The last entire moon-cycle I was mostly in my own bubble, because something most awful has happened; we had to say goodbye to our beautiful girl Nola. In no way I was prepared for this and the way it happened was a nightmare. I literally had nightmares about this and now it became reality. The reason I decided to write a blogpost about this, is because I still find it very hard to talk about it, everything I want to write about it will be too long for an Instagram caption and because writing always helps me to process things. Apart from all that, it will also be a way to honour No
Almost every week I look after 3 girls for a few hours and exactly 1 month ago I was spending the night there (8-9 October). Diogo stayed in the van, parked a few kilometres away (as the track to the house is not very good for the van) and the cats were at home, on the land (they have food, water and shelter when we are not there). When I came back the next morning, Diogo told me that he didn’t know where Nola was. I started calling her and looking for her. Almost directly I walked to the road, which is a 2-3 min walk from where the van was parked. I kept calling her, but when I came to the road, I saw her little body motionless on the side. I hoped with all my heart that it was a piece of plastic that happened to be the same size as her or that I was just imagining it.
Diogo crossed the road (which is not a super busy road, but also not a quiet one and people speed a lot) and confirmed that it was her. I can’t really describe in words to you what happened then, but I will give it a try. It was like I could feel the connections between the neurons in my brain in a very disorientated, flashing way. I couldn’t think straight anymore, the ground beneath my feet wasn’t there, the world was standing still and I screamed and cried like I’ve never done before. My brain tried to sort of make scenarios where it wasn’t true and this made me say over and over again that it isn’t real. It jumped from reality to pretending. I think my body was in survival mode, trying to make me cope. It felt like a nightmare, that I actually dreamed a few times before. Her being hit by a car and someone stealing her were my biggest fears when it came to her. This time it wasn’t just a nightmare though, but this time I actually saw her lying next to the road. My little, most beautiful and precious baby girl! An image I won’t be able to forget.
Diogo was crying a lot as well, but tried to guide me back to the van, trying to keep me on my feet, because my legs were not working anymore. Halfway I sat down in the middle of the track, still crying, screaming, gagging and repeating my mantras; ‘this is not real’ and ‘not my Nola’. I never felt this awful in my entire life. The pain was unbearable. It still is to be honest. On the way I also called my mum, but all I could do was scream and cry and my mum didn’t understand a thing of what I was saying. I called her again later when I was a little calmer. When we were back at the van, Diogo got a blanket to go and get her. He stayed away for quite a while as picking up her little injured body was the hardest thing he’s ever done. He told me that he also never screamed that loud to find the courage. When he was back we cried together, not knowing what to do. We just paced around from one side to another, Diogo holding her in a blanket. He didn’t want me to see her because of her injuries. I doubted about this, but decided it was probably best as seeing her next to the road was already traumatic enough.
We cried for about 1,5 hour like crazy, which felt like a day and also like 5 min at the same time. Time didn’t seem to exist. I then really wanted to go back to the land to see the boys (the cats) as they would give me some comfort. I’m not sure how exactly, but I got in the van and my body went on automatic pilot and drove the van back to the land, which is about a 40 min. drive. I felt like a zombie, but seeing the boys was what kept me going. I cried whilst driving, with Diogo holding her in the blanket on his lap. The idea that her little body was actually in there was unthinkable. When we got back Mozy was waiting for us right in the middle of our Little Valley, but I couldn’t see Otis anywhere. I thought he was probably at the house, so we walked over there, called for him, but he wasn’t there. We walked all over the land calling for him, but there was no sight of him. Normally he comes straight away when he hears me as he is obsessed with me and I with him. We thought he is probably somewhere where he can’t hear us for now, so we gave it a rest.
We waited to bury her, because I wanted Otis to have a chance to say goodbye as Nola was very important to him. When we found Otis when he was 7 weeks old, very confused and desperate, Nola was the first animal he saw and she was a great comfort for him from the very first second. They always had a strong bond. But in the end of the day, after calling him again and again he was still not there. We didn’t want to wait longer as it would soon be dark, so we decided to find a place for her, hoping he would show up in time. It took us a while to find a good spot. I wanted her to be on top of the hill, but after 2 attempts in different places it was impossible, because every time we were abut 30 cm deep there was only rock. A little lower, a place that we can see from the van, the ground was better, so it was clearly meant to be for her to be buried there. When we (Diogo) was digging I saw huge rock through the bushes a few meters away and it turned out to be the perfect rock to put on her grave. Diogo put her in the hole, so I didn’t have to see her and we let Rumi and Mozy say goodbye. He then covered her body with a bit of sand and together we did the rest of the sand, with a lot of tears we said goodbye and how much we love her. When we put the beautiful rock on top I sowed some Marigold flower seeds around it and Diogo spoke some beautiful words:
“Thank you Nola, for brining so much joy to our lives by bringing joy to others, especially children and also adults. Everyone loved you. I’m sorry for not protecting you better today. I love you.”
