Nine days later

It’s been nine days already. I don’t know how I made it to today, but I did.

For a time, my mind was just stuck on Wednesday. I had no idea what day it was. I had no appetite. Any attempts to eat made me feel like vomiting. Then I got sick and I had to get my act together. Zack always worried when I got sick. I’m not about to have him worry about me in the afterlife. I had to take care of myself.

The day after he passed away, I didn’t sleep. I wanted to pick him up from the veterinary hospital immediately and get him laid to rest properly. But where on earth should be his final resting place? Most people I knew cremated their dogs. I put my foot down – no way was Zack getting cremated. I cannot imagine burning his body to ashes. I wanted him buried properly.

I found a pet cemetery in a province that was at least two hours away from where we lived. While it looked beautiful and peaceful, I had qualms burying Zack there. How can we visit him if he’s so far away? I contacted them and learned that they sell pet caskets. Proper looking caskets. No other colors to choose from, but better something than nothing. But where can he be buried? I called home to talk to my mom, but she was out. I spoke to my sister who promptly said, “bring him home”. Later, I learned that Mom already picked a spot in the garden – a nice, quiet spot as Zack’s final resting place.

The casket was to be delivered the next day, which meant if we picked up his body, he can’t be buried yet. Our vet said we can pick him up when we have the casket. They’ll keep him without any fees. Later in the afternoon, I received a text that the casket will be delivered that evening. Good news, although we still decided to pick up Zack’s body the next day.

The next morning, we bought flowers for him and headed to the veterinary hospital to get him. We brought the casket along, so they can put him inside. Turns out it wasn’t difficult to do that because his body was in a well-sealed box already. Had we not found a casket, the box would’ve been enough to bury him in. But we had his casket, he was placed inside and we headed home. We held a simple memorial service. I recited a lovely prayer that I found most fitting to how we felt. When his casket was lowered, we threw flowers on his casket. He was finally at rest. I can finally rest easy that we gave him a proper send-off.

Since he died, we’ve been praying every night at 11:40PM. Last night was the ninth night for the prayers. I’ve also been working on his resting place, which I call in my head his memory garden. We bought white rocks, plus solar lights to keep it lit at night. I haven’t ordered his headstone yet, but a memorial stone is on its way.

Nine days later, I still miss Zack terribly. I miss waking up and finding him asleep near me, sometimes with his head on my shoulder. I miss his loud snores. I miss watching him when he finally wakes up. I miss cleaning his face in the morning, brushing his teeth and hair, preparing his breakfast, his medicines and vitamins, and feeding him. I miss massaging his little face and giving him body rubs. I miss wiping his feet after going for walks. I miss his drive-by leg licks. I miss cheering him on when he climbs stairs (because his ability to climb stairs eventually became a hard-won achievement…long story). I miss when he goes to me and puts his head under my hand for a head massage. I miss hearing the sound of his little feet walking around. I miss the sounds he makes – the sighs, whines, barks, even his little scoffs. I miss greeting him, “how’s my little baby? how’s my baby love?” when I get home. I miss kissing him on his forehead – hubby says Zack closes his eyes when I kiss him. I miss his vanilla scent. I miss carrying him in my arms while I sing songs to him. I miss him falling asleep on my lap.

Yes, there are so many things I miss about him. It’s true though, “if love could’ve saved you, you would’ve lived forever”.  But his body needed to rest, so his spirit can soar like it’s meant to. He was my little angel and now he’s got the wings he so richly deserved.


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