Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ashes to ashes...

A few things happened yesterday when I found the strength to look in the "Gift Bag O' Vito" the vet gave me. I didn't see the ashes.

I've had two cats (Jade and Cheshire Cat) cremated in the past and both were returned to me in plastic bags stuck inside what appeared to be cheap candle tins from the 99 cent store.

But there was no plastic bag with Vito's ashes. What there was was a sealed wooden box with a picture frame on the front, mobile photo above.

I have a confession - when my cat Jade died 12 years ago (an icky tale - his vet asked me to give him a Valium before I moved from one city to another because Jade had a little heart murmur and the vet didn't want him to be stressed out. I gave it to him. It killed him. End of story.) I was (still am) so traumatized by his death that when his ashes came back I opened the little bag of what appeared to be crushed sea shells and I stuck my fingers into it.

Does this make me a total freak; or is someone else going to confess to the same sort of mourning behavior; because I'd rather not believe I'm the only one with this particular brand of crazy.

But with Vito, nope, no access to ashes, no sticking my fingers into the bag. There are screws on the bottom of the box, so I could get to the ashes if I wanted to, say, sprinkle them somewhere or bury them, or star in my very own re-enactment of that scene from Meet The Fockers.

For now, it stays sealed.

So, I get home with this Box O' Vito and try to decide where to put him. I let Grover and Piggy sniff the box but they were way too interested in it, which was sweet but inviting trouble, so I knew I had to put the box somewhere they never go, or it was going to get broken. And then I knew where to put it...way up on top of the armoire where Vito liked to ensure I could not turn on the ceiling fan.

(Yet again another crappy cell phone pic...I wish I'd taken more 'real' photos of Vito, but I had no idea I'd have so little time with him.)

When I got into bed last night (I put the plaster paw prints on the table near my bed), I kept thinking of those ashes up there on the armoire. I really, really, really wanted to go get them and take them to bed with me. I kept thinking about it and thinking about it, and then thinking some more about how this might look should I die in the night and was found cradling a box of ashes in my bed. But I still kept thinking about it - hell, my real friends would love me anyway if I were found that way, right?

Then, I realized if I were to do such a thing as get those ashes and cuddle them all night, it would be a slippery slope, and the next thing I might end up doing was putting on my wedding dress and sitting on the couch crying and eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's Pisctachio Pistachio ice cream while watching the Say Yes To The Dress marathon. And that would be really sad.

So I left his ashes where they were. For now...



Sparky said...

you are so brave...hang in there...i hope piggy is giving you extra snuggles these days.

Dawn said...

"Does this make me a total freak; or is someone else going to confess to the same sort of mourning behavior; because I'd rather not believe I'm the only one with this particular brand of crazy."

No. You're not a total freak. Even though Artie is still alive and with me -- and he's a dog, but that's not the point -- I fear the day that he dies. FEAR! In CAPS! And his ashes? I don't know what I'll do with them, but I know that I'll be crazy with grief and am libel to do insane things that I will consider totally sane.

We all grieve in our own way. And all those ways are normal.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Are we sisters? I have not told anyone of how I am with my kitties ashes, but I could tell you (and I know, now the whole CB. But I dance with them held to my heart because I did that when they were alive.

I kiss the tops of their pretty boxes, very similar to Vito's, but I have a bed full o' cats and well, didn't ever bring them into bed with me.

Yes, I I touched the ashes, saw the "shells" of bones, too. I now have a Treasure bracelet with a little of both of my favorite cats ashes inside it with their birthstones capping the ends of the bracelet, and I wear it all the time. It is a comfort, and In a way...guess I do have them in bed with me :-)

And I love Ben & Jerry's Pistachio Pistachio, but I guess I never thought about the wedding dress but might have to rent that movie...

SuziQCat said...

We all grieve in our own way...I've looked in the baggies of ashes (shells) given to me by the vet as well, and even asked guests if they wanted to see them. Partly because I was so in love with my kitties, and partly to go ahead and get out with the awkwardness of them having to ask...we are all curious creatures. Hang in there...know we are all here for you.

The Creek Cats said...

You are definiely not a freak. Still sending you lots of comforting vibes and hugs.

Busby and Raymond said...

Even in grief, your posts make us smile.

Our Mom wants you to know that when the two kittens who came before us died, she opened up the baggies and checked out the ashes. Ruby & Liza were littermates who both had FIP, Ruby had dry FIP & Liza had wet. We sure hope there is a cure for FIP someday.

purrs from our hearts, Raymond and Busby

Meredith said...

I once sealed the box of ashes for a friend whose father had been cremated. To see them there is so powerfully emotional, and I think I would have a very hard time with either of my kitties' ashes in the house. In fact, I can't really contemplate it, I start to get upset.