I thought it was very beautiful, because this is exactly what was so beautiful about her. She was like a magnet and made everyone smile and gasp. People felt love and compassion in their hearts and she always made everyone’s day. Including ours. She was such a perfect dog. So incredibly gentle and sweet, to everyone. She was so brave despite being only 1,6 kg’s. She protected Rumi and the boys whenever she noticed that they were scared, no matter what was the threat. She literally would put herself in between them and the ‘danger’. She was so cuddly, funny and clever. I miss her so much and I always will. Her little ways.. like the way she talked to me when she wanted to come up on the bed, the way she always told us it was around 18:00 and it was time for her dinner, the way she would sit down when I asked her to ‘stay’ to pick her up, the way she would turn on her back to show her tummy and kept asking for tummy rubs, the way she would wait excitedly with her little tail up, next to the kitchen counter when I was cooking as she knew she would get some veggies. I also miss her smell as she always smelled so nice, the feeling of her little body, her little nose, her little wagging tail and just everything about her.
We have so many beautiful memories together. We went on hikes together, traveled together, converted the van together (with a special bedroom for her) and visited London many times. She was always with me, I always took her everywhere and smuggled her into cinemas, shopping malls and festivals. She would come to the Netherlands with me at the end of the year and we’d make the long ferry trip together just so she was able to come. The way we set of to Portugal together and how she loved the warmer climate here. I will cherish all of these and more forever.
I thought about taking her with me when I slept at the family’s house that night, but I thought it would be nicer for her to stay in the van. If I could only go back in time.. but I know there is nothing I can do and that it was meant to go like this, because otherwise it wouldn’t have happened this way. Diogo feels very guilty, which I understand, but I do not blame him. He was working that night and went for a quick wee. As he was rushing, we think that Nola jumped out at that time, but he didn’t notice. She doesn’t jump out of the van that often, let alone to wonder off in a place that she doesn’t know it. Maybe she went to look for me, but we will never know. All we know is that she made her way to the road. There is no need for guilt, because it was an accident. They happen, even though this one is devastating. She died at Full Moon, in Aries, my moon sign. It can’t be a coincidence. It was her time to go, to leave us. She served her purpose and that came to an end that night. It hurts so much, I’ve never felt this heartbroken in my life, but even though we all have to learn to live without her, she will always be with us in a way. She had such a positive and loving energy and her soul will never be lost.
Otis didn’t come back that day btw and also not the next or the next.. it was so difficult not to have him with me. It felt like losing 2 of my babies in 1 day. I love Rumi and Mozy very very much, but I have a very strong bond with Otis as I had with Nola. I begged the universe to guide Otis back. We walked again all over the place, on both sides, on top of the hills, calling for him, but nothing. I couldn’t help but ‘seeing’ his dead body somewhere, wherever we went. Thinking about the worst possible things that could happen to him. I still had hope, but I was also so heartbroken, that it sometimes felt easier to give up. Then, exactly a week later (even around the same time we think Nola jumped out of the van) in the middle of the night from Saturday to Sunday I suddenly woke up like I wasn’t sleeping at all (it was a weird moment), because I heard a sound outside the van that didn’t sound like Mozy or Ganga (the cat who lives here as well). Diogo opened the door and there he was!!! It felt like I was dreaming, but he was really there! He was very skinny, confused and disorientated. We gave him food and he ate like a crazy person for 15 min and then calmed down a little and ate for almost another 15 min. Only then he came to cuddle and he was so happy! He purred and purred and purred. At one point I hugged him quite tight as he pushed his mouth against my face, like he always does and he then bit me in my cheek in an almost uncontrolled way (biting is the highest form of affection for cats). I could feel his love so clearly. His bite was coming from the same feeling as my tight hug. For 1-2 seconds we felt like 1 and I know we both felt it. It was such a incredible moment. We cuddled for over an hour and then both fell asleep. I’m so grateful for him to be back! It was the most difficult week in my life, but him coming back really felt like a little light in the darkness. It took him a full week to come back to his normal self though. Only when he was around his normal weight we noticed that he was becoming more like him self again.
I’ve had many many messages about what is going on, sending me love, hugs and asking me if there is anything you could do for me. Even though nobody knew what was going on. Until now only a few people know what happened. Not because I didn’t want people to know, but because I wasn’t able to talk about it and somehow I also couldn’t handle anyone’s reaction to it yet, even though I know they would have been loving and supportive. I just didn’t feel ready, it was nothing personal. I decided to cancel everything that was going on in my life and to just be in my own bubble. We did a lot of gardening the last month, which has been very therapeutical. Last week I slowly started to pick things back up again. It’s been quite hard to do this. It still feels so hectic in my head and I’m struggling with having discipline and order. It’s a process.
Nobody can really take this pain away from me/us and I also do not try to push it away. It’s ok for it to be here and to grieve. As many asked me ‘is there is anything I can do for you?’, I was thinking, maybe you can honour Nola in some way. Maybe you have something that you could name after Nola. Maybe there is a special dish you serve in your cafe/restaurant that you can call after her, maybe you have a webshop and you can name a product after her or maybe you create recipes and you can call a recipe after her.. something like this. That would be really nice, to somehow still spread her positivity and love. Or maybe whenever you eat blueberries think of her, as that was her favourite treat. We are planning to buy a blueberry bush and plant it on her grave, to honour the memory of her.
Thank you for reading til the end. Sending you lots of love, X