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The UPS Delivery

UPSWe got a phone message from UPS early this morning saying they would be delivering a package today that required a signature.  I was surprised: I hadn’t ordered anything (lately) and since when did UPS call you first to tell you about a delivery?  Ooh – a package, a package! And one you had to sign for too.  My kids were jumping up and down.  We all couldn’t wait to find out who was sending us a Christmas present.  A few hours went by before it hit me; I suddenly realized what the package was – and being home to receive it was the last thing I wanted to do.

I know what the package is, I told husband.  The one being delivered today that we have to sign for and that they called ahead time about.  It’s Remy.

You see when a pet dies, you have several burial options – and yes, you’re hit with these things all at once.  You can take the body and arrange a burial yourself, but that is not recommended.  Or you can have your deceased pet cremated.  If you go with the latter, you then have more decisions put in front of you.  Do you want to do the group cremation, where your dog is cremated with other dogs and then all the ashes are taken together and scattered on this supposedly lovely grassy hill, in our case about 100 miles south of us.  Or you can do a private cremation, for 3 times the cost, and then your pet’s ashes are given to you – to either save, I suppose, or dispose of as you choose.

We have an odd circumstance of not having a house we own at the moment.  Meaning no yard of our own…you know, with a big shady tree in the back, under which to bury her.  Most people have that, I think, and most people may not have to think so hard about what to do, but for us it wasn’t that simple.  Plus, at the time, I was heart broken at that shocking events that had transpired in only just a few hours.  Burial arrangements???!  I was supposed to be deciding how much food to put in her bowl and what time we would take her out for her walk.  How did we get to this?

The Urgent Care clinic said they would “hold” her for 3 days so we could have some time to figure all this out.  We went home and talked to the kids.  As is often the case, it was the one you think cares the least that has the strongest reaction.  There was NO WAY my son was going to allow Remy to just be scattered in some field in some strange town far away from us.  How would I find her in that field, he asked?  How would I know where SHE was?

It’s interesting what is important to kids and what isn’t when it comes to these types of things.  It was important for son to have a “grave” or spot – that we can visit when we want to – that we know is Remy’s.  I don’t think that’s asking too much for a dog that to us was the best dog in the world.  Then no matter where we eventually buy a house, we will always be able to go to Remy’s spot and visit her.  (I suppose we could also hold on to her ashes and wait until we get our house, then bury her there – but the new house wouldn’t be a place Remy had known, and what the heck would we do with her – this box of ashes – in the meantime??!)

Two days later, when I felt I could have the conversation without bursting into tears, I called the clinic and gave them the instructions, assuming they would call me after the cremation to come pick her up.  Oh no, they informed me, the ashes will be sent directly to you.  Seriously?  They are going to FedEx her to me?  (No, apparently they use UPS).  Obviously they think it’s more helpful to have your animal’s remains sent directly to you – more private, less chance of a scene, I suppose.  They also told me it would take about 2 weeks.  That long?  Again, not so ideal in that we were planning to do our ceremony that coming weekend.  We were hoping it would help with some closure and start us on the mending process.  Dragging it out wasn’t that appealing either.

All that came popping back in my head today as I put it all together on what that special UPS package really was.  And so, part of me doesn’t want to be here to answer the door.  I don’t want to get the package and hold the box and realize my loveable 80-pound dog is inside – what’s left of her.  I don’t want to have her ceremony now because I’m getting really good at getting through the day without crying and I don’t want to have to go through that pain all over again.

This Zen Mama Wannabe might sound selfish or awful, but what I really am is someone who misses her dog daily companion so much.  It’s like a bad cut that starts to heal, but then you do something to rip the scab and it bleeds again, and you have to wait once more for it to start to scab over.  Part of me doesn’t want to do a little ceremony for her now, because I don’t want to go back to the heartbreak I felt when it all happened.   But I realize sometimes you have to rip the scab – you have to just go for it and feel it and be okay with all that pain.  Sometimes that is the process you need to actually get through to heal.

Maybe we’ll make it like that scene near the end of Marley &  Me (where the kids are standing over the grave and they all say something or put in a little something).  Kind of fitting ironically, since Marley and Remy died in similar fashion.  Anyway, Remy deserves a good send off.  The kids deserve the chance to official say their good-byes (surprisingly another big deal to my son).  And somewhere up in heaven, Remy will be watching – and I think she’ll be happy about it too.  Or maybe she’s too busy chasing squirrels and leaping and running like she hasn’t been able to in years.  Either all, it’s all good, I think – even the tears.

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3 Responses to “The UPS Delivery”

  1. Mr. Looney Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    I am sorry to read about Remy’s passing, she sounded like such a sweet girl. I don’t have children so my 2 dogs are my babies and I would be devastated if they died. From time to time when I am loving on them, I imagine that I am saying goodbye to them for the last time and I can’t help but to cry. I think I do this to help ease the pain of when they do pass away; at least I hope it helps. My big dog Peet looks like Remy, he’s got the brown spots over the eyes, and his legs look almost identical to Remy’s. When you and your family are over the grieving process and need a dog fix, please come and visit with Peet and Emma, I’m sure that they would love to meet you all. Be well Zen Mamma, and know that your girl is running and playing in dog park heaven.

  2. Callieandbatido Says:
    December 27th, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Such a hard thing to go through. Remy sounded like an amazing dog and part of the family. I am sure the holidays were a bit hard without her.

  3. Zen Mama Wannabe Says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Thanks for the all the sweet thoughts. Remy was my “baby” for 6 years – before I had kids – and she really was the joy of my life. You can built such amazing bonds with dogs – they really do become your children. Of course it is different than actually having children, as I found out – but not any less – just different.

    I always loved the brown spots over Remy’s eyes – your dog Peet sounds lovely! Give your dogs extra pats and hugs — I sure wish I could do that with Remy. That’s one of the hardest parts, I think.

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