For us saying good-bye on Saturday to our feline companion Misha did not end with the visit to the vet clinic and watching the veterinarian inject him with what would cause his immediate death. I had decided that I wanted Misha cremated and that was to take place three days later on a Tuesday morning, almost three miles east of Decatur on Ponce de Leon at Paws, Whiskers & Wags: Your Pet Crematory.
I had awakened the Monday morning after Misha’s death with an unnerving dream of his returning to me and Chiboogamoo. Because of the cool fall morning, he was doing the customary snuggling under our covers with us. At first, I was delighted. Then I discovered that my dream Misha was still in pain, his tumor even larger, but he could not leave us. I felt the agony all over again of needing to help him die. I woke up. The hour was early—before 5:00 am. I drew another picture of Misha and me. Four hours later, Paws, Whiskers & Wags called me to arrange Misha’s cremation.
I found out I had crematorium options! I could see Misha one more time! He had not already become ASHES! Hallelujah! He was not only a phantom in my dreams nor only an image in my drawings, but Misha was also still inhabiting this earth in his physical body. The Paws, Whiskers & Wags employee assured me that it would not be too awful to see him one more time. This announcement lead to my learning more about the process of having one’s pet cremated.
After we left Misha at Village Vets, he was tagged with a tracking device so that he could be located if the need arose. I also learned that he had been refrigerated and still looked as good as he did at his death. Waiting in the mourning room of Paws, Whiskers & Wags, Chiboogamoo and I received a comforting announcement from the pet crematorium employee. “Misha’s a beautiful animal,” she exclaimed as she wheeled him in where we were waiting to see him one last time. Indeed, Misha looked at peace. His eyes were now shut, and his body had been carefully shaped into a restful sleep position with his paws tucked gently towards his chest and his head ever so slightly curved in. He WAS beautiful!
Chiboogamoo and I were given time to spend with him before we followed him into the crematorium room. The man who was about to cremate Misha, came forward and hugged us! Oh! Our grief was so honored and respected. The top was put on the cardboard box that entombed Misha’s body. Then the steel table was moved to the front of the burning chamber and slid in. We watched as the bottom of Misha’s cardboard box burst into flames. The steel door slowly closed down from the top like the curtain coming down in a theatre. It was the end of the wonderful life performance of dear, dear Misha. His cremation would take an hour.
I wrote most of this blog entry as Chiboogamoo and I waited in the crematory’s mourning room. We held hands and expressed the newfound peace we had acquired by participating in Misha’s cremation. We felt closure. Relief comes from knowing where Misha is. I took him home in a cedar box, and his ashes are in front of me as I finish this blog entry.
|ROSE PETALS AND ASHES. We let Misha (now ashes in the cedar box) stay out in the courtyard all day underneath rose petals, a gift from fellow feline worshipper Jacq Marie. Incense and candles honor his spirit.|
Cremation isn’t cheap—costing over 150 dollars. I feel slightly guilty about spending money on a deceased pet when there are so many living animals that need food and shelter. Yet as a condo dweller without a yard to bury our beloved feline, I could not bear for him to disappear entirely from my surroundings. I am thankful that such a humane business as Paws, Whiskers & Wags exists to comfort human sorrow over the loss of an animal companion. Perhaps having gone through this experience with Misha will give us courage to take on a new family feline in the future, knowing that the end can be made bearable.
Hallelujah Friends, Family, and Felines! When the bell tolls for thee….may you be loved and helped along to the next dimension as we were with Misha. That’s Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me about how you said good-bye to your beloved feline family member.