The manner of his burial

We brought Baxter’s body home on Friday, December 10, and buried him that Saturday. He lay on his chair for most of Friday, but Peggy put him in a cardboard box with a couple of his toys and moved him to the garage when his body began to smell.

Six of us attended his funeral, but no words were spoken. I took him out of the box, and lowered him into his grave by means of the tablecloth on which Peggy had laid him. I then tucked the tablecloth over his body, and Josh brought buckets of earth that I had stored under the eave of the house because of the rain. I emptied these buckets into his grave and tamped the dirt with a shovel.

I don’t know to what extent getting Brewsky so soon after Baxter’s death has enabled me to avoid—or at least postpone—grieving, nor do I know how much having another dog has helped. I do know that every time I lose a loved one to death, my own desire to live becomes that much less. Of course, I still have a lot to live for.

26 comments:

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I feel your pain, and have met that same challenge more times than I care to remember.
Losing a loved one or a pet, has to be one of the most difficult trials a person has to endure..
RIP dear Baxter you were loved.
{Hugs},
Jo
x

Marion said...

I hear you Snow. I'm so sorry for your loss, but death is a part of life, just not a part what we're brought up to deal with on a daily basis. Did you ever see the HBO series, "Six Feet Under"? I got the entire series as a gift one year and it blew my mind. First off, it's an amazing show. And secondly, it's all about death! You might want to check it out.

Take care, my friend, and hang in there. You are loved, needed and appreciated here in Blogland. xoxo

The Bipolar Diva said...

This post made me tearful. I'm so sorry my friend.

Kristen said...

So very sorry about this. I wish this didn't have to be part of having a fur-baby... but my thoughts and prayers are with you.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Snow, So sad for you and Peggy. I know this is the most difficult thing we have to do as pet lovers.

Natalie said...

Sigh...on all levels.
I wish things were different in your part of the world. There is nothing I can say that takes the physical pain or the emotional pain away.
Indeed, it is often at this point that people back away, because they feel they have failed in 'helping' someone in chronic pain. Whether that be physical or emotional pain, or even mental anguish.

Even though I am useless, I am here, and not going anywhere. ♥

kylie said...

i got nothing for ya, snow. i'm not even sure i understand your grief. i have lost animals and been devastated but always moved on fairly quickly.

i dont know why you are special to me, but you are so hang in there
XXX

Elisabeth said...

Its painful losing a beloved pet, but your ritual in this funeral must help in saying goodbye.

I find that at Christmas time, every birth and death seems all the more poignant and pronounced.

At least you ca write about it here, share it with your blog friends and get some comfort from others. And from your new dog. That's all we can do when confronted with such pain, seek comfort in one another.

Best wishes for the Christmas season Snow.

nollyposh said...

(((Hugs)))

Mim said...

I still weep about that one special dog....
happy new year to you and Peggy

All Consuming said...

I can only imagine what this has been like for you and it makes me cry enough at that alone. I'm glad you have Bonnie and Brewster because I think being able to hold and hug them must be better than having an empty house. I'm thinking of you. xxx

Marion said...

This sounds like a really loving tribute to do for your dear Baxter. You hurt, Snow...it couldn't have been easy to dig. And yet you did, and then lovingly wrapped him in a cloth. This shows so much love and respect for Baxter...you could not have done more.

Brewsky (I love that name!)will fill a void, will make you laugh. Personally, and perhaps you will not mind my beliefs, I think it was meant to be.

Be gentle with yourselves, you and Peggy, over this holiday season...you've done a great job putting Baxter to rest.

Love and hugs..

Snowbrush said...

Thanks to you all.

Marion, no I haven't seen "Six Feet Under." If a show isn't on PBS, I don't usually watch it, but I'll look the show up.

Kylie said: "i have lost animals and been devastated but always moved on fairly quickly."

I don't know what to think, Kylie, since it's hard for me to put "devastated" and "moved on fairly quickly" together. I suppose both are possible, but I've never experienced them.

Elisabeth said: "And from your new dog."

Thanks for the warm wishes, Elisabeth. Just to keep the facts straight, the cat, Brewsky, is new. The dog, Bonnie, is 13, and we've had her since she was six weeks.

Natalie said: "Even though I am useless, I am here, and not going anywhere. ♥"

Oh, Natalie, if you're going to hang around anyway, I do wish you would make yourself useful. You know, pour me another vodka, cook up some soup, keep the cat out of the Xmas tree, spray the carpet where Bonnie wiped her ass this morning, or SOMETHING.

