We picked up Buster's ashes yesterday.
My heart broke all over again. But it also brought a greater sense of finality - of closure.
I had totally forgotten about the extra stuff that came with the ashes. The company that does the cremation and supplies the urn includes a paw print with the dog's name written in it. Kind of silly, I guess, but nice.
They also ask you about ordering other things, which is tough, because it's so hard to make decisions when you're under that kind of stress. I was crying, and trying to hold it together. Allan was waiting outside with Buster while I was inside making the arrangements, B was straining to come in and see me... Ugh.
So in this kind of painful daze, I ordered a sterling silver necklace. It's a little locket shaped like a doggie bone that holds a bit of his ashes. Maybe that sounds morbid? I like the idea.
We had intended to donate a whole bunch of Buster's unused medications, but I had been putting it off. Now that the ashes are here, I feel able to do it. I wasn't consciously waiting, I just suddenly feel ready. I stocked up on the very expensive eye medications before we moved, and we're hoping some clients of our old veterinary ophthalmologist can use them. Maybe they'll help another dog keep his vision for a while longer. We also have a lot of expensive anti-anxiety meds, which I'll send with a note to the behaviourist. At the very least, it's good karma.
And yesterday morning we received a card in the (paper) mail from VH, the dog trainer. She is a really special person, whose work is all about helping people live with their animals. Her expertise and patience improved our lives immeasurably. No, more than that, it made our lives possible: without her, Buster never could have accepted new dogwalkers, and that was a necessity with our old work schedule.
Just before Buster's death, VH and I had been in touch again by phone regarding dogsitting for our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. She was incredibly generous with her time and encouraged us to call whenever we needed. Since Buster died so soon after we spoke, I wrote to tell her and to thank her.
We received a beautiful note in reply, on the day we were picking up the ashes. A lovely and sad coincidence - or not, depending on your beliefs.