Storm was cremated on June 20th, 12.30pm...almost one week to the hour after I gently cradled Storm in my arms as she peacefully slipped from this world.
We made our way to the Cambridge Pet Crematorium by train...and on the way we passed through Sawbridgeworth...the village that Storm and Castle were born in and where we collected them from as kittens. We had no idea the train took this route - it was a very poignant moment for us and it triggered a few memories and raised a very teary smile or two.
Jo and I spent some time with Storm beforehand, she looked beautiful, we bathed her in kisses, stroking her, caressing every tiny part of that beautiful little girl that gave us so much love, and that we loved so much. Her paws were so soft still, her tail so floppy...and when we stroked her head and cheeks it almost felt as if she was gently headbutting us once more...
We took her favourite shoelace toy to her, along with a picture of her and Castle as kittens on one of their first days with us as a family, and another picture of them together which was taken on Storm's last morning with us.
We then placed a final kiss on her nose 'X' and made our way to the Gardens of Remembrance where we a laid a tiny cat-sized bouquet of flowers at the base of a tree, by a small lake, in Storm's memory...the tiny bouquet was part of a larger, gorgeous bouquet that Ben Vet and his colleagues sent to us in sympathy earlier in the week (pictured below)...it seemed like the right and most fitting thing to do, a gift from us all. We watched as Stormie, her shoelace and the pictures drifted into the sky in the form of a pure white, clean smoke...
We stayed in the Gardens for almost three hours, sitting on the bench beneath Storm's tree, whilst we waited for Stormie to be returned to us. It was such a beautiful and peaceful place, the Gardens are lovingly cared for, and so are the graves and memorials of all the pets within.
We were then reunited with Stormie..her precious ashes interred in a mango wood pot that Jo and I purchased in Thailand about 6 years ago from Khao Lak beach. We have another one which is exactly the same, this will be Castle's pot when it is his time to join his sister Stormie. We travelled back on the train, I cradled Storm and pointed out her birth place, Sawbridgeworth, as we passed through it once again...and then Storm was home again, where she belongs, with her family.
When we were first told that Stormie had lymphoma and that 6-9 months was the average survival time with treatment, our world fell apart, we were sad and we feared what lay ahead of us, how little time we had left. Was Storm going to survive past Christmas? Was it going to be 2, 4 or 6 months or less? Maybe 9 months? Dare we hope for more? From that initial diagnosis in December 2006 every day has been a blessing for us, extra time with our baby girl. When we hit the 9 month mark, the 'top' of the median survival time, we were overjoyed, it seemed such an impossible thing to have hoped for 9 months previously. However, even though Storm seemed normal and well and healthy, we always knew that inside her something wasn't quite right and that one day it would allow the lymphoma to return - for that reason every day really did become a special and cherished day, lived with love, not fear or sadness. When you know you are on borrowed time you make that much more of an effort to enjoy the things that light up your life.
Storm eventually made it to 18 months past diagnosis, beating the lymphoma twice...but sadly her little body just couldn't cope with the second battle, she had become tired. I hope that anyone who stumbles across this blog whilst searching for info on feline lymphoma will draw hope from it...although Storm is no longer here, she fought her fight and won it, she did not suffer and she had a normal quality of life...for twice as long as the best prediction. So, if you too are feeling sad and afraid please think of Stormie and remember how successful her battle with lymphoma was...it's not the end of the world, it's a new beginning...
Thank you to all of you wonderful cats and people on the cat blogosphere for making our blogging so much fun over the past year..and for being such a great source of comfort to us during this very difficult time. We thank our friends on Meezer.com, in particular Jeanie, who has been such a great support throughout and has known Storm online for about 10 years now. We also thank our families too for their love and concern.
Lovely Ben Vet, Caroline Vet, Nurse Ann, Nurse Jo, Nurse Jenna and everyone else at the vet practice - we thank you for giving us this time with Stormie; your care, dedication and love for our little girl was evident (and still is) and we will always be thankful for everything that you have done.
Stormie, we miss you so much, I can't put it into words because no combination of words can do justice to how much we miss you and love you. You are our special girl, always will be and will remain forever in our hearts.
You won in every sense of the word... now sleep tight little lady...love you always and forever, Linda, Jo and Castle xxx
Stormie, February 1st 1996 - June 13th 2008
I was chosen to day
I'm learning to fly
the world took me away,
but please don't you cry.
And I chose you today
to try and be strong
so please don't you cry
and don't say that I'm gone.
When you're feeling alone
just remember our love,
I'm up near the stars
looking down from above.
Remember our love
in a moment you'll see
that I'm still here beide you
When you're thinking of me.