It's been really strange since Maddie died. She took up a lot of room in our family - everyone loved her and she loved everyone. Her relationship with each of us (including bf and my friend Ted) was special and not filtered through another person. Maybe that's part of what makes animal companions/pets so important.
We had the funeral yesterday afternoon. Thanks to global warming the ground hasn't frozen and the digging was easy (at least bf made it look pretty effortless - when I tried my hand at it the earth was pliant and soft). We took some time to say goodbye to her lifeless form in the darkness of my mother's garage - an inauspicious, but peaceful place.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to pet her, but seeing her soft fur, I had to touch it again. She had the best, soft and fluffy fur. Silky and wonderful. She was cold to the touch though, and flat somehow, as if she'd been deflated.
Because she was wrapped up in the blanket we'd taken her to the vet in (and it was a highly non-biodegradable material), I took her out of the blanket. Lifting her body I was dismayed to feel give - she wasn't entirely rigid as I'd expected. When she was out of the blanket I cried just a bit. She looked so much as though she were sleeping. And her ears were up - I kept expecting her to twitch them. The boys and I talked a bit and pet her a bit more. Bf came in with the box top he'd been using to ensure the grave was the right size, and I gave her fur one last stroke before putting the top on.
Her body had retained heat from where we'd been petting her, which was very eerie.
My 11 year-old put the box in the ground and we said some words about her. The 7 year old and bf declined to say anything, my mother and 11 year old had lots to say, and I just said one short thing.
We threw/shovelled dirt on to the box and in a few minutes she was buried.
Even though her food and water dishes are up from their usual place on the kitchen floor, I still look towards the spot to see if they need filling. When I come in I resist the urge to say "Hi Maddie, I'm home", which I did so many times.
I'm struggling with a lot of guilt, wishing I had been there for her in some other way, been able to see how sick she was before, understood how quickly she would go. I've read enough about grief to understand this is normal, but I don't know how to properly mourn.
My friend H had a kitten who died from FIP this year and she has given me lots of advice which has proven helpful. So I'm letting this grief happen and looking forward to the day when it doesn't make me so sad to think of her.