Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bobby's last rites and send-off

The living has to continue living. Responsibilities have to be carried out. I still had to go to work today or 36 students would have come to college for nothing.

Luckily my husband could stay back until 10.30am before leaving for work and my mother could come over so Bobby would not have to be left alone.

I had arranged with James Kho (or Pet Memorial Services) to do the last rites for Bobby. James did Vixey's and Mac's some years ago. He is an extremely compassionate and kind-hearted person.

After work, I drove to the florist to buy some flowers for Bobby. No whites - we are celebrating Bobby's wonderful life and giving him a send-off. Pink would be nice; the colour of fresh, young, new life. Bobby is in a better and happier realm now, and we must wish him well on his new journey in his new life and be happy for him.

I came back home and my husband had just left for work. My mother was there with Bobby.

Here are some touching photos of Tiger, Indy and Bobby, taken by my husband while I was at work.

 Indy accompanied Bobby for hours.

 In sickness or in health or even in death, Tiger will always be ever grateful to Bobby.

It comes as no surprise that the cats love Bobby so much. Bobby is always giving and always forgiving. At times when the cats bullied him, he would never retaliate. He had never ever hurt any of the cats, not even unintentionally despite being blind. Once in a while, when he bumped into some of them and they are not in a good mood, they would scratch him, but Bobby would just move away. He never retaliated.

 Saying goodbye to his nanny, protector and best friend.

 Indy kept vigil.


 Tiger comes again.


 Indy stayed by Bobby's side throughout.

 My mother arrived and she brought a yellow covering from the Tibetan tradition for Bobby.

 Jasmines and yellow chrysanthemums for Bobby.

Indy still did not want to leave Bobby.

 My mother did her prayers for Bobby.

 Whatever cultural traditions we come from, last rites are very comforting for the living.

 It seems like Tiger wants to say his goodbyes, as much as he can.

 I came home and placed the pink flowers for Bobby.

In a way, Bobby had kept himself really "clean" for his departure. Over the weekend, I gave him his bath. He ate breakfast yesterday, then he defecated. He did not want dinner anymore and even vomited some digested food (maybe his stomach did not have any need for the bit of food anymore). He even allowed me to trim off all the stained fur from his snout and paws. Yes, Bobby wanted to go off really "clean" and neat.

My mother said when someone refuses food towards the end, it means he wants to leave the food behind for his loved ones because he cares for them. So, my mother said Bobby wanted to leave something valuable behind for all of us (symbolised by food). You'll see how culture has a way of giving meaningful and compassionate interpretations to certain actions. It's comforting for the living.

Bobby certainly left something very valuable behind for us - how he had lived his life, giving unconditional love to everyone who had ever crossed his path.

 Tiger stayed with me while my mother chanted. In between we also talked about all the good things Bobby had done, especially for the cats.

 Cow finally came to say goodbye too.

 I know, Cow. You're sad too.

James Kho arrived at around 1pm.

It was time for Bobby's final journey.

I remind myself that Bobby's spirit and consciousness have been reborn in a higher form now and he is happy in his new life. Funerals and last rites are for the purpose of paying respect to what he had left behind. They also give closure which comforts the living.

Keeping it as simple as possible, James said we would wrap Bobby in the yellow covering with the flowers and place Bobby in the icebox that he had brought.


 Goodbye, my dearest Bobby.
You are going to be a great person, doing great things, in a happier realm.

You can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him only that he is gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what he'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

David Harkin

My family and I would like to thank everyone who has sent kind wishes, emails, comments, facebook messages and smses to comfort us in our hour of grief. Thank you very, very much for your kindness. We are deeply touched that so many of you share our loss and love Bobby so much. We are deeply grateful.


Wong Yoke Mei said...

Bobby is very lucky to have been loved so dearly by so many, especially the cats.....It's amazing how the cats loved Bobby. Your paths will cross again soon. I'm sad for your loss but at the same time glad that Bobby will be reborn in a happier realm and a future to do great things....a way of giving back for the love he has received....

chankahyein said...

Thanks, Yoke Mei. Even in this life, Bobby gave more than he ever received. He is always giving, giving, giving and asking for nothing in return. Perhaps the only thing he ever asked for was to be near us, and that was because he wanted to protect us. Always on the giving end. Even when the cats bullied him at times, he never retaliated or hurt them in any way.

Connie said...

Bobby look so calm & peaceful.

adeline said...

Bobby will be born in a better plane. and may he be the guardian angel and watch over the animals and of course, your family too. glad ive met bobby, even if it was in the shop.

era said...

good bye bobby. uve have a really great life with a great family

PC Leong said...

Kah Yein, Bobby couldn't have asked for a more loving home when he came to this world. And I am glad I had the chance of meeting him in person that day. Rejoice for he is surely in a better & happier realm.

carol said...

Although I've only met Bobby on 2 occasions, I felt as though I knew him personally. Goodbye Bobby. You couldn't have had a better family.

Amy said...

condolences to you and your family.. good bye bobby u are a great example to follow.. may your be reborn to a better life.. take care too dr chan.. stay strong and hugs..

m-y said...

i guess 'what a wonderful world' by louis armstrong would be a suitable song to represent bobby's life.

CH said...

my prayers are with you Kah Yein....on the passing on dear bobby.....

Loving wishes from
(and Wine Dogs TB and EE)

below poem is taken from

I Stood By Your Bed

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shop today, your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.
I walked with you towards the house as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said "It's me."
You looked so tired, and sank in to a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It's possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to your with certainty, "I never went away."
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew....
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning
And say "Goodnight, God Bless, I'll see you in the morning."
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out... then come home to be with me.
Author Unknown

HM said...

Reading this post and finding out about Bobby's departure brought me into tears. He lived a truly amazing life, and you couldn't possibly ask him for more. Hope the cats are coping well.

pot said...

i cant stop crying ..... :'(

Linda Suhaili said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Dr Chan. I don't quite know what to say. I remember the pain I felt on losing Sweetie whom I only fostered for a couple of months and so I cannot quite imagine the grief you're feeling now. I do know that Bobby and the relationship he had with you, your family and your cats, fosters and all, have been inspiring to me and shall continue to live on in my heart and my memories as well as all the others who follow your stories. Stay strong and take care. Rest in peace dear Bobby. You will never be forgotten.

Janz said...

Hi Dr Chan, im sorry to for your loss. May Bobby RIP. He will never b forgotten...

Hillary said...

Dear Sister Kah Yein,

I'm sorry to hear about Bobby. He was one of the most compassionate dogs I've ever met that loved all your cats unconditionally. I think that his good karma led him to you whom gave him the greatest care and love, and he gained more good karma living with you and showing so much compassion to every animal you brought in. Even though he is gone, memories of his kindness will never be forgotten. May he be well and happy in his future lives.

Hillary, Christine and Siew Ee

Weiwen said...

Was going to email you when I got home from work. I read about Bobby today after some time of not reading your website. Haven't cried in awhile until now but for good reason. My condolences and we rejoice in the long, wonderful, inspirational and remarkable life Bobby has had. I can only hope the same for my own pets.

Simone said...

Dearest Auntie Kah Yein,

I have just heard about Bobby via Facebook. I am so sorry. He was such a great nanny to all the cats you've brought home. He even inspired me deeply and taught me more about love and compassion. You are so lucky to have a dog and companion like him.

Thank you, Auntie Kah Yein, for sharing about how life was like with Bobby and your fellow felines. You have taught me how to appreciate life with our pets even more.

Excuse me, while I continue bawling my eyes out for a little while. :)

Bobby will be dearly missed. He will always be in my thoughts.