Pippa Rea

Pippa's Journey with a Brain Tumour

Lighting the way

The following article was first published in the Australian Yoga Journal:

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Standing waist deep in water with rain falling on my face I reminded myself that I don’t believe in the phrase “everything happens for a reason”.  I do, however, believe in coincidences, circumstances, opportunities and fate.   That’s how I came to be in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Memorial Day 2016.   It was dark and I was wearing a now completely wet denim skirt and a black t-shirt, my hair was tied up in a pony tail and my bag slung diagonally across my shoulder tucked under my arm to try and avoid it from getting wet too.  Beside me my sons’ t-shirts were also damp from the soft sprinkling of rain and they certainly would have been more suited wearing board shorts in the beach instead of chinos.

A series of events over a twelve-month period resulted in me taking my two teenage sons to participate in the Annual Lantern Floating Ceremony at Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu.  The ceremony is an ancient Shinnyo-en Buddhist tradition representing the interconnection of past, present and future and carrying hope toward a peaceful and harmonious world.  Now, approaching its 20th year, Lantern Floating Hawaii themed “Many Rivers, One Ocean,” brings together all religions and sectors remembering loved ones passed.

Arriving at Ala Moana Beach Park in the morning to collect one of the 6,000 lanterns available we were expecting a long wait.  The line snaked through the lush park under the shade of the trees for hundreds and hundreds of metres.  The air was hot and humid and the grass wet from tropical overnight rain.  By the time it started to move at 10.00am the queue behind us was just as long as the one in front – thousands and thousands of people waiting patiently for their lanterns.  The first had arrived to secure their spot at the front of the line at 4am.  Families who make the ceremony an annual ritual had erected tents and marquees all throughout the park and along the beachfront from 3.30am.  One family I spoke to had been coming for 8 years.  They arrived at 2am but weren’t allowed into the park until after 3 to set up their tent.  Initially, they floated in memory of a family member who had passed prior to their first year.  “Now,” they said, “it is a tradition we will never miss.”  They are one of the first to arrive during the night every year and have their tent positioned so that their place naturally joins the queue about 50 metres back.

Music played, the waft of barbecues could be smelt from every part of the line, children ran around coming to and from the beach, people rode bikes or played games.  There were mattresses, beds, picnic rugs, umbrellas, fully equipped camp kitchens, bikes, toys, coolers, beach gear, tables and chairs; all stretching as far as you could see.  Food stalls are not prominent; the tent community bring their own.  All for just one day.  The scene reflected more of a party atmosphere or festival than a memorial ceremony yet everyone was still revered and I felt a sense of peace and calamity amongst both those waiting in line and those in their makeshift camps.

The queue moved quickly and collecting and writing on our lantern at 10.45am meant our wait in total was only an hour and a half.  The lanterns are environmentally friendly and refurbished by hundreds of volunteers each year to be reused the following one.  Marquee space is provided to write tributes and memories on the lanterns and many were then personalised further in other ways; mostly adorned with flowers and photographs or wrapped in leis.  We decorated ours with fresh frangipanis and photos.

Arriving back at the beach park later in the afternoon our anticipation was confirmed by the sheer mass of people who migrate to this ceremony.  No less than 50,000 adorned the beach and the park, yet, at the same time, there was no jostling for position or views.  It was apparent that some people liked to position themselves in view of the stage, some in front of the large screens, others in the water and others still stretching as far as the eye could see along the sand and around the curve of the bay.  Behind the stage there were even more people covering the rocky point that framed the southern rim of the cove.  Many people were simply wearing swimsuits, there were fully robed Buddhist Monks and everyone else dressed anywhere in between.  Most were barefoot.  We easily managed to position ourselves on the sand, directly behind the VIP area, in front of both the stage and a screen and with easy access to the shoreline.

The open aired stage, although elaborate in statuesque against the palm trees, was simple; pure white with soft subtle lighting continuously changing to compliment the setting sun.  Dramatic Japanese Taiko Drums were the feature on either side and a large cauldron sat high at the front ready for the ceremonious lighting of the “Harmony Flame”.

The ceremony itself lasted an hour and was a colourful and tranquil display of love, peace and harmony commencing with the haunting sound of the blowing of the conch shell out across the colourful beach where sand was no longer visible and the proverbial pin could have been heard to drop.  The sun dipped below the horizon across the water, it’s golden reflection rippling all the way to the shore.

