Celebrating your animal companions after they are gone
There are ways of celebrating and remembering your pet that may not feel right soon after their loss, but as time passes may feel more appropriate to you.
Many people celebrate their animal’s birthdays throughout the years they are together, and continue those celebrations even after their pet is gone. Others hang ornaments or stockings at the holidays, in memory of their beloved critters.
You may want to offer your services at a local animal shelter, and share all that love you have with animals who are waiting for their forever families to find them. Most rescue groups are always looking for foster families, and donations made in your pet’s name to animal organizations are greatly appreciated.
On the 10th anniversary of Martha’s passing I put flowers and a balloon bouquet at her rock garden in the backyard. Over the years I’ve spent many happy hours sitting on the bench next to Martha’s garden. One of my most vivid dreams was of Martha dancing right where that garden was created. She was standing upright in the dream, dancing in the moonlight with a flock of flamingoes!
Here is what I did for my dear Jake. I picked up his ashes a few days after he had been cremated. They were in a small cardboard box, which I put on my kitchen shelf because my heart was so broken I couldn’t begin to think about what to do with them. However, I found myself talking to “the box” all the time.
In the months that followed I brought Jake’s ashes to many of the favorite places he and I had visited together over the years. Some were scattered in the park we went to all the time. Ashes were left on the path we took on our daily walks by my home. More ashes were scattered at the beach, as I remembered how Jake had loved to run along the Oregon coastline.
On the first anniversary of Jake’s passing, I bought a beautiful little stone box with a black and white feather engraved in the cover. Jake was black and white, and I knew this feather must look exactly like the ones in his newly-acquired angel wings! I put most of the remaining ashes in the stone box and set it on my mantel.
Shortly after that I received two unexpected gifts. One was an exquisite box with a feather inside, along with a scroll saying the feather was from my angel dog. The other was a magnificent print of a black and white feather, floating under a starry sky. These beautiful gifts from two very special friends left me reassured that my angel Jake would always watch over me.
The rest of Jake’s ashes remain in the original cardboard box…in my kitchen…on the shelf. Perhaps it seems silly, but it brings me comfort having them there.