So we brought Ben home the other day. We had him cremated individually, and the vet called to tell us that his ashes were back. My first experience with this was with Rascal. Prior to his death, all of my pets had been buried in the back yard at my parents house. But when Rascal died, we decided to have him cremated because we weren't sure if the house we are in is going to be the house we are in when we die. So the week after Rascal died, we got a call from the vet and went to pick up the little cardboard box that held the plastic bag that held the ashes of our pup.
Then Shoba died not a month later, and we had her cremated too. A week later we got her box back, too. It was a little larger than Rascals box. In our hall closet we have a hanging sweater organizer thingy that we used to store our boots, hats, mittens and such. The bottom two shelves were cleared and used to store the remains of our two dogs.
Ben spent the next few weeks looking very nervous and wondering where the heck his two pals went and what they had done to disappear and he always looked like he was promising us that he would behave as long as he could stick around. Eventually he settled in to being the only dog, but after a few months he started looking mopey. A couple months after that he was downright sad. I had been feeling the loss of Rascal and especially Shoba, too. So I knew how he felt. That's when we started looking around for a friend for Ben and eventually came to adopt Holly Bedudah.
Now here we are, three years down the road, and the vet has called again to let us know that a little cardboard box was waiting to be picked up.
My EMS gallows humor kicked in to soften the blow a little, as I joked with my wife that I could pick him up before heading to run some errands, because he could stay in the car with no worries now.
But we went to pick him up together and once again I was gut punched by how little was left of him now. We brought him home and cleared another shelf in the hall closet for his remains.
When the first two died, we thought it would be nice to take them up to the Island and inter the remains there. It is a place that I will keep visiting until I'm unable to paddle a canoe anymore. And it is a place that all three of them loved. In my memories of those three dogs, I can vividly picture each one at the Island, a look of supreme contentment on their faces. So we wanted to take Shoba and Rascal up there. But for some reason or another, we were never able to get to the Island in the three years since they died.
When Ben got sick again and it looked like he wouldn't pull through this time, the Wife mentioned that perhaps the reason we never got the other two to the Island was because they were waiting for Ben so they could all go up together. It would be in keeping with the bond that the three of them had. So as I placed Ben's ashes on the shelf with Shoba and Rascal, they were finally ready to head to the Island.
I however, am not ready. So we'll plan a trip for next summer sometime and take the Big Three up along with Holly and introduce her to the Island, and finally lay the Big Three to rest.