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....