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Coping with Death

Facing my biggest fear in Rarotonga.

sunny 28 °C

A lady came to the animal clinic I was volunteering at and said, “I found this kitten on the road. It’s too young to survive without its mother. Should we put it down?” The moment the kitten grasped onto my finger, I knew I was going to take on the huge responsibility of becoming a mother. I named the kitten Milo. Since Milo was unweened, it only had a 50/50 chance of survival since it hasn’t received supportive care from its real mother. Every three hours, I fed Milo with a bottle of formula milk and stimulated it to defecate. I lost countless hours of sleep and was always stressed about it not getting enough milk. There was a point of time when I thought about giving up. Putting it down may end its misery and mine. However, every time it grasped onto my finger and twitched its ears as it sucks the bottle of milk, I sense hope and life. I realized that if this kitten has a will to live, then I should give him the opportunity.

I knew the responsibilities and risks that came along with taking care of baby Milo. The vet warned me that issues that could happen and I should always be prepared for the worst. I knew death could happen, but I put that in the back of my mind. Maybe if I had forgotten about these bad case scenarios, it wouldn’t happen. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works.

Today, I had my worst fear come true. I experienced death of a loved one in Rarotonga. I am the type of person that falls deep when it comes to relationships, whether it be friendship or kinship. And in Raro, I became deeply invested in my baby Milo. He passed away tonight. He was curled in my hands like he was peacefully sleeping. I put my face on his head as tears stream down my eyes and into his forehead. He still had the same smell of formula milk. As I wrapped him in a clean towel and saw him, I can’t help but blame myself. I cried in the shower thinking what went wrong. He was energetic and vocal one day and suddenly died in another. The other volunteers told me these unfortunate events can occur to any of the animals, especially for a kitten who has been hand-raised. I am still coping with the death of Milo, but I try not to let it interfere with my work in the clinic. Even though he is gone, watching him grow up during those few weeks was one of the most rewarding and honorable moments of my life. Baby Milo will always have a special place in my heart.


Posted by thewongway 19:47 Archived in Cook Islands Tagged islands island death animal cook kitten esther honey rarotonga milo foundation ehf

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