As it turns out, digging a grave for a frail elderly cat is more work than you’d expect, especially in North Texas clay with all kinds of thick roots running through it. But making yourself too tired to cry is kinda useful, too.
We buried J.J. with the ashes of Jordan and Sandy in the southwest corner of our back yard (ignore the condition of the soil—I’ll be remediating it this spring). As I said to Lyndon, their little boxes are just something I dust and it would be more appropriate to mingle their ashes with J.J. We also added one of Lyndon’s old shoes, because J.J. loved to sing to Lyndon’s shoes at night, dragging one into the middle of the floor and MEOOOOOOOOOWing to it.
I cried a lot yesterday, especially in the shower, and only got to sleep with some pharmaceutical help. Today, however, is memorial day. So I went to Calloways and asked them what kind of rose or flowering shrub would work well over the grave. Since it only gets 6 hours of sunlight in the morning they said that a rose would be problematic but an azalea bush would work well in that kind of partial sunlight, blooms in spring and fall, and we could always plant annuals around it for additional color.
So I bought a small azalea bush with red blossoms, some shrub soil, additional lantana for the southern flower bed to replace the ones that got killed in the frost, then came home and put on my gardening clothes. I grabbed border stones from the little wall ringing the tree stump out front (will someone please remind me to have people come out this summer and grind out the danged thing?) and used those as a border, then dug a hole for the azalea bush, added the shrub soil and some mulch, and watered it.
I can see it from my kitchen window when I’m at the sink, which makes me, well, as happy as I can be at the moment. Afterwards I took the practically unused box of Hydra Care into our vet to have it donated to someone who could use it and thanked them for taking such good care of J.J., and of course I burst into tears at the end of it. Lyndon and I will probably grieve for some time, and even Jeremy, who is Not a Cat of Much Brain, has noticed that something is wrong and wants to stay with me when I’m in the house. I guess he’s my new shadow and bodyguard. As for Jessie, she keeps wandering around the house, then comes up to me wanting scritches and reassurance. Jemma and Jasmine don’t seem to be bothered all that much but they weren’t raised by J.J. and Jordan the way Jer and Jess were.
There’s a palpable absence in the house. I keep walking past the futon, which has now been cleaned and had its cover put back on, and it’s so strange not to see J.J. laying on his bedding and lifting his head to look at me. Lyndon said that he always used to talk to J.J. when he came in from the shops and was putting things away in the kitchen, and last night after he ran to Walmart it hurt not seeing J.J. watching him while he chatted about his day.
He was an amazing cat, and he will be missed deeply.