Snowbrush said...

Oh, Marion, your comment seemed to call for a response.

Marion said: "Personally, and perhaps you will not mind my beliefs, I think it was meant to be."

I don't mind your beliefs at all. I even agree with them, but not in the mystical way that you might have intended. My suspicion is that all things occur due to cause and effect. Although we human beings like to think we have freedom to choose our thoughts and our actions, I rather doubt that we do. Of course, I could be wrong.

kylie said...

i see the dichotomy you refer to..

most recent was a rabbit who shouldnt have been out but he was out and he was hit by a car, suffered a broken back but didnt die immediately.
i was so sorry it happened to him and so upset to have to make the decision i did and i wept copious tears (and snot) but once he was gone there was not much more to do so i got on with my life. having many responsibilities makes that the default reaction.

if it makes me sound more genuine i still think of anzac fondly and often. and, probably the biggest indicator of my feelings, i made sure it couldnt happen again

Natalie said...

Onto it, your highness.

Zuzana said...

Sending you many hugs and hoping the new addition will indeed lessen your deep sorrow...
I would like to wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and all the best in 2011 and thnak you for your kind visits and comments this past year,
much love
Zuzana

Loz said...

Having lost a dog of my own recently I do feel for you - And a Merry Christmas from me and thanks for following my blog :)

studio lolo said...

Most of my friends who know me, really know me, understand how deeply I love my animals. They've been with me through several of my losses and if you ask any of them how I felt they'd tell you I wanted to die. Or at least trade places with the pet who died.

I understand you Snow, I do.
I think losing anyone we deeply love, pet or human, makes us that much more aware of our own mortality. At least for me it does.

Whenever a friend loses a pet and then declares "no more! I can't take the loss," I remind them if they lived as long as we did, then we'd never be able to rescue others who need us.

Every pet we adopt teaches us something along the way.
Baxter and Bonnie have taught you and Peggy so much these past years. Bonnie still has more to say ;) And now Brewsky is here to teach you a thing or two! Pay attention. Cats hate to be ignored!

That was a beautiful private service you had for your little guy. You took care of him from beginning to end. Sweet.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

God, I'm so sorry. I know full well that there is nothing harder. I know you will miss Baxter terribly and I wish you comfort and peace in the knowledge that he had a wonderful life in your company.

dana said...

I don't ask this to put you on the defensive, I'm just wondering why you kept Baxter above ground for as long as you did. After over one year of Lucky's death, today Joe came home with a toy for Beau. (Beau has toys-a-million) But this particular toy was one of Lucky's favorite. Still feels "icky" to the heart as I sit here, hearing Beau bite the soundbox and the familiar noise come that always got Lucky enervated.

I think that those of us who know that humans aren't all they should be, put more love into our animals who go above and beyond for us.

Snowbrush said...

Dana said: "I don't ask this to put you on the defensive, I'm just wondering why you kept Baxter above ground for as long as you did."

Oh, heavens, Dana, it's a rather obvious question I should think. The answer is that, Josh, the teenager next door, has been hurt in the past when he was planning to do something for me, and I went ahead and did it. On this occasion, I had asked Josh weeks in advance to dig Baxter's grave when the time came, and he had agreed to do so. As it was, I went ahead and dug most of the grave, but I thought it best to save some of the work for Josh, and he couldn't come over during the daylight hours until the next day. Other than that, there's no way I would have waited.

Just_because_today said...

I think you have been grieving Baxter for a long time. In a way, illness prepares us for departure.

Snowbrush said...

Just_because said: "I think you have been grieving Baxter for a long time."

Are you aware that he only died 15 days ago? I will mention that the fact that I write with sadness about him shouldn't be taken to imply that I have no life aside from thoughts of him. That aside, I have read--and I believe--that it's futile to put a timetable on grief. It would be a little like trying to put a timetable on a headache. With both, one does what one can to handle them well, but the bottom-line is that they take as as long as they take. You can't simply wish them away.

Becky said...

((( Hugs, Snowbrush )))
Losing a loved one is sad... especially at this time of year. My mom died last Christmas and I still miss/grieve her every day.
Kindest Regards, OM girl

Mad Mind said...

We are still not "over" the loss of our beloved Georgie and that was in 2001. She was a huge part of the family and can never be replaced.