Ash was our half mad half grown kitten. Our dog Tigger found him on the street and played with him for a bit. Days later, he turned up at our place and Tigger invited him in. We failed to find his original owner, and so he stayed. He was part Abyssinian, and part moggy, and preternaturally bright. He wrecked our carpet and kept us up at night. He was a wanderer, and faithless with it. Tigger, however, adored him. They would play together for hours.
We had him only a couple of months. The second time he went missing, it was for days. In the end I rang the city council, and yes they had found him, dead on the side of the road. They take a note of the dead cats they find. I burst into tears and asked to come and get him. The woman on the phone gently and awkwardly explained that I could not come for him, that they didn’t, they umm, they, well, he wasn’t…that I needed to understand…
So there was no body. Nothing to fare well.
We all know how to farewell pets. When I was a child, our next door neighbour’s guinea pig Rusty died while they were away and I was looking after him. Even though he wasn’t ours, we buried him in their yard and laid flowers and said good bye. When my daughter was at kindergarten, Sapphire the kindergarten budgie died and everyone brought a flower for his grave. He was buried with due ceremony at the end of the morning class and the whole community was involved.
For Ash, we just had the memory.
Nevertheless we wanted to say good bye and to show him we cared, to ease his passing to the Happy Hunting Ground, which I now think is in Shamanic terms the Lower World. We dug a hole. We treated it like a grave. I put some food in it, and his brush, and we gathered with some friends. We all wrote on small pieces of paper things we liked about Ash, and we threw them into the hole. We filled in the hole. We sang. We walked away. We have several graves of beloved pets in our yard, and I count Ash’s as one of them even though his body is not there. We knew him briefly but his life was the whole of his life, and he was worth memorialising. Love to Ash.
Led by a dream, literally, I have used my past personal and professional experiences to walk consciously and spiritually with death. These blog posts have been written over several years, as life has changed for me and my purpose has become clearer.