Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Thanksgiving Eve Funeral

Digging a shallow grave by flashlight wasn't not exactly how I intended to spend the evening before Thanksgiving. Choosing what portion of my yard to use as a pet cemetery wasn't on my "to do" list today, either.

Yet, death doesn't seem to understand it's supposed to work around holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and the like. In fact, it seems as if these events always manages to fall on those over-stuffed days on the calendar, the ones where I've already written in bold blue marker strokes and highlighted the words.

The first kitty Doug and I adopted soon after we married was a calico-Siamese mix whom we named Mia. Today, we had her put to sleep after finding she had an inoperable tumor consuming her stomach, liver, and endocrine system.

Mia was no mere cat.

She was my child when I could not children. She spent the summer in an apartment with me in Montreal while Doug left to attend school each day. She woke me in the mornings and napped with me in the afternoons. Every night, she would come to the tub and drink the water I would let trickle down the sides. And every time I sat at this computer to type a blog entry, she would sit at my feet until I picked her up for lap-time.

Most visitors to our home never saw her portly form because of her overly-shy personality. But anyone on the phone with me could easily hear her motor that sounded like a large diesel engine.

Tonight, Douglas brought her back from the vet so we could bury her.

With his car lights shining on the newly-loosened dirt piled up beside the hole, we all circled 'round. Emerson didn't care about anything but the dirt. Wyatt, on the other hand, was curious. He understood completely that this was Mia's body but that she was no longer here.

Amelia did not. As I lay the blanket-wrapped body in the hole, Doug and the boys began shoveling dirt back in. One pretty abysmally-exposed shot was all I got off as Amelia started to bawl uncontrollably and scream, "Mia!!!!" I had to scoop her up and hold her as she cried those gut-wrenching sobs like I wanted to cry.

As a kitty girl like her mama, all she understood was that we were burying her Mia in the ground. Since all cats go to heaven, I told her that Mia was up in heaven with Jesus, just like her balloon that just last week escaped out the front door of the house and sailed heavenward over the trees. I'm not sure she believed me.

As I write this, I'm lonely. My legs are warm from another kitty's love, but they're not vibrating from Mia's loud purr. And I know when I sign off here and head up for a bath, she won't be waiting for me there either.

Tomorrow, I will celebrate in thankfulness with my family. But tonight, I mourn. And I remember.


  1. Oh, Jennifer ... I'm so sorry. And poor Amelia! Thankfully, children are resilient. But still, it's so hard to say goodbye to a beloved pet. I remember when I was in grade-school and my cat Gilligan died. I had to leave the classroom a few times the day after he died to have a good cry in the privacy of a bathroom stall.

    It's hard, isn't it?

    I hope you were able to enjoy your Thanksgiving.

  2. We really did Jennifer. Family together in our new home and my husband doing the cooking--couldn't ask for much more than that.

  3. Jennifer, I'm so sorry about this. Pets are pretty amazing, the way they capture one's heart. My guys have had to bury a couple of dogs, and it's heart wrenching. Hoping the other kitty learns to purr properly, and sending hugs your way.