I picked up Tommy’s ashes yesterday. They’ve been sitting at the vet’s since three days after he passed on 20th March, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go and get them.
While Tommy’s moment of leaving was ultimately peaceful, beautiful, touching, and far less traumatic or distressing than I ever expected, and the weeks since have been far better than I had imagined, I didn’t want his ashes. I didn’t want them in my home. I wanted HIM.
I wished I’d gone ahead with taxidermy, which was the only thing that had felt right to me, but I didn’t pursue it because everyone I mentioned it to looked so horrified and I always think it’s best to follow the advice of those closest to you during times when your own emotions are so raw. But I really didn’t know what to do.
I looked into memorial glass that incorporates the ashes of a loved one, and even visited a glassblower in Bath last Saturday, and tearfully considered commissioning a piece in black, white, and amber because Tommy was a tri. Maybe I could ask two dear friends to collect Tommy’s ashes and to send the teaspoon needed for the piece, so I wouldn’t have to go anywhere near the ashes myself? But then what would I do with the rest?
And then yesterday, instead of turning left to the supermarket as I’d planned, I found myself turning right, driving to Sidings Vets, walking in and asking for Tommy. His favourite vet peered out from behind a cabinet … the lovely Patrick who helped Tommy go so peacefully. And he said he would bring the ashes outside to me. There he presented me with the most beautifully carved box, something I wasn’t expecting at all. It was perfect, and I instantly knew what I would do. Tommy will stay in there, placed right next to me on the little table next to my favourite spot on the sofa, where he used to snuggle up into my neck.
I’m not the kind of person who likes others to make decisions for me, and I generally know what I want, so it makes me unsettled when I can’t work out what that is. But when you come across people in your life who kind of make a decision for you, especially when the decision is about something really sensitive, and they do what turns out to be EXACTLY the right thing for you, you have found people to treasure. Thank you again, Patrick, and everyone at Sidings, for everything.