After writing yesterday’s blog post, I had a shower and then went downstairs. My wife was sat on the sofa with Stan’s casket on her lap. She asked if Id like to sit and hold him, which I did, and I immediately broke into floods of tears once more. While the casket contains Stan’s ashes, it also feels like a real connection to him as he was. It can never be the same, of course, but that sense of it being him is still there.
At the moment he follows us around the house in his casket – in my office while I’m working, in the living room when we are downstairs, and then on my bedside table overnight. I’m gaining comfort from this but I know that it will not be something we do for the long term. Either I will grow around my grief and not feel the need for that physical connection, or I will need to stop myself from doing it as it will make it more difficult to move forward with my life. I’ve tried to think back to the loss of our previous cats, but cannot remember if I treat their caskets in the same way – they definitely stayed in the living room for quite some time, but I don’t know if we moved them around the house with us in the way we are doing with Stan’s.
Again, this comes down partially to that increased sence of spirituality that I sense at times like these. I want there to be some follow on after our lives come to an end, and dearly hope to be reunited with loved ones again. And it’s this sense that there is something more that can make it more difficult to move forward. A sense of guilt (again) that if we start to move forward that the one we have lost will know and somehow be saddened by that. I think that this is just part of the healing process – my mind knitting itself back together – and that if our loved ones are looking on at how we are coping, they will absolutely know how much we loved them and that we wish so much that they were still with us, happy and well.
My wife and I went out for our lunch today to a garden centre not too far from where we live (we’d take our sons but they have little interest in such trips if they can avoid them). We had sandwiches, shared some chips, and got a couple of pieces of cake to take home with us to eat later (the boys already have a chocolate cake in the house – we don’t exclude them from treats!). While we were in the restaurant we noticed that it was dog-friendly, and a number of people had their dogs with them. I thought it would be difficult to see other people with their pets, but I’m glad to see them happy with their animals. It’s a nice thing to see.
Here’s Stan on my office chair. The chequered bit is my shirt, the white bit my ass. He would sometimes squeeze into the gap between me and the chair back, occasionally twisting his head around for a stroke or a chin-tickle, making me quite uncomfortable but very happy to have him there. I wish so much he was here doing it now.