Final arrangements

Bangsiri didn’t get a real funeral. The day she died, her vet recommended a funeral home, the same one where Tanpoong had been cremated, and I decided to send Bangsiri there too. Because Jane had shared pictures of Tanpoong’s funeral, I knew it was a trustworthy place and that the ashes returned to me would really be Bangsiri’s. Dr. Choi also said he’d sent his own dog there.

Unlike Jane, who had accompanied Tanpoong to the funeral home, I decided not to go with Bangsiri. After she died I asked Dr. Choi to dress her in her pink shirt and wrap her in a plaid blanket. I chose that shirt and that blanket because they were clean—really, I would have preferred to use her pink blanket, but it was dirty. Most of her clothes were dirty too. After she died I tried to find a new pink blanket for her at a Daiso store near the clinic, but I couldn’t, so she went to the funeral home wrapped in that plaid blanket.

I decided not to go with her, partly because I thought it would be too sad and partly because of work commitments. The funeral home was far away—a driver could have taken me there, but I would have had to find my own way home.

It occurred to me later that I could have asked for a postmortem MRI exam to find out if there had been a tumor or other undetected problem causing her so much pain. I wouldn’t have wanted her body disturbed, but I wish a noninvasive option had been offered so I’d have some answers.

When I look at pictures taken over the past year, I wish there were more. There are only a few outdoor pictures from the summer, and only one video from May where she really seems happy out on a walk. I have some happy pictures of her from June and July—in most of them, she’s napping on my bed or on a blanket—but in August and September there are more sad pictures than happy ones. I suspected she was close to the end of her life by September and early October, but I hoped I was wrong. Bangsiri’s main vet, Dr. Choi, warned me that the time might be getting close, but there was never any real palliative care phase. She still went to the local clinic for her daily medicine right up until the day before she died, even though she was growing more and more anxious with every vet visit. Another thing that confused the issue is that she still had a good appetite right up until the night before she died—even so, she couldn’t regain the weight she’d lost and she got too thin to wear her collar.

She ate well on the evening before she died, but right after her meal she started crying again. The next morning I tried to give her some of her regular food at the clinic but she wouldn’t touch it. I asked Dr. Choi to open a can of food to see if she’d eat it, but she wouldn’t touch that either.

When it was over and I went to Daiso to look for a pink blanket for her, I noticed on my way back that the convenience store had started selling roasted sweet potatoes (because it was autumn). Bangsiri loved sweet potatoes, and I wish I’d known they were back in season because maybe she would have enjoyed a last meal.

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