Saturday was full of ups and downs. Weather-wise, it was stupidly beautiful for mid-November: blue skies and 60s. But it was in this unseasonable weather that we finally buried Marcy in the Fallen Timber pet cemetery with our other cats: Speck, Don, and Willie. You might remember that she passed away at the end of March. Henry took her body to the cemetery right after that, paid the rest of the amount for her plot, and was told by the Western PA Humane Society that we would be contacted later on in the spring, that the ground had to thaw, etc etc etc.
In the meantime, they happily deposited our check.
Sometime in May, my friend Debbie alerted me to a series of complaints left on the pet cemetery’s Facebook page. Turns out, the Humane Society sold the facility RIGHT AFTER we gave them Marcy to a woman named Rise. She also runs a cat sanctuary, but had her eye on their facility for years and wanted it to supplement the sanctuary of non-adoptable cats she was already caring for. Her plan is to use it for a shelter for animals that can be adopted, but she was basically left with a real shit storm to sort through. She had no idea that the cemetery was part of the deal, and the Humane Society left her with broken burial equipment, a filing cabinet full of records on index cards, and a box of headstones that people paid years ago to have installed on their pets’ graves.
Every time Henry called the Humane Society to complain, they directed him to Rise who was near tears every time they talked because she felt so helpless and completely sorry for us. Apparently, there were several other animals left behind that needed buried as well, so we weren’t alone.
Long story short: Rise rules and the Humane Society sucks. The mess that they left her with was finally sorted out, and she called to tell us that she and her volunteers were finally equipped to bury Marcy. One of her volunteers told us that when they called the Department of Agriculture to come out and inspect the property, that the Humane Society had been operating that place for years without having a license! WTF, Humane Society?!
For as traumatic as the whole situation was, I have to say that because of her overwhelming compassion and the kindness of the volunteer who accompanied us to the burial site, this was the most peaceful funerals of all 4 of my cats. I will always be grateful for that, and for Rise’s refusal to give up on the cemetery. It really is such a pivotal part of the mourning process, and I’m relieved that it’s still available for those who find comfort there — and it’s in much better condition now, too.
Of course, Marcy wouldn’t let this go down without one last hitch: they dug the wrong hole. I have four plots all in a row, and her hole was dug on another plot. Rise was mortified. “These poor people! Oh, I can’t even look at them!” she cried to the volunteer who had come down from the hill to deliver the news.
The grave digger had left to get more fuel for his machinery, so we assured Rise it was fine and that we would just go and get lunch and then come back. We had waited this long, what was one more hour?
We went down the road a bit to Eagle’s Landing, a causal restaurant that’s next to the Rostraver Airport runway, where Chooch announced to the waitress, “I’d like to order an appetizer…” and then almost as an afterthought, “…for the table.” Henry was like, “Oh really? Are you buying?”
And that’s how we got to enjoy a provolone wheel. Thanks for your generosity, Chooch.
Kid Eats Pie
That table of older gentlemen behind Chooch talked candidly about ISIS and I felt such fear. I kept shushing Henry and Chooch every time they would have the audacity to speak over top of this table of men 20 feet away, because I didn’t want to miss anything. Like it was Carrie Matheson and Peter Quinn sitting there, hunched over lemon meringue pies and coffee, discussing field orders.
We watched an older couple pay for their lunch, get inside their little jet-thing, and then perform a wobbly take-off for all of us diners to gape at.
The food was whatever, but we still had a great time, mostly at Henry’s expense. It felt kind of weird to be cracking up over meringue and rural airports, considering we were about to head back and watch Marcy being lowered into her final resting place. I’m so glad that I didn’t have to go through this alone, and that Henry pretty much handled the entire ordeal on his own because he knows I would have just drowned on my uncontrollable waterfall of tears and then landed up in prison after making a series of sloppy threats against the Humane Society.
After lunch, we went back to the cemetery and said goodbye to Marcy one final time. It sucked, there really is no better word for it, and I’m glad that it’s finally over.
“I just wanted her to be with the other cats,” I said to Henry in the car afterward, sniffling.
“Well, now she is,” Henry replied, patting my leg. “And she probably hates you for it.”
I pretty much just clung to Henry for the rest of the weekend.