May 072012
 

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Sunday was a continuation of Keep Busy, Keep Distracted. I take any kind of loss hard, but when it’s a pet, it’s on a whole new level. I’m not the type that can be sad for a day and move on. I’ve been jittery, beyond emotional, bellyaching over nostalgia. All I can hear is that vet saying, “He’s gone” like a record being played at 16 RPM and then wondering who’s going to sit on my lap and soak up my tears when I become ridiculously and abnormally emotional watching Desperate Housewives and Vampire Diaries.

Certainly not Marcy.

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After a day spent at the park playing wiffle ball and me ducking from a frisbee, I conned Henry into finally turning off the road on the way home from Target so we could finally check out the Beth Abraham Cemetery that I always admire from the car. He didn’t seem too thrilled about it, but Chooch began chirping him from the backseat and that combined with my impromptu sobbing finally did him in.

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Of course, he wound up getting the car stuck. The road eventually fades away to weeds and maintenance refuse, leaving little to no room to turn around. Still, he tried it anyway (anything for the chance to flex his professional driver muscles) but all that did was make our tires bounce off the curb like an oversized bumper car. After swearing at me and telling me over and over again that he hates me, he threw the car in reverse and backed the whole way out.

“Oh, please park in that little lot there so we can get out for a minute,” I pleaded. What good is a cemetery drive through if you can’t get out and plant your feet on the decrepit, moss-covered pathways?

Henry was not happy about this either, but I had Chooch on my side, so Henry swung the car angrily into the tiny lot next to the cemetery office, and Chooch and I happily took off.

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Think what you want about our past times, but the truth is that cemeteries are the only places outside of Warped Tour where I feel at peace. Why is it that other people can take solace in church but then I’m crucified for finding my own peace in a plot of land which is, hello, CONNECTED TO THE CHURCH. It makes no sense to me that there people out there who think I’m Satanic for this, or endangering my child. How am I endangering him? For giving him a healthy and realistic outlook on death? For not making up some goddamn fairy tale?

The fact of the matter is that Chooch and I have some of our best conversations in cemeteries. And that includes when he was still in utero. This time we talked about the Jewish tradition of leaving stones on the graves. I let him add one to a bare headstone, but only after he said a few nice words to the person buried there.

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Henry and I both have the day off work, since we originally were technically supposed to be coming home from Philly today. I’m glad he’s home, because I can’t bear the thought of being alone in the house just yet.

The last five months have taught me that I love animals too hard and I should probably never get another pet again. It’s just too much on my heart.

  13 Responses to “Sanctuary”

  1. That cemetery is pretty. And the graves look like they’re going to tip over, which is kind of cool.

    I understand the pet thing. After we had to put my dog to sleep, it broke my heart so hard I vowed to never buy another pet I could get emotionally attached to (which I am not so sure exists, since I love animals more than I love humans). I also made my cat promise me he won’t die before I do.

  2. There is nothing wrong with finding solace in a cemetery. They are very beautiful and peaceful places. There is a lovely Jewish cemetery a block from me, with a pond and foot bridge.

  3. First, never, ever, let a death stop you from loving the living. You are an animal lover–the world needs those and pets need homes. You may not be ready now, but don’t dismiss it completley.

    Next, thanks for that posting. I don’t know why but I found it very comforting. I think you are doing a fantastic job in teaching Chooch about the circle of life. I have not done such a great job with my kid…thus he is terrified of death, old people, sickness and cemetaries. So, I commend you and Henry on that. Now, care to teach my kid?

    We (I) miss you here at work but I suppose I missed enough work that it is only fair. But, Barb is a good stand-in and if we didn’t have the humming, we’d probably have a good time tonight.

    Take care of yourself or we are going to have to do a friendtervention.

    xoxo Carey

  4. I always say that’s it. No more pets. I am sick to my stomach when they are sick or “appear” to be off and just dont seem right. And when something bad happens….unthinkable to think about. But can you imagine your life without a pet. Home would be so empty.

    • I know. I’m already changing my mind, just watching Marcy mope around and looking all depressed, I think the presence of a new baby would do her some good too. Maybe in a few weeks…

  5. It is said that each animal that comes into our lives has something to teach us. Do you know yet what Don taught you, Erin?

    • He taught me to laugh thru the pain, for sure. No matter how down I was, he was ALWAYS there and it was impossible not to at the very least smile in his presence. When Speck died, we totally consoled each other.

      And he also taught me to ALWAYS step lightly on the first step, because you never know if a cat is curled up in the shadows!

      Fuck, I miss him.

  6. “How am I endangering him? For giving him a healthy and realistic outlook on death? For not making up some goddamn fairy tale?”

    Exactly. And good for you for not lying to him, or trying to cover up part of what it’s like to live on this planet. Sheltering children does zero good.

    I’m really sorry about Don.

  7. I used to live across the street from a cemetery and often took my step-daughter there for long walks. We used to look at headstones to see how long people lived, and how long ago, etc. Cemeteries are peaceful and not creepy at all.

    So sorry about the loss of your kitty. Animals are beloved family members for sure.

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