Thursday, June 3, 2010


On May 29, exactly three weeks after he died, we buried Pablo here.
Not under this tree, but almost opposite it. I did not feel right about recording any other aspect of the operation.
My friend, whose property this is in the southeastern part of Ontario, did all the heavy lifting - literally and figuratively. I am deeply grateful.
Burial means different things to different people. Closure. Return to the soil. Memorial spot. Something physical in a spiritual realm.
For me, burying my dear cat was mostly a way of staying true to my beliefs (as it would be, in very different ways, to others) - namely, honouring the cycle of life. I wanted him returned to the cycle, and my friend did us the supreme honour of allowing us to put Pablo in his soil. It certainly helped that the place we chose was beautiful. Of course, a dead cat, like a dead human, cannot know the difference between a gorgeous spot and a landfill - when you're dead, you're dead - but since there seems to be a deeply human instinct against desecrating a body, placing it somewhere lovely is the final dignity we can show the loved one. It made me feel a little better.
(I suppose part of that instinct is highly personal: we would not like to think of our dead body being tossed to the vultures or dumped like trash somewhere, even though - again - once you're dead, you feel nothing.)
This is not the only burial I have experienced lately. The only way I can get back into my routine is to bury my feelings. Now and then, I allow them to resurface, and the pain is as strong as ever. I allowed myself to be deeply connected to that animal, and the loss is terrible.
I see this as some kind of rehearsal for losing a member of my own species one day, one who means as much or more to me as Pablo. I don't think I will be quite as successful with the burial of that grief.

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