Conversations with strangers confirmed that everyone was there to celebrate love, memories and remembrance:  the security guard who had lost his baby 14 years earlier; families who had travelled from around the world; the volunteer who had lost every female member of her family to cancer; the woman who was floating for a stranger she had met only very briefly but who couldn’t be there in person.  Lanterns were attributed to aunties, uncles, parents, grand parents and most sadly, children and babies.

As the incredible and moving spectacle of the floating began the rain started to fall.  Not heavy, but enough to make sure we were wet waist up as well as waist down.  Thousands of people waded out into the water without care for their clothing releasing their lanterns. The atmosphere was still revered and peaceful.  Even though we were amongst 50,000 people we could very easily have been on our own.  Gradually the bay filled with golden flickering lights; a breathtaking and heart-rending vision that spread and multiplied across the water as each lantern was released.

I thought to myself before we released ours it’s a shame it’s raining, but even so, it didn’t matter.  We released our lantern and pushed it out to join the others.  I watched it float away holding my boys tight and close.  I turned to see my friend busily taking photos of it drifting off.  Looking back out to the sea of candles I saw our lantern had come back.  I had a little chuckle to myself and pushed it away again.  Off it went and again it returned.  I gave it a harder shove.  Again it came back.  I thought they must all be floating back in, perhaps with the tide?  I looked at the other lanterns.  No, they were all slowly making their way out into the bay.  Ours was the only one that seemed to be going in the other direction.  I laughed and cried at the same time.  That was my daughter, always wanting to be with me; my daughter, my best friend, never leaving my side.  A woman had been watching me continually pushing my lantern out to no avail.  She came over to me and gave me a hug and quietly said to me, “It is tradition to say hello and goodbye to your lantern before you release it.  You must do this to allow it to float away.”  This time our lantern went out to join the others.  I must admit, I was a little sad that it did – I liked the feeling that it wanted to stay with me.

By this time the rain started to ease.  “You know,” the woman said, “in Hawaii rain is seen as a blessing.  It is cleansing and it brings healing, peace, growth and life.  Plus it provides us with the loveliest rainbows!  The fact that it started to rain as the floating of the lanterns began is very spiritual and beautiful.”

I looked at her, this woman I didn’t know who instinctively knew she needed to convey this meaning of rain to me.  Tears welled up more in my eyes and rolled freely down my face.  Before a cruel, inoperable and incurable brainstem tumour took the life of my 11-year-old daughter she had drawn a picture of her heaven.  Sitting on top of clouds her heaven was full of life with stars, music, birds, flowers, water, puppy dogs, bunny rabbits and a big yellow castle where she would live.  A long ladder stretched up to her clouds and underneath them was what I thought was rain.  She had corrected me though.  It wasn’t rain, they were the drops of water that I would feel on my face when she needed me to climb the ladder and visit her.

It was circumstances and opportunity that lead us to participate in the Lantern Floating Ceremony surrounded by so many people united together in emotions and gratitude of those gone before.  It was coincidence and destiny that made the woman approach me and explain about tradition and rain which invoked the memory of my daughter’s heaven and her wanting me to know we could still connect after she was gone.

On the 30th May 2016, 14 months and two days after my daughter passed I was standing fully clothed, waist deep in the tropical Hawaiian beach with drops of water on my face and floating lanterns as far as I could see.

That rain was meant to be.  It was fate.

The Lantern Floating Ceremony is held annually on Memorial Day at Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu.  

Anyone is welcome to participate in the lantern floating.  Lanterns are given out from 10am-4pm on the day or until they run out.

There is no cost or charge for floating a lantern.

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Nibbles

Nibbles came to us Christmas 4 years ago…..

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He fixed tummy aches, he joined birthday parties and they shared countless punnets of blueberries.  Pippa used to tell him he had a very fat bottom!

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Since the 28th March 2015 he has provided comfort and love and sometimes has even mistakenly been called Pippa.  He would knock on the door to get let in and without fail he would hop up to Pippa’s bedroom.  Every Single Time!  The first thing he did after she left us was to paw and snif at her bagful of clothes.  We have often found him on her bed, with her teddies, playing with her yellow dancing costume and just sitting or sleeping in her room.  He ate every flower that ever entered the vicinity of our back yard except for Yellow Jonquils planted for Pippa – those he would just sit in amongst and sometimes rub his chin on.  He has been known to sit up at the back of the couch and stare at the photo of him and her on our wall – no kidding!

