and that in spite of your doubts, perhaps you are capable of loving some good, warm being outside of your own
but sometimes they stop. the breath and the heart first, and then the warmth follows.
and so we and our mothers pick out places in our backyards- nice, thoughtful, shaded ones near the lillies we've taken from house to house. our fathers patiently lean against their shovels and wait.
my own father digs until his back is sore, walks back into the house in dirtied jeans, crouches under the table placing his measuring tape against the length of the cold body's back, and digs some more. four feet long. bigger than he remembered.
we wrap him in a yellow blanket. everyone takes a corner. the tongue lolls out of his mouth, eyes roll back. but he's still sweet, i think. his limbs have stiffened, however and he seems heavier. somehow. as if the life that ran away, left a heavy weight in its place.
we lower him gently. first a eulogy brought to us by mary oliver : "love, love love/then, go to sleep/give up your body heat, your beating heart/then, trust"
a few more words and a closing prayer given by my father about creation and goodness and if there is a doggie heaven please save a space.
dirt is sprinkled. ashes to ashes. dust to dusted. and we stand and watch as my father carries on filling up the empty hole. he avoids covering the face, until at last, he has no choice, and then - gently. very gently.
after the service we return to our home. we sit at our table and eat our ham on bun.
and no one comes running when a pickle drops to the ground.