Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Not Just A Cat

Last week our darling Fiz (click to open) died. 

It was so unexpected, such a shock. We had no reason to think she was poorly; only two weeks ago she had had her annual health check and booster jabs at the vet - all was fine, she was fine. 

Tuesday evening she curled up on my left leg while I had the baby on my right. I took a 'selfie' of her with no idea it would be her last photograph. After everyone was in bed, including me, Jon had a big play-fight with her and was left with the battle-scars to prove it. Something that hadn't happened for a long time in the post new-baby days. Her last play. 

Although Jon didn't find her until Wednesday early evening, we think she must have died sometime during the early hours, the nighttime, of Wednesday morning. After her last cuddle, last photograph, last play. 

That night Jon had slept downstairs because Lucas was under the weather and very likely to end up sleeping in bed with me. I wonder at what point she stopped sleeping on his legs in the night and went into her hammock.  At least she wasn't quite alone at the end, even if we didn't know it. I hope she didn't know it - she looked like she had so peacefully passed in her sleep. 

I still feel terrible that we didn't notice Wednesday morning, her there sleeping in her hammock under her scratch post. Her scratch post, under the stairs partially behind the armchair; in sight but out of sight, her quiet spot. 

Wednesday mornings are manic; sorting out Xander to go off with my Mum to school complete with his homework bag, school bag, swim bag. Sorting Zac to go off to nursery with all the spares he could possibly need incase he has a bad potty day. Feeding and dressing a little Luc and chucking food and water down for Fiz. Its a stress getting out of the door early enough to get Zac to a nursery breakfast. We whizz around. In all the commotion I couldn't remember seeing Fiz that morning, but that is no different from any Wednesday morning in my rush. Jon said he saw her on her hammock in the morning, but just assumed she was still snoozing. Why would he have any reason to think differently? Lie-ins weren't out of the ordinary for Fiz! 

When she was tiny!
I was out for most of Wednesday, only popping back for an hour between 10.30-11.30 before meeting Jon for lunch. I didn't notice her in her hammock - and even if I had I would've assumed she was just asleep. I had no reason to look for her - she didn't even cross my mind - it wasn't unusual for her to be hidden away snoozing somewhere through the day. Nothing was out of the ordinary, or so we thought. 

But while I was still at Xander's swimming lesson with the three boys and Mum in tow, Jon returned from work and realised Fiz hadn't moved from her curled up comfortable spot in the hammock. She'd gone. I came home to find Jon incredibly upset - and I just knew he was going to tell me someone had died, but didn't for a minute expect him to say Fiz. I feel so sorry that she led there all day unnoticed - even though I know it would've been traumatic for the children had the discovery been any other way. At least Jon finding her in an otherwise empty house meant we could shelter them. 

Her 9th and last birthday.
Only nine and half years old, young for a house-cat, it did not occur to us to consider she may die yet. I honestly expected for her to be with us for at least another six plus years.We phoned the vets and took her there to arrange her cremation. Cried many tears and said our goodbyes. 

Once upon a time I wouldn't have understood why someone was so upset about their animal. I'd never had a pet before Fiz. Of course this hurt doesn't remotely compare to the grief we already carry with us every day, it is but a drop in the ocean; we've been through worse and we'll be ok when our low subsides.  But none-the-less, we're feeling so very sad and cut-up about her loss. These have been teary days. Fiz was one of us, our fur-baby. She deserves our goodbyes. She had been such a comfort to us so often and it didn't feel like it was her time to go. So please indulge me as we adjust to Fiz no longer being with us. 

It is only now in her absence I realise just how much space she actually took up in our hearts and home. She was everywhere. 

The scratch post behind the armchair, where she died. The food bowls with left-overs still in. The food box still in the cupboard under the sink. The cat hair on the curtains, on the carpet, all over the rainbow rug, cat hair we were blind to before. The scratches all over the drawers in our wardrobe where she once got stuck. The wrecked arms and bottoms of the chairs where she had clawed. The frayed carpet on the bottom step. The claw marks on the carpets. 

The space she took up on the bed resting against our legs. The silence of her bell, not realising how that sound filled the day before. The silence of her miaow begging for a tap to be turned on in the bath or her bowls to be filled. The thud from upstairs when she jumped off the bed. The space on the bay window sill where she slept, sunbathed, or ran to greet us when she heard the car on the drive. The silence of her nightly ritual of carrying her favourite 'mousey' around and miaowing after everyone else had gone to bed. Mousey that she had had since a kitten. 

