It is with very mixed emotions that I write this entry… I am so sad, but I am also incredibly proud and grateful for being able to share the last 10 months with the stately Seedor Ngor.
Ngor was in his seventies and in a very delicate state when we welcomed him in to our family here at BLES, back in December 2015. We all knew his time with us would be short lived and knew that each day spent with him was a gift. Ngor astounded us all with his determination to live every day fully. Up until his very last breath, he lived in the forest, surrounded by friends, free to be a bull again… Yesterday morning, at approximately 5am, Ngor lay his old and frail body down on the ground, closed his eyes and passed peacefully away, in to his next life.
We had all noticed that Ngor had started to lose weight in the last two weeks and he was looking weaker than ever. This however did not stop him from going on our daily walks and splashing in the river. The day before he died, he impressed us all by digging up a huge bamboo shoot. He spent almost an hour devouring it, ripping it in to shreds and throwing them around before eating them. He swished his tail and flapped his ears and it was clear to see how content he was. He didnt have a care in the world. He was happy and so was his devoted friend, his owner and mahout of 27 years, Phi Dam.
Phi Dam knew Ngor’s time was coming to an end. He tended to Ngor’s every single need and I am confident that Ngor passed away, knowing how loved and admired he was.
I have shed many tears for Ngor and Phi Dam. Their relationship was remarkable. Watching them together in the forest was so inspiring and I will miss that so much. Phi Dam would whisper to Ngor, guiding him to the softest leaves and thickest bushes and Ngor responded instinctively. Once Phi Dam knew that Ngor was comfortable, he would climb in to a tree and watch his friend graze. Phi Dam would gaze at Ngor, never taking his eyes off of him, smiling sweetly as Ngor would slowly disappear in to the dense foliage. The two of them truly understood each other and shared a mutual respect. The fact that we were able to share just a snippet of this unique bond is something I will always feel deeply thankful for.
After Ngor’s funeral, Phi Dam and I spent some time reminiscing. We smiled when we spoke of Ngor’s love to lie on his side in the river and close his eyes… We laughed when we remembered the day Pang Noi and Pang Suai accosted him and decided he would be their new friend… Then, we both wiped away tears when we talked about Ngor walking through the long grass in Heaven and finding his old friend, Somai… Phi Dam placed his hand on his heart and smiled. He thanked me for taking Ngor in and giving him the best days of his long life. He told me how proud he was that Ngor, who he calls his brother, got to be a real elephant again and said he knew Ngor would have died months ago, if it hadnt been for his time at BLES.
Although we will never see Ngor’s striking and individual face or be in his humbling presence again, I am reluctant to say he has died. Ngor lives on in our hearts and we will always celebrate the strength and dignity he graced us with until the very end. He was a friend to us all and every day shared with him was a blessing.
Walk tall and proud Ngor… Now and forever, you will always live on in us. Thank you for allowing us in to your world. You were such a lovely old boy xx