Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ashes to Ashes

On Tuesday, I opened my front door to find on  my porch a small unmarked cardboard box that contained the ashes of my Roma. They were carefully sealed in plastic and then wrapped a gold mesh bag, which was in turn tied with a gold ribbon. In the box with the ashes were a condolence card from the crematorium and a statement that verifies the ashes are hers. Of course they are. I knew instinctively they were, even though they look like a 1-pound bag of corn meal from the bulk section of Wheatsville.  I cradled the bag in my hands for a moment. Of course they are hers. They contain the weight of her wisdom.

I confess that I feel relieved to have her back. For the last week, I have been bereft, unanchored without her, without knowing exactly where she was. To be able to touch some part of her again is comforting, even though what I'm holding is made up almost entirely of the old bones and teeth that gave her such trouble at the end of her life.

Another thing that satisfies is knowing how the story of Roma ended. It was an awesome responsibility to care for her, and too often I worried about the worst things that could happen. So it is with satisfaction that I can say, she had a long and interesting life, and it ended as well as it could, when she was fourteen and four months old. I can say now that, although she once ran across Highway 360, she was never hit by a car. And although she once got skunked, she was never bitten by a snake. Although she once fell through the ice on a pond in Massachusetts, she never was without a home, a bed, a full food bowl, and a basket full of toys she ignored, not while she was my dog. I am satisfied with the story of Roma and the role I played in helping to write its pages. She was a dear and wise old thing, stubborn and funny, and I loved her. End of story.

Pats to all your dogs.

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