My twenty-year-old tabby, Henry, has congestive heart failure, and I started talking to my vet two years ago about what to expect when Henry begins severe decline.

The vet said that when it is his time, he will go quickly.  For these past few years, I’ve worried about this. What if he gets a blood clot late at night? I’ll have to rush him to the all-night emergency vet 30 minutes away to have him put down. Will I cremate him? Will I choose mass cremation or individual cremation? Worry. Worry. Worry.

About a month ago, I decided I will bury Henry’s body in my back yard when the time comes. I googled the subject and learned about preparing the grave. Since the hole is supposed to be three feet deep, I can’t wait until after he passes to begin digging. 

So, part of my ritual some mornings is to work at digging the hole. It’s harder than you might think, especially in the summer heat. Thick roots from nearby plants also need to be severed.

What has been interesting to me is that preparing his grave has been therapeutic. It has helped me come to terms with his imminent passing. I can pick him up to hug him, think about the hole I’m digging for him, and feel okay about it.

I’m letting him know I’ll be nearby.

The tabby, Henry

The tabby, Henry

Elaine (Nov. ‘16) adds, “Twenty years is a long time.”

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