Because frankly, my garden is full. Do I dig up a shrub and put LeRoy under it? Do I take advantage of the fact that we need to deep a very big, deep hole, and choose a spot that happens to be overrun by pernicious weeds, figuring that I can (oh dear, I really am about to say it) kill two birds with one stone?
Do I carve out some little memorial grove for him, or do I just pick an out-of-the-way spot where his eternal rest won’t be disturbed? And the problem with little memorial groves is this: where does it end? We have another cat and four hens, all of whom may well end up six feet under (well, maybe three feet under) themselves. The place could start to look like a cemetery after a while.
And about those chickens. They love a freshly-dug hole. They are guaranteed to find that loose earth and start digging for worms. I mean, we planned to dig a hole that would be several feet deep, but what if the hens started digging and some other creature–a raccoon? a skunk?–came along and finished the job? The possibility was just too horrible to contemplate. So I ruled out the chicken-accessible backyard.
I also ruled out the front yard. It’s filled with lovely plants, any one of which could have been uprooted for this purpose, but the front yard just feels too public for that sort of thing.
So that leaves the side yard, by our kitchen door. It’s private and enclosed, but chicken-free. I’m in the middle of re-planting this area, but I felt fine about putting him under this little statue.
And there he rests, right outside my kitchen window, next to a path I walk almost every day. In hindsight, maybe I should have tucked him into a corner so he’d have a little privacy. I also realized later that there were a few spots in the garden where he liked to hang out–although they were very public spots in the front yard, maybe that would have been the right choice? But it’s done, and it’s fine.
How do you do it, if you do?
And one final note: what about coffins? My last cat came home from the vet in a cardboard box, with a little flower taped to the top. It somehow didn’t quite feel like we were burying a cat. It was more like–well, burying a box. But LeRoy was just–there. I thought he needed something, so we wrapped him in a towel and laid him in the ground. It was very personal and very real. As someone who digs in the dirt a lot, I am oddly aware of the fact that he is down there, with the bugs and the roots. Maybe that’s a good thing. Weird, but–you know–real.