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This Christmas he hopped into Pippa’s room one last time and went to his favourite sleeping spot beside her bag of clothes and her school bag.  He knew exactly what was happening and precisely where he needed to be.  He went to sleep peacefully, I left a candle on all night and he didn’t wake up.

We buried him in our back yard that he had so much joy in.  He is sleeping forever with a carrot, a flower and 2 photos of Pippa, but he is now hopping, running crazily and laughing forever in Pippa’s beautiful heaven….

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Pippa’s Heaven

Darling Nibbles and Darling Pippa……every single day hurts

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AIM BRAIN and Pippa

Sometimes a journalist has the task of sifting through mountains of information and condensing it into a story.  Sometimes that information is so technical it makes your brain ache.  The story needs to make sense to the reader and to do this the journalist has to assume that her reader knows absolutely nothing about the topic.  Finally, the story has to have a purpose to the reader – the who, what, when, where and why all need to connect.

This week a journalist at our local paper was given the task of reading through pages and pages of a global medical project.  She was then required to understand a complicated web of philanthropic funding that involves a Trust, two Foundations, a hospital, a research institute, a Doctor and the Federal Government.  Her task was to take all this information and make her focal point the link between Pippa and all of this.  On top of that, she had to fit it into a specific space and word count.  Often this can be where mistakes get made or the message gets lost simply because you have so much to explain and not enough words to do it.

Yesterday’s article in The Standard took the information and created the link to Pippa and her community and a better job could not have been done.

When Pippa was diagnosed and treated the only options her oncologist had were to try and extend her life whilst maintaining as much quality as he could for her.  I am forever grateful to him for giving us so much time with Pippa being relatively well and away from hospital and I will continue to help him with his research projects as much as I can.  To try and remove this type of tumour is impossible; it blends itself like the tentacles of an octopus into the brainstem from the inside.  The radiation therapy Pippa received were the same doses as an adult.  The steroid doses, higher than an adult.  The chemotherapy – one drug was an adult brain cancer drug and the other an adult bowel cancer drug.  With paediatric brain cancer there are no drugs specifically for children.  Her oncologist told me if there was a drug he could fly in for her he would.  If there was a hospital he could fly her to he would.  But there wasn’t either.

DIPG326(Pippa’s Trust) was set up after we donated the tissue to the Royal Children’s Hospital Tumour Tissue Bank at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.  It was the first brain tumour there to give a live cell line.  This means it can be shared as tissue, but also that the live cell line can be grown and multiplied and shared.  Then in turn each cell line grown from the original can be grown and shared again and again.  Currently DIPG326 (the name of the tumour when we saw it in a petri dish) has been shared in Canada, the USA, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

The Bank is 100% philanthropically funded by CIKA (Cancer in Kids at RCH).  DIPG326(Pippa’s Trust) sits as a small part of CIKA and holds money specifically to be used to assist research and collaboration into pediatric brain cancer via the RCH Tumour Tissue Bank.   Money there has come from small and large community fundraising, donations, raffles etc from the community, Pippa’s friends, Pippa’s cousins, Schools, local businesses and the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation (RCDF).

RCDF have acknowledged that the contribution made by Pippa’s vast community through monetary donations, volunteering and will continue to transfer annually to DIPG326(Pippa’s Trust) in honour and memory of Pippa.

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Connor’s Run this year is on Sunday 17th September and we have a team of 30 people running or walking for Pippa. There are possibly more that I don’t know about – I usually bump into someone I don’t expect to see.  The Run is 4000 people leaving from Hampton and St Kilda walking or running along the beachfront to the Yarra River boat sheds.  No less than 350 Volunteers are needed to join up and help make this day a great success again

Pippa’s oncologist is one of the lead investigators and co-chair of the AIM BRAIN PROJECT.  He and his fellows will work closely with other leads some of whom are also connected to Pippa. RCDF initially funded AIM BRAIN with the federal government topping up the remainder.  AIM BRAIN will genetically test and study the molecular make up of each tumour individually to allow for better outcomes and treatment.

After the federal government gave their funding the Tissue Bank were then required to be able to perform their part in the project – tissue samples for the project need to be stored and distributed.  DIPG326(Pippa’s Trust) is directly providing the funds for this.

