Buster’s Burial

Today we buried our dog, Buster (pictured above).  A week ago today we said goodbye to him as he lay dying.  He was very old and  very sick and his time had come…he knew it, we knew it, these days were ending…

Before lunch, Rich (my husband) dug a grave in the garden in a barren spot that inexplicably never took to plantings…and to Rich’s surprise  was without ground frost…it is as if God kept the ground warm and available for this day… 

(pic: our garden in summer.  Buster is buried in back left corner, by St Francis statue)

Buster loved the garden. In fact I’d say it was his favorite place in the world.  When there wasn’t snow, we’d see him happily trotting through its winding path and drinking  from its pond.  We marveled at his routine and often wondered if he wasn’t just a very contemplative basset hound. The garden will miss his meanderings, but now it forever holds his remains.  

A couple of years ago I bought a knee-high sized statue of St Francis of Assisi.  Being the patron saint of animals (he was a nature mystic: spoke to animals and even tamed a dangerous wolf that was killing townsfolk), his statue is eyed often in gardens nowadays. Since I’m partial to saints and have a sizable garden, I snatched one up at a local garden center and placed him in the garden where he has weathered the seasons without complaint. “Coincidentally”, the place he has been and continues to “reside” is now the place where Buster will rest forever.  Rich situated the grave at the foot of the statue and under the loving gaze of St Francis.  I sense St Francis is happy, I know Buster is happy.

After lunch I rifled through our linens and found a 100% cotton (biodegradable) sheet to wrap his body in, nothing more was needed…Rich took it from there.  (In fact he was undertaker, grave-digger and pastor today. Well done, thanks honey).  Charlie, Emily and I donned our winter wear, grabbed the cat, and trekked through knee-deep snow out to the humble grave site where Rich waited.  Huddled side by side before an open grave, we held our first  (and maybe only) pet funeral–many tears and laughter, reminiscing and goodbyes. Thirteen years of Buster flashed through our midst.  After a prayer we each took a shovel of dirt and gingerly dumped it in…it was the last thing we could do for him, it was our parting act.  Rich and I stayed behind and filled the hole.  The fertile black soil that refused to nourish foliage contrasted sharply with the white on white glistening snow.  Black or white, no gray…not this day…

When Rich and I had finished and came in, Emily (our high school senior) was on the laptop busy submitting her common application for college next year…

As I reflect, I can’t help but notice that she’s in that fleeting space between childhood and adulthood, tipping into adulthood.  Her childhood best friend is dead and buried, her future as an adult is unfolding.  Today magnified that for me.  Maybe I’m mourning more than the passing of Buster…


One thought on “Buster’s Burial

  1. Oh Jodi. This brings tears to my eyes. I *dread* the day that we bury our lab who has become my son’s best buddy… What a beautiful tribute to a unique member of the family. And no matter what you say about your gardening skills, that garden is GORGEOUS. How wonderful to have a peaceful resting place for Buster… As far as the event resonating with you as a mother of a senior, I think that’s only natural. Transitions and accepting the forward march of time are always a bit tricky to maneuver – and then again sometimes they just roll flat over you. I will say a prayer to St. Francis on behalf of Buster and a prayer to St. Anne (a patron saint of mothers) on your behalf. Peace to you and yours.


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