Sketch came back from the crematorium this week. It has been a trying time working through our loss of him, but the tears and sadness have lessened as life marches on for the living. Of course, there is nothing more life-affirming than a funny moment, which is what I had when I discovered his temporary resting place.
We had found the perfect urn – artsy, roomy and decidedly Sketch-y… Only to discover it had been discontinued by the manufacturer months ago. The distributor never thought to update the 35 or so on-line “dead pet” sites we worked through to try and attain one, so after much frustration I asked the crematorium to put him in one of their temporary tins.
I picked him up, opened the box, and upon looking at the tin immediately called out to my deceased pooch, “Oh, Sketch, I PROMISE that we will get you out of there.” The tin is a mauve color, with pink flowers. It looks like something you’d put tea in. Actually, not you — your grandmother, I’d imagine. And the tea would be chamomile. Oh, the humiliation! So for now, Sketch and his floral tin are hiding in the box he came in, as we search for a better permanent home.
The other fascinating experience has been witnessing VB try to wrap his head around what has happened. We knew it was a matter of time — and for any parent, eventually the topic of death will come up and drain the color from your face. Of course in our case that conversation is much more layered and nuanced, as we wait for the day he puts the puzzle together and gets it about his own experience. Some moments its the simple stuff — “where is Sketch now”, etc — the existential truths that bind our universe. Other times, it’s a bit more close to home…
“Daddy, why did Sketch die?”
“Well, he was an old dog.”
To which, Declan points out that one of our fellow ATRT patients — who he knows died — was in fact not old. I reflect that he’s raised a good point, and quickly note the time so we can rush on to other subjects and not that one.
I think he deserves a little while longer in the throws of childhood innocence.