When we decided to have Chaser's remains cremated, I had envisioned spreading her ashes at the pond on the family farm. Symbolically setting her free to become one with the wind and the sun.
But my husband had other ideas. He wanted to bury her ashes in the backyard. At home. "Where she belongs," he told me.
At first, I wasn't sure what to think. Then, remembering that it's not really her, she's already flown to her new home, I agreed. Maybe because I keep finding myself staring out the windows into the backyard, searching for her face. Then I wander outside to sit under the tree she spent so much time under just to feel close to her.
And then a part of me - the part of my soul that will always belong to her - whispered 'this is the place.' So we've chosen a special spot beneath her tree. We planted some flowers and laid the stepping stone of her paw print there. I purchased a small set of windchimes, which now hang in the tree. And when the wind blows, the sound reminds us of the jingle of her collar.
Standing there, I feel peaceful. And now I have something to look for out the window again.
Jon's idea turned out to be a great one. He made a vault of sorts, including Chaser's parrot, Jose, a family portrait, her Bearcat collar and her remains, which I topped with a beautiful sunflower since I always called her my brown-eyed girl. And - never forgotten - one of her tennis balls.
To some, it may seem a bit much, a little dramatic, a little weird. But for us, it seems a fitting tribute to a golden girl who brought so much joy to our lives.
So we'll lock it up tight and bury it in Chaser's garden.