20 January 2011

saying goodbye

Some photos of this morning's dig. A lot of symbolism here, I guess. I don't know if I believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, I think animals deserve it at least as much as people do. Probably more.

So Raleigh is buried with the cases from two pillows he liked to lay on, with a bit of yarn (he loved his yarn. When I knit, he'd want to help so much, but if I gave him his own little piece of yarn to hang on to he'd just hold it and leave mine alone); and with a big handful of catnip. I also sprinkled some catnip on Winston, Tick and Cuz's graves to "wake them up" so they could welcome their buddy Raleigh.

All six of the "new" cats were in attendance at one time or another. From start to finish it only took me about an hour. Bob's in the hospital again, so I had the job to myself. I was a bit worried the neighbor would see what I was doing and come to help. I appreciate his help in so much of what he does --we both do-- from firewood to mechanics to just being there for us, but this, to me, is a personal, solitary activity. Spike checked Raleigh out for a long time. Growler was more interested in the hole in the ground. You can right-click any of these pictures and select "open in new window" to see a larger pic. Below, Growler is doing his owl-eyes clown cat act from inside the hole.

Above, top center (below the logs of the box elder th'neighbor cut down for us in the fall), is Wolf's grave. To the right of Wolf, hard to see for the blackberries growing up around him, is Amos. Kind of between Woofie and Moose and closer, is a triangle of rocks over Cuz. The pentagon of rocks is Tick. The big square is Boudreaux (Boo), and Raleigh is laying on Winston's grave. Judging by where I found the rib bones I think Slug is under the dirt pile, and if I remember right, Rambo is in the space between Slug, Cuz, and Wolf, or maybe a little closer to the house.

Last night I spent some time going through photos, looking for one of Raleigh and Winston mutually washing each other, something they often did, but I couldn't find one yet. Anyway, I buried Raleigh next to and facing Winston, so the brothers can be together again. He laid on Winston's grave while I finished the hole.

The new potato fork (with the red handle) was an excellent tool for loosening frozen ground, and apt, since it brought back many memories of Raleigh (and Winston) happily rolling around on freshly tilled garden patches. The little hand trowel I used when the hole got too deep for the full-sized spade made sense too: from 2002 through this past spring I never once transplanted seedlings without their help (though Winston was around only in spirit last year). Sugar was very interested in what was going on. She sniffed around Raleigh for quite a while after he died last night. Snuffy (top left corner in picture with Sugar) helped me distribute the catnip. Anastasia and Barney came around too, but I didn't get good pictures of them.

While digging I ran across a couple bones --cat rib bones, I think, and two small pieces of pottery. I think these are from Slug, one of the two unmarked graves in this area. Slug died before I came here, and before Raleigh was born. His ribs are now guarding Raleigh's ribs. The other unmarked grave is Rambo, the little jumping collie. I knew him briefly.

Now we have a large gap in ages. Sapphire and Shorty were born in '98, Booger and Nameless in '99, and Klutz in 2000. We found Roadie (in the road) as an infant kitten in 2003, Barney and Snuffy came to us at 6 and 3 months old in 2009 and the four babies: Growler, Anastasia, Sugar and Spike, were all born in 2010.

I don't know a good way to end this blog post! But Growler is laying on my desk and continuously slapping the keyboard so I'll end it here.


chloe mew said...

salut! and safe journeys, da Raleighhhhhhhhhhhhh!! *kitteh tears*

Anonymous said...

Bye, Raleigh.....*sniff*, hard not to cry, but some tears are happy for you because you aren't sick any longer. Look for Xena at the Rainbow Bridge -- she kinda looks like you but with white fur on her bottom half. Oh, and Lil' Fella...he's a one-eyed golden-orange tabby, gets along with everybody. Sleep well sweet kitty, and when you wake you'll see all your friends who have gone before you. Ooh, can't see, eyes full o'tears.

Judy Martinez

Puffy cat said...

I'm so glad your mums was there were you at the end, Raleigh, and we can tell how much she loved you by how much care she put into the burial. Safe journeys, my friend. We will always remember you!