The only time I've had a cat put to sleep (he was suffering so much), I fell apart completely, hysterical in the vet's office. My thoughts are with you, hon. It's so terrible.

Daisy said...

You have such a way with words, and we totally get where you are coming from regarding the ashes. Pixie's ashes are in a little pewter urn on our dresser. My Mommeh thought about getting the little vial for ashes that you can wear on a necklace...

Junior and Orion said...

Maybe you can find a favorite toy of his and keep that with you. And everyone grieves how they have to, and you are right, your friends will understand.

I so wanted to get my darling China cremated when she passed, but didn't have the money. She is buried at a friends house, so I can go see her grave when I want...but it would have been very nice to still have her with me.

With Junior and Orion....well I dread the day either one of them passes. Junior healed my heart after China's passing, and Orion is my lapcat.

Hang in there, it will get better!

Rhonda-Junior and Orions Meowm

The Meezers said...

Nope, you're not a freak at all. Unless my taking out the boxes of Trixie, Norton and Ralphie's ashes on their birthdays and singing to them, and once in a while petting the fur I saved from them makes me a freak. We all deal with these types of things in different ways. {{{{HUGS}}}} to you

melissa said...

I love that you put your fingers in.. and I love that you wanted to take him to bed, but I'm glad you have held off too...
there is no wrong way to mourn

when a human is cremated and there is no fance receptical provided (at least in my experience) they put it in a cardboard box and a bag, the box is like what baseball card collectors use long and thin and growing up we had a friend whose mother died. She kept the ashes on her kitchen table and over time you know stuff got piled on it... old mail, salt and pepper shakers it became part of the table.. anyway when someone would call and think they were talking to one of her kids and ask you know "is your mom available" she would always say, well yes but she's kinda boxed up right now....

bad-um bump

some people thought she was nutz but it made her feel better...

my sister carried my moms urn about for a few weeks after it was brought home.. I think it was good for my sister but it made me feel terrible.. my grandma kept it by her bed... When I moved into my grandmas I had almost forgotten what it was it'd been sitting there for a couple years... I moved it out of my room though.

see all kinds of crazy and it's all necessary. thinking of you xo

ML said...

We do grieve in our own ways.
Sleeping with Charlie Taylor's urn wasn't an option. I didn't put it down for days.
Now I have the adorable little statute that Cindy made for me, it was taken from the photo where I went to see him at Dr. Smith's and he was in the oxygen room. He did his little head up the minute I came in.
When I first heard about ashes and urns, it was well before Bear, my mini-poodle, had to go to the Bridge. I thought it was the most horrible thing. After Bear went to the Bridge, and they pried her from my arms, my hubby went back and asked to have her cremated. As the cremation was an add-on, it was lost. I didn't know he had her cremated. It was well over six months later that the ashes were found and they called me. I don't even remember driving over to pick up them up. Months of nightmares ended when I "brought Bear home".

(To see the little statue of Charlie Taylor, click here for mypost. It has a link to Cindy's other works. She is very talented at capturing the essence of a companion in a simple statue.)

Niko and Cloud said...

Nope, definitely not a freak. As the previous poster said, we all have our ways. I insisted on keeping Texas' collar and tags and his brush and I refused to allow his brush to be used on the new cats (he had cancer, so it wasn't contagious, but I wanted to have that little bit of fur saved..)
We send you lots of hugs and the kitties send purrs.

DEBRA said...

I feel like an earlier poster (Dawn) I DREAD the day something happens to Abby. I feel exactly as she does -- it's such a deep emotional fear of mine especially since she is a senior kitty now. There is no wrong or right way to grieve and we all have regrets, do not make yourself feel strange or bad in any way. Vito was special and the way you feel right now is commiserate with how special you felt for him.

Abby's Mom Debra

Poppy Q said...

What a great vets, with such a lovely box to remember Vito from.

I have my old cat Pusses ashes in a box too. I have decided that when it is my time, all the pussy cat boxes can come with me and have a double cremation. Maybe that is creepy.

Julie Q

Oh and my brother has our mothers ashes in the wardrobe. He takes her on holiday sometimes, and when there was a tsunami warning (we were safe, but had to evacuate), they were the first thing my 13 year old niece packed.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Grief can take strange twists.

The Furry Kids said...

Nope, not crazy. When we lost our first dog, we picked her ashes up from the vet. THey came in a UPS box. We drove her around for one last ride in the car. :( It took us a few weeks to open the box, but inside was the cookie tin with the crushed seashells. I touched them, too.
One of my friends lost her cat to the valium thing, too, during her move from Michigan to NYC. She lost his brother a month later. During her frequent drives between Michigan and NYC, their ashes (in a gorgeous, mahogany box) were buckled into the passenger seat.
Hang in there. It takes time. It gets less raw eventually, but Vito's always going to occupy his spot in your heart.

The Furry Kids' Mom