Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Our Cat’s Funeral

 We waited a week to bury our cat. Honestly I was a little creeped out by the facts that we stored his body in our cold garage and that I kept seeing something black out of the corner of my eye (maybe I just want him to be alive).

Anyway, it finally came time for us to have the funeral with the kids there. They were ready to dig the hole, send good wishes, and say goodbye. It took a long time for me to walk to the back corner of our yard. My legs still don’t work right and my back hunches over awkwardly. But Mike helped me lumber down there, and as we stood at Cole’s resting place I found the location fitting.

It’s strange, but we’ve had unusually experiences in that corner of the yard. Once a deer died there, and the neighbors called to tell us something was rotting behind our shed. Fish and Game came to take it away—but by the time they arrived, the smell was nauseating. 

Years later we found another deer there—in the exact same spot! It was injured somehow and not quite strong enough to jump the fence. We named her Debbie and started giving her little treats to sustain her. I remember how she slept by the kids’ basement windows, huddling next to the warmth of the house. And soon enough, Debbie got her strength back and without a goodbye, she left. I guess life can be like that sometimes. We can help others, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be in our lives forever.... I just felt bad I never got to say goodbye.

So that’s where we buried Cole where we found both a dead and a living deer. I somehow wished we could bring Cole back, but books have told me THAT’S a bad idea. I’d much rather Cole stay dead than turn into a murderous zombie. I told the kids that, ya know, just so they’ll know life could be worse. But they didn’t seem to like my reasoning very much.

Anyway, I’m just glad the kids got to say goodbye, and that we no longer have a dead animal in our garage—even if I did love him when he was alive. 

Death can be so hard, but somehow having a chance to say goodbye makes it a little easier.

As we had the funeral I couldn’t help wondering about my own. The kids kept saying who Cole has been to them. What have I been to them, or to anyone really? Do the memories of what remains about us somehow embody who we truly are? I wonder.... 


  1. I wondered, as I read your entry, EC, about the sheer wisdom of Life. One deer came to die, but another perhaps to recover in that same place, and to live on. We Humans think of cemeteries as places for the dead, while we claim in some belief systems, that after death we will be reborn in some way.

    When I visit my parents' and my daughter's burial places, I feel they "go with me" to those places. I know I won't find their spirits there in their graves, but it is comforting to go together to those last places we last connected at their passing.

    After my daughter, Heddy passed long ago, the first Thanksgiving morning I drove to the cemetery to say Hi. A wild Tom Turkey was walking across the cemetery road, as if he owned it all. Behind him was a single hen. They took their time walking, as if I in my car was not even there on the road.

    The second year, on the same day and on the same road, a tom turkey wandered in the same way across, this time followed by two hens, utterly oblivious to me. I have not seen them since 2005 in that place. Homes now are built all around that once quiet place.

    Gifts are a one time thing, a chance meeting in a moment.

    I do believe there are places where our spirits are particularly attracted to celebrate life, its meanings, its endings, and its beginnings. Hospitals, cemeteries, the best of churches and hospices. In some way, life's points of transition and challenge bring out a strength in and for us that bears enduring meaning for our existence here, and perhaps beyond.

    I always love to read your words, dear cousin. They inspire me, and remind me. Keep warm, and know you are loved beyond all those nearby who say so to your ears and eyes.