I am grateful for the support I received from a number of charitable organisatons.  When your child dies you are asked numerous times whether or not you will be setting up a charity.  My answer was always the same – no, it would be remiss of me to do so.  Firstly, because I need to be able to provide and care for James and Patrick on my own and secondly because there are so many charities already dipping from the same pool.  Instead I help and support where and when I can.  From our own journey I know first hand what needs to happen, how things can be done differently and where there are gaps.  AIM BRAIN is the first of many projects and initiatives I will be involved in.

When James, Patrick and I toured the Tumour Tissue Bank another of the lead investigators on AIM BRAIN said something to me and it is something I think about often, more days than I care to count.  He said, “Virginia, DIPG is the most complex of all tumours.  So little is known about it that unlocking answers to DIPG could provide answers and cures to many more cancers.”  This is how my relationship with CIKA began, how my relationship with the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation evolved into an continual working relationship and the reason I will always support and work closely with Pippa’s oncologist.

Click on the links, Donate, Fundraise, Volunteer, share and send this blog even wider or simply for now, just pause for a moment and think about our children who had no chance because paediatric brain cancer research was not given priority earlier.

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It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cry if I want to

My birthday is on April Fool’s Day.  No Jokes.

For all my life I relished the date as an awesome day to celebrate a birthday.  It’s a day where silly announcements are broadcast over the morning news headlines, fooling many but not all.  Those who fall for it laugh at their gullibility and those who don’t give themselves a “you-can’t-fool-me” pat on the back.  It’s a day where, as children in primary school, we used to run around putting “pinch me” signs on each other’s backs or scream in horror pretending to see a massive spider on the teacher’s shoulder.  As an adult, it’s a day where my three children have put toothpaste in Oreo biscuits and ‘thoughtfully’ served me afternoon tea.  Or they’ve held on to their hysterical laughter just long enough for me to take a drink from my salt filled water bottle.

Yes, April Fool’s Day is a day where everyone seems to have half a smile on their lips waiting to see what will happen to make them or someone else burst at the seams with laughter.  What a great day April Fool’s Day is to celebrate your birthday!

Like most people, I’ve had many and varied birthday celebrations.   As years go on, we celebrate less or at least, in different ways.  Cards are not often sent and people now send text messages or post best wishes on Facebook timelines.  Many friends send me lovely birthday messages but in some I sense the struggle at using the word “Happy”.   Likewise, others are careful to construct a message sending love and wishes without using the word “Happy”.  Some friends send lovely lengthy words of kindness and kinship.  Beautiful, thoughtful birthday messages, every single one of them.

On my birthday in 2015 friends flocked to be by my side all day.   Several close girlfriends descended on my house for birthday dinner and drinks.  They bore gifts, they cooked, they ate, they drank, they cleaned up and they left.  They didn’t know what else to do so, as only women do best, they gathered.  I was not left alone for one minute.  I was grateful for the attention I received.   I did, however, request that they all leave my house at 8.30pm so I could be alone with my children.  It was not a party.  There was no celebration.  There never will be.  Yes, I’ll have birthday dinners or lunches, probably birthday drinks again, but that birthday will forever cast a dark shadow on April Fool’s Day for the rest of my birthdays to come.

It was a warm, balmy, summery day.  Unusual for the 1st of April.   My friends could have stayed and enjoyed the drinks and the chatter well into the evening.  They didn’t though.  They respectfully left in accordance with my wishes.  My children and I sat together, alone in the latter part of the evening.  We spent special quiet time on my birthday.  Time together and alone.  Time, we will never have again.

Then the time came.  10.00pm on Wednesday 1st April 2015; the night of my 44th birthday.  Late enough on such a warm evening that no one would be out walking their dogs.

On that balmy, false, summery evening, under the cloak of darkness, a vehicle reversed into my driveway.  The back was opened so that my two sons and I could view what was inside.  I quietly inspected it.  The boys, I could tell, were both surprised and moved by what they saw.   The mere sight of it took my breath away.  My heart simply froze and time stood still.  It looked exactly as I had imagined it would.  When the idea came to me months earlier, I didn’t realise it would arrive on my birthday, but there it was – my birthday present.  No one else had been able to visualise it like me.  No one else had the ability nor the clarity.  For me though, the vision had been very clear.  I was awestruck.