Her no longer trying to invade soft places, padding on legs, our dressing gowns, the baby blankets. No longer arguing with her about coming out from under the boys beds at their bedtime. No longer finding her curled up on the boys chair in the playroom or sunbathing on the rainbow rug. No longer finding her snoozing on the bed. No longer having to shout 'Watch the cat' whenever the front door is open or strategically closing it behind us.  No longer having to worry about how to rearrange the bathroom to fit her litter tray in as Lucas now needed the box bedroom. No longer having to worry about arranging kitty-care when we go away - only hours before we found her I had text my Mum to ask her to feed Fiz the weekend when we go to my Godson's christening. No naughty cat chewing on the Christmas tree and knocking baubles off this year. 

Her first photo - 20th June 2007
Remembering when we went to get her from a farm. 20th June 2007.  Our home became her home. Me, initially unbothered either way if we had a cat/pet or not but so quickly falling in love with that tiny tiny little kitten. Her mother had died so she was hand-reared from birth and had only ever known human contact. Remembering how she loved to be rocked and held just as if she was a human newborn baby. Remembering even now how she liked to be held the very same way. Remembering how we named her - The Tweenies. Remembering when she could fit in the palm of Jon's hand. Remembering her kitten collar was still in with my jewellery and comparing it to the collar we took off her as we left her at the vets to keep.

Remembering that we used to give her a bath and that she even enjoyed playing in the water when she was little, chasing bath toys. Remembering why she was a housecat - although interested in the outdoors, in those kitten days she never ventured far from home  - just up the path and back - and would be outside the front door crying as soon as it was shut - we decided to keep her in and out of the outdoor world harms way. 

Remembering the time we got locked out with her in our arms, the car journey to my Dad's work with her loose on my lap (as a passenger) to recover some keys to get back in. Remembering the day of her great escape on to my parents roof when we lived there. Remembering she was a cat that had her birthday celebrated with presents, Christmas too. 

The Great Escape

Realising the bizzare conicidence that she also died on the 16th, to go off for cremation on the 21st and her ashes returned to us on the 28th; numbers that were already so ingrained in us with Belle. Realising they also fall on Wednesday's and Monday's albeit a different month and a different year. Realising in the messed up world we had more time, more photos, more memories with our cat than our daughter. Realising how well she adjusted to two house-moves and children - undoubtedly less showered of attention with each boy arrival but loved by us all in buckets. Realising from the 851 photographs we had taken of her just how much Xander especially adored her.

With Xander

With Zac

With Luc

Over the next few weeks we'll arrange our final special goodbye and sprinkle her ashes with Belle in her garden. Finally having her successful great escape into the outdoors. 

Her last photo - 15th November 2016

Not just a cat. 

One of us. 

We miss you already.

30th April 2007 - 16th November 2016 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Big is FIVE!

There is nothing like a new baby to make you reflect just how grown up the biggest child in the family is. Alexander is now five. Five whole years since he was a small baby like Lucas. Time really really does move so quickly.

I find myself feeling quite emotional when I look back over his birthday slideshows; my annual memoir of the year passed. All the wonderful photos that show how he has changed, the things he’s done, the places he’s been, the things he has learnt and the memories we have made over these last five years.

Our first rainbow. He makes us so proud.

Maturing all the time, he is thoughtful and sensitive. Becoming more and more the deep thinker; beginning to ask us about lifes bigger questions, about babies, about life, about death, the world around him, how things are made. He is so ready to know and learn and interested in everything.

Xander continues to thrive at school, finishing nursery class with the most awesome end of year report and is thoroughly enjoying Reception. Starting full-time school (link) felt like an end of an era for us at home, the end of his infancy and the start of an exciting new chapter for him. Our grown up boy.  The Reception teacher is as enthusiastic and brilliant as his nursery team and Xander is so clearly engaged at school. But boy he has been tired and struggling with the full-time aspect. The whole of September was pretty horrendous at home for tired meltdowns. Quite the Jekyll and Hyde at times.  Although he has started to get used to it now and October saw definite improvement, Thursdays is his wall and we know about it after school towards the end of the week. Back to school after half term today and it was pretty clear how exhausted he was again after the week off and then back to it.  School is a full-time job and he is still so little really! 

Once upon a time a baby, now a school boy. So much growing in five short years.  Please time slow down, my Big is getting so big! 

