Friday, February 12, 2021

Sunny is home

This afternoon, I picked up Sunny’s ashes after running some errands so that I could take her right back home. I started to tear up as I walked back the car, but didn’t actually shed tears until I was inside. The trip home was uneventful.

When I got home, I took her collar and let Jake and then Leo sniff it. They knew it was hers, of course, and I hoped that since their sense of smell is so keen they’d know she wasn’t coming back, if no other reason than that she died wearing it. In that sense, it was similar to the way I lifted up all three dogs so they could see and sniff Nigel when we brought him home the night before his funeral.

I placed Sunny’s ashes next to Nigel’s in my bedroom (photo above). When each of our previous furbabies died, we placed their ashes in view for a time, and then put them “away”, which I imagine I’ll do with hers, too, eventually. That “eventually” may be quite some time, though.

When Nigel was in his last days, he told me he wanted the furbabies' ashes to go with him, “and you can have the others,” he told me. “Unless you want Curzon to go with you,” he added. I kind of chuckled and said, no, that’s fine. He was thinking about how Curzon was my cat (Nigel's present to me for my 40th birthday). But every single night, Curzon cuddled up with Nigel when he went to bed, later moving to cuddle up with me when I went to bed. He and Nigel had a special bond.

However, I’m also not particularly fussed about where ashes are—I know very well that they’re not the one we’ve lost, just what left of them. Even so, I felt unsettled until I brought Sunny’s ashes home, just as I had with all the other furbabies we’d lost—and Nigel’s ashes, too, for that matter. I didn’t like the idea of them being “out there” somewhere that was unknown to me. I felt much more at peace once their ashes came home.

I was given a certificate of cremation, so I can be sure they’re Sunny’s ashes, and they also gave me her paw prints. That’s never happened before, and I think it’s awesome they did that.

One thing that made me smile was the name on the envelope containing that certificate: I don’t think she was ever known as “Sunny Schenck” in the past. I usually used Nigel’s name because “King” was so much easier to spell—for me and the person on the other end of the phone (probably me especially…).

So, that’s another step in the process of letting go, one that brings me (and, I hope, Jake and Leo) closer to closure, whenever that happens. In any case, Sunny is home, and that’s what matters.


Roger Owen Green said...

Two thoughts, one of which I know you already know. And it's not about just Sunny but Nigel and old audios - it's all a part of the same "thing."

1. I wrote a post about writing your own obit. That was prompted, at least in part, by the fact that my FIL died on April 22, 2020, and there STILL is no obit. And it'll be more difficult because of the fracturing of the family.

2. I'm going to a Death Cafe this Monday for the third time. It's not a support group/grief counseling but people talking about the topic. If there's one in NZ, you might find it of interest. (I've found some past ones, but not upcoming ones.) Certainly, what you've been writing of late I've found fascinating, even when I haven't commented on every post.

Arthur Schenck said...

Sorry I didn't comment earlier—I forgot, as I so often do these days.

In any case, I believe in the importance of people talking openly and honestly about death mainly to take the awkwardness and, hopefully, the "ick factor". The more people talk honestly about death, the more it will be normalised and become just another part of life. Same with grief, for that matter, and that's why I keep talking about both here.

I'm also a big believer in people writing their own obits, or to work with someone who can do it for them. Technically, Nigel did both, having started his and having me finish it for him. I haven't yet gotten around to doing my own—I really should do as I say myself—but I hope to yet this year. Unless time catches up with me first, of course.