As my heart once again started to beat, without daring to move my gaze and in a barely audible voice, I whispered to the man standing beside me, “That’s just how I imagined it,”

“I’ve never seen one more perfect,” he quietly replied.

The two gentlemen calmly asked permission to enter our house.  My sons and I stood in the hallway as they wheeled a large metal trolley into Pippa’s bedroom.  They gently pulled back her Paris doona cover and carefully lifted her from where she had been lying for four days.  They placed my precious daughter on the sterile trolley, covered her up again and silently wheeled her out our front door.  It took less than a minute and it was all done in complete silence.

In our driveway, they rolled the trolley into the back of the hearse beside the white coffin I had especially designed for her.  Despite the warmth, a chill went down my spine as I stared once again at her casket.  It was covered in so many of her beautiful colourful drawings.   Drawings and words that had been created by her little hands.  The same little hands that would always, without fail, slip into mine as we were walking.

The largest drawing was a of big red love heart positioned on the centre of both sides with the word “Mummy” happily handwritten above.  Beside it, a perfect picture of a rose, “Mummy’s Rose”.  Puppy dogs, rainbows, birds, friends, suns shining and dolphins swimming, all covered the sides.  There was so much colour.  A picture of the Eiffel Tower adorned the top of the casket and the most exquisitely painted purple, yellow and blue butterfly majestically graced each end.

A cold, horrid white coffin had been brought to life through Pippa’s bright, cheerful, innocent drawings and paintings.

The men closed the doors and drove away.  Tears streaming down our faces, James, Patrick and I went back inside our house; our home that now had one less member of our little family in it.

The next day, two years ago today, on the 2nd April 2015, over a thousand people attended a celebration of Pippa’s 11 beautiful years in our life.  They gathered on the lush green grass under a tree canopied blue sky in the beauty and tranquility of the botanical gardens.  They watched photos and videos of Pippa come to life on a 5-metre screen.  They listened to her brothers and me speak her eulogies.  The duck pond surrounded by weeping willows and with its lily pads and quaint cobble-stoned bridge formed a perfect back drop for the service.

Finally, as she was carried through the crowd and over the little stone bridge to a reading from Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree, one thousand people were fascinated and transfixed, gazing in wonder at the beautiful casket – my birthday present.

April Fool’s Day is my birthday and now, every year, I will cry if I want to.
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Time Heals

Nope, it doesn’t!  

It may to some people.  It may in some circumstance.  Not me.  Not mine.  Time does not heal. Yes, things change, I have needed to reenter “life” but it will never be a carefree, life as I knew it before (everything now is time-lined to before, during or after) and there is always a shadow. My life now will always be fraught with obstacles and hurdles I need to get over; for want of a better word, milestones.  Some I see coming like a freight train.  They’re the obvious ones – the anniversary, the birthday, anyone’s birthday, Christmas, school years…  Others, hit you like a tonne of bricks when you least expect it.  A dog that follows you and then, when you bend down to look at it’s tag, you see it’s called Pippa.  A girl in the street wearing an exact same outfit as her.  A song on the radio.  A phrase.  A sound.  A smell.  Finding something you don’t expect in a cupboard…

It’s a farce to think you only have to make it through the first 12 months.  I think people tell you this to make themselves feel better.  “Once you get through the first year you’ll be right.”  Wrong.  They want to believe that once that first year is over you’ve gone through everything you need to.  It’s not true.  It all just keeps coming. And coming.  In fact, I made the mistake to assume that because I had made it through one birthday I could make it through another.  I couldn’t.  It was worse.  The second birthday without Pippa seemed to bring with it validation.  Reality that there was never ever going to be another birthday with her.  No birthday cuddles, smiles, kisses.  Nothing.  Ever.

Her second anniversary was today.  I felt physically sick and worse as the day went on.  The anxiety in the pit of my stomach just wouldn’t shift no matter how many deep calming breaths I took.  Then there’s everything else.  The primary school graduation.  That was hard – I didn’t function outside of it for the whole week.  The day where she should have started year 7 but didn’t.  Special occasions for James and Patrick where Pippa should be there, bossing them around and most importantly giving them proud little-sister hugs.  This is all just going to go on for ever.  The chasm is never going to close.  Today she’s missing from birthdays and school functions, in years to come she’ll be missing from weddings and births.  And everywhere in between are going to be all the unexpected heartaches that catch me when I’m least prepared.  It’s never going to end.