Darling Xander. We’ve had such a wonderful time celebrating your fifth birthday. You had mentioned your fifth birthday nearly every day since your fourth; I hope it lived up to your year-long expectations! You made plans. You wanted a Transformers party and didn’t deviate from it, you wanted Nana to make you a Transformers cake. So Transformers it was.

We invited Bumblebee Bot to visit you at your party which you thoroughly enjoyed, although we discovered you were not fooled – you later told Nana that you knew it wasn’t the REAL Bumblebee and that he was a man dressed up in a costume, because you could see his hair coming out at the back. But then you are never easily fooled my boy and definitely bright and switched on.

You are so eager to learn. You talk incessantly now, always asking questions and trying to discover everything there is to know about everything. You’ve mastered the art of persuasion absolutely and have an answer or ‘solution’ for everything to try and make things go your way!

Tonight we’ve had parents evening at school and inquisitiveness is paying off; you’re happy, well-adjusted, settled, well-behaved and doing so well – scoring within Outcome 3 in your Reception baseline and working towards achieving Outcome 4 at the end of this school year. I know this means very little to you, but it is fantastic for your age! Being happy and trying your very hardest in school is all we want from you but we are so pleased and proud of everything else too. Well done little man!

At five your favourite things are still Transformers Rescue Bots (of course), as well as little ‘big boy’ Lego. One of your favourite places to go is the Lego shop. You recognise when you’re in Cardiff now and always ask if we can go to the Lego shop while we’re there. You are so creative with the Lego. We’re always so impressed with what you build, just from your own design – you seem to have a natural flair!

Just a few of the things you’ve been really interested in since your last update; electricity and what things work with electricity, space and rockets and going to the moon when you’re a grown up, more recently asking us what makes a baby and who came out of whose tummy, and death. Still asking more and more complex questions about your sister and death.  

You can be so funny now, even when you don’t mean to do. Over the last few months I have been noting down some of the things you’ve said, and they definitely need recording here for you to read when you are older:
  • ·      Mummy, when the baby comes out will you go back to your normal size?
  • ·      Mummy, when you go to work you’re a teacher and look after children, but when Daddy goes to work he just disappears doesn’t he?!
  • ·      Calling Nana, Nana Villians (her surname is Villars)
  • ·      I referred to you children as ‘your children’ to Daddy – you piped up with – Mummy I am your child because I came out of your tummy.
  • ·      Talking about people who make rockets with Daddy. Daddy said you needed very smart people. You replied ‘I was very smart when I wore my graduation clothes’ – Daddy didn’t mean that kind of smart!
  • ·      You asked who planted flowers around town. Daddy said ‘council workers’ to which you said a totally random ‘Never heard of it’.
  • ·      Calling testicles – testiballs.
  • ·      I can do magic Nana and make things disappear. Watch, you say, as you take a massive bite of a banana to make it disappear.
  • ·      Telling us you need to listen to Daddy’s music to practice for when you are a Daddy (by which you mean Metallica or Queen or the like!

In your starting school blog (click to open) I said that it felt like the end of your infancy. The signs of you growing up are there. Things you used to love, even only six months ago, now appear to babyish for you. Like tots classes when I take you along with Zachy; six months ago you still got stuck right in, now, you sit on the fringe and appear self-conscious at times with the babies and toddlers, only joining in for the more grown up or interesting parts or to take a baby under your wing.

And you are grown up! Your new little brother has shown me just how Big you are. He is so small and you feel like a giant next to him! You are revelling in being the ‘biggest of all’ brother.  You are so gentle and loving with Lucas, you talk to him all the time, telling him how cute he is. Lucas loves you and gave you his very first proper smile, of course you felt super proud about it.  You love to look after your brothers – although this sometimes comes across as being the third parent! You can be quite the bossy-boots with poor Zachy now, your policing or ‘I’m the biggest’ dealing of a situation ending in screaming and tears. But on the flip side you can be so encouraging and generous towards him too, and protective – often praising him or giving in to him and giving him the toy he wants and is demanding from you. I adore that kindness in you. You boys are so often one extreme or the other with each other now, playing and shrieking together beautifully in a shared game or fighting like brothers do. But still brothers in arms, my three musketeers, the Morgan boys. I still love watching you be a big brother.

My Big.

Five years ago I introduced you to the world with this photo (click to open)
You were so small back then. My baby. Our miracle.

Five years of healing your Mama’s heart, stitching together their broken bits. Filling it with colour. The first baby we got to keep.

Darling boy, we love you. Always.

Enjoy every minute of being five!

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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