewhere to eat or have a coffee, we found a little pub, The Kings Arms in the tiny village of Paul, where we had a packet of crisps and a shandy (beer and lemonade) Biddy came in with us, and we spent a long while in there talking about everything and nothing passing the time. Sadly the pub had finished serving meals when we got there, but no matter, we were happy with our crisps. After that we went into the small ancient church opposite, the Paul Parish Church. We went inside and I took some photo's of the beautiful stained glass windows.

By now it was almost 3.30pm, and so we headed back to Buryas Bridge where the Pet Crematorium was.

Again the confused sat nav took us the wrong way, it kept wanting to send us up muddy farm tracks or into someone's private drive, but we eventually got on the right track and got back to the Pet Crem at 3.45.

While we were waiting we met another lady who was walking in the horse orchard. We asked her if she had a horse buried there, and she said no she was waiting to collect her cat's ashes. We gave each other a hug. I mentioned how wonderful it was to be with our pets right to the end and how much it had made a difference. No more waiting for days from when they passed away, wondering where they were or what was happening to them. Not knowing when they would be cremated and even more importantly when to expect their ashes back. I told her how it had helped me with closure and how I didn't feel the deep searing pain of grief anymore and that I felt happy and full of peace and she said yes thats exactly how she felt.

By this time we had all walked back to the building, and as we came near the chapel the man came out with Bonnies casket in his hands inside a white box, with a small spray of white silk flowers ontop. He apologised as he'd not asked me what I wanted on the brass plaque ontop of the casket and my mind went blank. The sight of the tiny casket sent all thoughts from my mind. My once happy, smiling, tail wagging little fat Westie was now inside that tiny box.

Shirley came to the rescue, bless her heart and said "What about 'My Bonnie'?" I thought that was fabulous and off he went to engrave the little plaque.

After a few minutes he came back, and we put Bonnie in the car along with the beautiful flowers, and headed back towards home. The sun was briliant by now and it had turned into a dazzling day.

As we got halfway home my mobile rang, it was the Pet Crem. A big bouquet of flowers had just arrived and they wanted to catch us before we got too far away so we could go back and collect it.

So we turned around and headed back. When we got there it was a beautiful bouquet from Zombie Squad HQ. Thank you my friends, it was breathtaking. The scent of the lilies was almost over powering in the car going home, and I can still smell them now filling the house with their perfume.

We headed home along the A30 and as we drove there were rainbow upon rainbow, one after the other, as if Bonnie was leading us home. It was amazing. Shirley said "You must have had one hell of a bond with each other, she has sent you so many signs that she is ok. You are blessed." I guess I must be, I've never experienced anything like it before, and doubt if I ever will again. She must have used all her strength in heaven to send me all those signs. Each one filling me with even more love for her.

We hadn't eaten all day apart from the crisps, so we called in to McDonalds and Shirley let Biddy out for a walk and I went in for the Big Macs. I'd had some vouchers through my door, so half the cost was paid by voucher, which was good. We took the Big Macs back to my place, and as I opened the door dear Mojo and Gizmo were so pleased to see us. They had been left 6hrs.

I have never left them that long before, 4hrs being the very most and then very rarely. But they had both been very good boys and rather than rush out to the garden to toilet they were more interested in jumping up and making a fuss of us. Eventually they calmed down and went out into the garden.

Shirley and I ate our Big Macs which were delicious, and then at 7pm Shirley headed home. Not long after the weather turned nasty again and down came the most torrential rain, I was so worried about Shirley but as you know she got home safely.

Last night I was so tired, drained infact. I went to bed, and where I'd not been able to sleep since my darling Bonnie had passed away, last night I slept like a baby. When I woke this morning there was no ache of grief, yes, I'm still sad and still miss Bonnie, but I feel more at peace and happy that I know she did everything she could to let me know she was in heaven and she could once again see, and run around like a pup with all her furpals who had gone there before her.

My friends, please ask if you can be at your pets cremation or burial. It's all included in the price you pay the vet, there's no extra to pay and it really does help the grief and gives you closure.

Bonnie's legacy will be to make this common knowledge so everyone gets the same chance I had yesterday. And I also want to start either a charity or non profit organisation where people can donate and when someone who cannot afford to have their beloved pet individually cremated or buried, they can get financial help from Bonnie's Fund. So she can carry on helping all furs in her memory. But it all needs organising properly, and a couple of dear friends on Twitter have said they will help me get it sorted out.

I'd like to thank you all for the cards, flowers, notes, DM's, tweets, emails everything. I am working my way through them all to thank you individually. They all mean the world to me. Thank you.

Well my friends this is not goodbye from Bonnie da Westie, this is just farewell. She has far too much love for her many friends to disappear into the clouds over Rainbow Bridge forever.

She will still be helping others, remember when there's a storm, the thunder will be her clattering about with her bedpans, and the lightening is just the storm flashing off those glitturball nickurs of hers and if there's hail stones, well they're just the lumps in her emena's she's throwing away. She will be all around us everywhere, popping up with something to remind us of her, and on a still quiet day you may even hear the twang of those heavenly rubber gloves.

So please don't feel sad about her leaving us, but please celebrate her life. She wouldn't want you to be unhappy, she always wanted to make you smile, and that's what she wants now. Be happy she is an angel, and remember her with happiness, she will always be in our hearts.

Once this old heart of mine has healed a bit more, she will be back as Angel Matron, helping other furs and people, and making us smile again. Because that's just what she does best. And we all love her for it.