Forget Me Not
Even when you are expecting a pet (or person) to pass away, the reality always comes as a shock. They may well be winging their way on to a whole new life in a whole new (and possibly better) dimension, but when they have departed, all the love you have felt for them is translated into grief and loss.
In recent times my beloved feline friend Wobble Te Hau (the Associate Producer of fleaBITE and FATCAT & FISHFACE for 12 fur-filled years) shuffled off this mortal coil. She had been unwell for some months, but even as she grew skinnier and skinnier she remained cheerful, and inhabited her old sunny nooks and mouse-scented crannies.
I have found it very helpful to create in the face of loss. When she became unwell, I planted a garden of yellow and orange marigolds in the shape of a huge smiling cat face as an offering to the God of Ginger Cats. The planting and planning was therapeutic, as was the daily contemplation when watering the ginger-osity. And when Wobble had gone, she was duly wrapped in a favourite towel and buried in one of her favourite garden haunts underneath a lemon tree. I made a little shrine over her grave including a candle protected by a circle of rocks, a little vase of orange flowers, a little felt bird she used to play with, plumage from my mother’s peacock, a cat-nip filled mousie donated by friend’s cat, and I planted the surrounding area to give her a nice view for her new beginnings.
Another garden memorial was conjured a couple of months earlier, when my young nephew’s budgie flew the coop. We made a circle out of feathers poked into earth around a stump, framed it with fig leaves, and wrote the bird’s name ‘Benji’ in flowers, feathers and figlets. Now only the feathers remain, the rest having scattered to the winds. If you are interested, this kind of ‘temporary’ art is called Ephemeral Art – here’s a link to some wonderful ephemeral art images to inspire and get you started: here
We’d love to see examples of your own animal memorials…it could be a few lines in the sand, petals in the water, a driftwood construction, a sandcastle, or snow creation. Adios.