Yesterday I received a call from my daughter as I was finishing my dinner.
“Dad, are you busy right now?” I could hear a strain in her voice, but wasn’t sure what it was about.
“The neighbor’s dog jumped over the fence and attacked Kitty. Kitty’s dead.” After getting the words out, the hard crying commenced.
Upon getting some of the details of the story, I told her I would come over and help her. She wanted to bury kitty and give her a nice send off.
When I pulled into the driveway, my heart broke. I saw my daughters sitting on a blanket in the front yard. There were flowers in the middle of the blanket and they both were crying healthily.
I could see they were heartbroken.
I got a lump in my throat before I got out of the car and pulled it together by the time I got out. I walked up to them and let them know how sorry I was. I had them show me where and how it happened.
I hugged Juju and when she got up to tell the story, I gave Riri a hug as she was sitting and crying. I rubbed her back in attempt to show love, empathy and to give a little comfort.
This was one of those situations that just simply sucked.
After I saw the location and understood what had happened, my oldest daughter, Yana, pulled up in the driveway. She bought some flowers and Saran Wrap.
Yana went into the garage and brought the kitty out in a box. Before wrapping it up for burial, Juju and Riri put in a freshly cut pink rose from their yard and also put in Kitty’s favorite play toy into the box.
Yana and I then wrapped the box good and tight and placed it in a black garbage bag. I got my shovel out of the car and the girls picked a spot for the burial that was in between two trees in the front yard.
We chose the spot and I began digging. Digging is not one of my favorite activities. Since we were in between two trees, there were a lot of roots to break up. It took about 10 minutes to dig a grave big enough for the box.
However, in the middle of the digging, I noticed that tears started streaming down my face. I looked around and Juju and Riri were still crying pretty good and Yana was also moved. Yana had a friend there as well. While she was not crying, she was very empathic and kind.
It made me sad to see my girls hurting.
I kept digging and after getting a particularly unruly root out of the grave, I took a break to catch my breath. When I did, I couldn’t stop crying. My girls noticed and made a funny comment about it.
After I went back to digging the grave, I figured out what was going on. Not only was I feeling sad for my girls, but I realized that the last time I shoveled, I was digging the grave for my son in South Carolina 14 years ago this month.
I allowed myself a few moments of deep agony while digging. It is folly to deny it. It is the type of agony that NEVER goes away. In case you are interested, you can read about it here.
While having all those horribly sad memories surface again was extraordinarily painful, it helped me be more in the moment with my girls and be with them in their time of grief.
When I finally finished the grave, we made sure it was deep enough for the box and then, after waiting on Juju who left for a moment, I starting covering the box that Kitty was in by gently place dirt around it and on top.
When done, Juju and Riri adorned the site with a candle, some flowers and pieces of the gnarly root.
We all stood around the grave and shared some memories and thoughts.
We had long moments of silence, more tears and just pondered the circumstances.
After Juju and Riri indicated it was ok for everyone to go. Yana, her friend and I walked up to the driveway.
I put my shovel back into the van and I looked over the grave site and saw Juju and Riri kneeling on the ground on opposite sides of the grave.
They were taking more time to grieve. It was a very sweet scene.
While no one looks forward to moments like this. They are part of the human experience.
Part of the human experience.
I know my girls will miss Kitty. She was a stinkin’ cute little cat. She gave my girls the gift of love through her cuddles and fun personality. She also gave them a gift of life as they experienced a broader and.more complete spectrum of life itself.
A nice thought for me that brings hard tears to me eyes is the hope that maybe Kitty is curled up and laying down with my son, Scott Jr. in Heaven.
Whether true or not, I’m going with that.