Early Monday Morning . . .

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The grass is lush and wet with dew, the ground spongy on this Monday morning. The dog named Elvis wants to play, leaping up with dirty paws as the couple navigates their way across the expansive backyard down to the fence.

She is fearful of falling, even against the soft ground. Too many bad memories from the accident. The man calls out to the dog, commands him to stop.  She tries to push the over-eager hound away, her voice breaking a little.  She hasn’t slept at all and her nerves are raw.

“I’m sorry, Elvis. Not now. Just–not now.”  Slogging through the thick grass, they finally reach the big pecan tree at the fence.

The hole has already been dug. The man had done it the day before. He’d had the feeling the night would end as it did.

He carries a sturdy plastic container with a snap-on lid. He had bought it a few days before. Once the woman finally spoke of the inevitable, it had freed him to make preparations.

The container was hot pink. He’d thought she’d like that better than the clear ones. More–girly, he had said, with a sad, sheepish smile.

The man lowers the container into the hole. For a moment, he bows his head and presses his hand on the top. “Goodbye, girl,” he says softly.  This is the fifth time he’s gone through such a ceremony here beneath the big, shady pecan tree. It just doesn’t ever get any easier.

Standing, he wraps his arm around the woman and gives her a hug, brushing his lips against her cheek.  She can feel tears running down her face. She is not sure if they are her tears, or his.

With a sigh, he releases her and picks up the shovel, filling in the hole and patting the earth down firmly before placing the concrete block on top.

A concrete block  isn’t very girly, but it does help protect the gravesite.

They pause for a few moments, saying nothing, and then turn to walk back to the house. He gives her the shovel. “That should help you keep steady,” he said with a half-smile.  He is such a kind and gentle man.

She wouldn’t trade him for all the gold or gorgeous actors in the world.

About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

16 responses »

  1. I am so sorry about your Pruddie. I have lost some beloved pets and have cried for days with loss and grief. Even over a budgie I hand fed. People looked at me strangely.I wish I can take away your sadness but instead I will just remind you that I understand.

    And never trade a kind and gentle man for any celebrity in the world.

    • I think it is sometimes hard for people who haven’t had pets to quite understand the grief and sorrow a person can feel when we lose one. I do appreciate your understanding. And do not worry. I’m planning on keeping my dear boy for a long, long time. 🙂 He is a treasure.

  2. I´m so sorry about what have happened with your pet ,Angie. I know that isn´t easy to miss a loved one. All we, in some day in our lives, have already get through for similar moments and this is a very hard thing. So I understand your sorrow perfectly. Only the time will appease your mind. Be in peace,dear Angie.

    • Thank you, Tereza. Yes, if you live long enough and love very much, you will have your heart broken on repeated occasions when those you love pass away, animal or human. I don’t regret those I have loved, but yes, it does hurt and it takes time. It will get a little easier, but we will always miss her, of course.

  3. Beautifully and evocatively written, Angie, expressing so well the deep grief that the loss of a beloved family member that a pet is brings. You have celebrated Pruddie’s existence by loving her into being in your own unique way. And she will always be in your heart.

    • Thanks, Millyme. It’s hard to write about certain things. But as I told a friend who asked how I could manage to write columns about such experiences, “I cry, and then I write, and then I cry some more, and write some more.” It’s ultimately cathartic, and I believe certain experiences are universal–love, loss, grief, acceptance. So maybe what I write can, in some way, help someone else.

  4. Beautifully written, Angie. All I can say is that Puddie was a very lucky pet to have you and Benny and Callie and Thumper as her family! 🙂 She knew she was loved and cherished and took this knowledge with her to the other side!

    • Thanks. I have said before if I believed in being reincarnated as an animal, I would want to belong to someone like our family. Poor old Thumper. She is kind of a loner but she and Puddie had bonded in their own way, and now Puddie’s gone. We’ve been making sure Thumper spends more time with us–getting head rubs and foot massages (we massage her with our feet. She loves it LOL) Alas, Callie gets a bit jealous.

      • I made friends with a gorgeous calico cat yesterday. She (I think it was a she) was lounging on top of a not too tall gate pillar (the houses in our area are surrounded by fences). She let me pet her and scratch her head and then started licking my hand, which was weird as normally cats don’t do that. (Or do they?) Anyway, meeting this very friendly feline made me think of you and Puddie.. *sigh*

        • Calicos are females more than something like 99 percent of the time, so there’s a very good chance it was a she. I remember seeing a lovely calico cat outside a flat in London when we were walking through Kensington. I took a photo of her. Although she wasn’t as pretty as our Callie turned out to be. 😉 Maybe she thought you tasted good? 😀 Actually, we had a very lovable kitty named Mary Ann who LOVED her daddy, and she would start licking the top of his head and didn’t want to stop! LOL

          • I didn’t know calicos were predominantly females! I hope I get to meet her again. She was lovely. 🙂 I have another feline friend, a beutiful tabby cat who lives down the road, whenever he sees me, he always runs up to me for a scratch and a rub! 🙂

            • Yeah, I knew every calico cat I had ever met 😉 was female and I read somewhere that the vast majority are girls. They also seem to be particularly sweet-natured cats. I would LOVE to have a long-haired calico. I really miss my Puddie’s wonderful plume-like tail and general fuzziness.

              • She was. Although in those last days . . . oh, I kept thinking if she only felt well enough to realize it she would hate how unkempt her fur had become. I thought of brushing it but I think it might make her more uncomfortable. So I just stroked it a lot.

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