A brief online search for “death of a pet” will bring you to a number of websites that present any and all aspects of having a pet die. From creating a special ritual for burial to dealing with grief over the loss of a favorite family member–because let’s face it; our pets are family–to understanding when it’s time to say goodbye or handling an abrupt, tragic accident, internet sources can help guide us through this emotional territory.
Coping with the death of a pet can be a surprising challenge. We love our personality-filled cats and dogs, and they seem to love us. Our children may have a particularly hard time understanding and adjusting to the disappearance of their animal buddies. And we should remember that, in a time of great stress–this pandemic, for instance–a pet’s passing might land even harder on us all.
Katrina Klinge’s cat died last April. Her loss is not buried under the overwhelming tragedy of human deaths caused by COVID 19; it’s vividly present. She remembers Pepita in prose…
Here she is awaiting burial…a faded yellow towel for a shroud, nestled peacefully in a basket. I placed her in the dappled light of the mudroom windows.
Often, over the last few weeks, I would find her upstairs on Eric’s side of the bed, soaking in the sunlight of the late afternoon. Her fur warm. Her eyes half-closed in bliss.
When I kiss her forehead now, where the sunlight has warmed her, I can pretend that she is still alive. Perhaps she is about to swat my face to send a message–
“Get the f*** outta my space! You’re blocking the light.”
The Evil Queen…she hated everyone, but loved the sun.
Katrina Klinge is a volunteer on the CFD Education and Awareness Committee. She says, “I spend a lot of time on planning animal wakes and funeral ceremonies. I even made a playlist for Pepita. Yes, maybe it’s childish, but I don’t care. It feels good to me.”