I don’t think it’s time that heals, it’s just a new kind of life.  A life without Pippa and it still hurts every single day.  I took flowers over to her memorial seat this morning and left them with a note.  I didn’t have to think for one second what to write on that note, I just used Pippa’s very own words:

“Every Second…Every Minute…Every Hour…Every Day…”

It doesn’t change.  Time can’t heal this pain.

 

I have not written here for a while.  Why? Because I tried to write for other reasons.  Reasons that weren’t intrinsic, reasons that were not based on what naturally flowed out of my fingers onto the keyboard.  Thus, I just stopped.  I thought as time had passed then I had to change why I was writing.  I was wrong.  So wrong.  Instead, words have piled up and up in my mind bursting at the seams to get out.  

I could write in a journal or just on a computer document, but I like doing it here.  Im not sure why here is different, but it is.  I can see that a lot of people still visit to read my posts or to see if I’ve posted anything new.  When I first started writing this blog I was just using it as a form of communication.  Now it seems to have become more than that.  I don’t mind that people from all over the world read my posts, that organisations refer other families to my blog.  I am glad to help and I am grateful for all the messages I have received from all over the globe both when I was continually writing and also those encouraging me to start writing again.  

Yes, I still wrote but not on here. One piece I wrote I will post here because it needs to be read by thousands of people.  Words and tears flowed in unison.  It was written for the right reason and that reason is simply to convey it to as many people as I can that may find themselves in a similar situation.  I hope that I can influence others to do what we did so when I post it, share it, please.  

Writing cleanses me and is far more beneficial to me than time. It is an important part of my calamity.  Sometimes, when I knew I really needed to cry but the tears felt like they were stuck, I would type a post and out they would flow.  It would make me feel so much better.  Exhausted, but better.  

I’m going back to writing for the right reasons.  My reasons.  

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Blooms of Yellow

It is so beautiful to see Pippa’s Pots bursting into yellow blooms!  The boys and I love receiving all the photos that everyone is sending us.  All the same but all so different with   many reminding us of Pippa’s long legs.  Some are indoors, some outside.  Some bloomed early and some are still waiting.  Some pots even bloomed on special significant days.  It truly is beautiful.  And for us it is comforting that these pots are bringing smiles to everyone – smiles for Pippa.

The bulbs in front of our house that Pippa planted in 2012 have been blooming continuously – each single bulb is now a large clump of many bulbs.  They have been able to provide us with vases of yellow jonquils inside the house and beside Pippa’s bed every week since they started to bloom.  The bulbs in the Pippa Pots will multiply meaning that each autumn they can be dug up and moved to a garden bed whilst still leaving one in the pot.

 

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The bulbs Pippa planted in 2012 – each clump starting from one bulb

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So many beautiful blooms

The most incredible story that is happening for us though is Nibbles.  Nibbles likes to bolt lightening fast into the house the minute the door is open and he then casually hops up to Pippa’s bedroom where he sniffs around and just hangs out until he’s ready to hop back out to the garden.  I even had to unzip a bag of her clothes that was under her bed because he would just sit there and paw at them.  Anyone who witnesses him doing this is pretty much left speechless.

However, as far as the jonquils are concerned Nibbles’ actions are just as spine chilling. When we first got Nibbles it was very apparent we could not grow anything – herbs, veggies, flower pots, even our chilli plant were all (“Nibbled”) eaten.  Flowers we have been sent all go to the back yard for Nibbles to enjoy between the house and the green bin. He’s not fussy, he eats them all leaving just the stalks.  In fact, Nibbles has even received his own delivery of flowers to happily nibble on!

When we were doing the pots up James wanted to plant some bulbs in a patch of dirt that Nibbles liked to roll around in…..none of us were too hopeful that they would get past the sprouting stage.  One day I saw Nibbles in the dirt with the green shoots certain he was eating them.  On closer investigation James reported that no, Nibbles was only scratching his neck on them.  Pippa used to pat him on his face and under his neck and he would go to sleep while she did it.

Incredibly Nibbles has left these flowers to bloom tall doing nothing more than sitting next to them.  Patrick once asked that perhaps if we became buddhist would Pippa be able to be reincarnated as Nibbles when she died?  We didn’t need to convert, but we all feel that Pippa is very much in Nibbles.

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