Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ashes to Ashes

They handed me Chester's ashes in a small cardboard box. I waited at the counter facing the same room where he died. It looked completely different and I wondered if they had redecorated or if I had hallucinated the entire thing. So many times I had stood at this same counter, talking with an old character actor who adored Chester, keeping him up on his progress, promising to email him with updates. Now I stood, waiting for his ashes.

The tech came out with a cardboard box with my name on it. As I walked to the car I noticed it said in ball-point, "Spoke to client."

It had Chester's name on it. I put it on the front seat next to me. Now, I knew that wasn't him. He was gone the minute he died. But still. I thought I could handle this and it was all different. I took a green shawl I kept in the car and wrapped the box in it. It didn't seem right to just leave the box there like that. Then I started to cry.

And I realized someone was waiting for my parking space.

I've said many times I'm so incredibly lucky to have the friends that I do and this has shown me that I truly have the great gift of them from all over the world - I had three within a mile of the vet and I ended up crying on one's kitchen floor for what seemed like far too long.

I lost my best friend, my protector, my bodyguard, my reason for so many things. He inspired me, he taught me patience and forgiveness, he showed me hope, he brought me joy. "Happiness and joy are your middle name," I used to say to him. For despite the abuse he suffered, he never carried it with him. He was filled with hope, humor, love, and boundless enthusiasm. I was so lucky to have this in my life for thirteen years. When I would leave for work I'd say, "I have to go so I can bring you home bacon." Now I leave for work alone.



Ask the Cool Cookie said...

You needed Chester, and he needed you. You still need him, because it was all too sudden.

The cry I had in the car after Bertie passed away was one that shook my very being. It emulated deep within my very very being and then even deeper from within my soul.

I grieving because she had been my baby, and 17 years before I had made a promise to keep her safe, and the priority in my life. Every decision started with how it would impact her. And suddenly I made the decision, and she was gone from this earth.

People who never are lucky enough to truly love their pet will never understand what you or I or 100s of millions of other people feel at this moment.

But don't let this be the event that keeps your from loving someone, or something for who they are, not what we need them to be.

Donna Lethal said...

Thank you my dearest friend. Oh, Bertie.

M Fitz said...

You loved that puppy so.I
am so sorry...

Donna Lethal said...

It's brutal. Sometimes I'm okay and other times I just lose it. He was such a happy little (giant) fella.

JamiSings said...

And it's okay to lose it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

My vet, Dr. Pasco, who passed away the same year my Audrey Rose had to be put to sleep, used to say that pets live a short time so we can love more during our lifetime. It - doesn't help. Only time and a lot of crying does. I waited two years between Bitty and Audrey, then nine months between Audrey and Minnie. Not that I loved Audrey any less, she was in many ways my soul mate with four legs, I just started looking when I felt it was the right time.

Some people will tell you to go out and look for another dog. If they do and it doesn't feel right, read them the riot act. You have to heal at your own speed and in your own way.

But no matter what, you're not going through this alone.

Donna Lethal said...

Thank you for kind words, Jami. Your tumblr(s) - when I can keep up - bring me much joy and amusement with your wit and imagination.

And thank you for taking the time to write.

normadesmond said...

libby's in a box in the night table. when bella died, i couldn't bear to burn her, so i took her home and buried her myself. i'll admit the digging certainly gave me something to do with my grief, but it was very difficult emotionally. not sure i'd choose that again.

of course, there's that asshole ben stein who had his dog stuffed. i can only hope mrs. stein stuffs ben.

Donna Lethal said...

He did? That dog is the reason dogs were banned at a studio I worked at, and I had to smuggled Chester in there several times (imagine smuggling in a 90 lb pit bull past security on a lot! But I did!)

Muscato said...

You are, I suspect unawares, doing all of us a service who know that sooner or later (oh, please, please later) we will walk in your shoes. You are mapping a trail through the world of grief, and doing it with great eloquence and honesty. For which thanks, with hope for a brighter 2014.

Donna Lethal said...

I treasure you my dearest little Cafe tribe, for although I may not comment much, we were all brought together via Fabulon and if it were not for you, DQ would not exist--and that has brought much richness into many people's lives. And so, here we are. And here you all are for me.