On Wednesday, I finally picked up Rigby’s ashes, three weeks after his death.
I was keen to have them home with me. It’s not much, but it’s something. He belongs here and the home feels more complete now that he has returned.
It was sad returning to the vet, though. I remembered the last time I was there. I paid my bill and then the receptionist went into the next room and returned with a paper bag containing the black wooden box I had selected as the repository for his ashes, and a framed paw print. I couldn’t say anything but thank-you. As I turned to leave, the receptionist reached out and gave my arm a squeeze.
It was an act of grace and compassion I’m grateful for, but which threatened to undo me at the time.
It has got easier, only because I’ve got used him not being around. There are times I still look for or expect him. I’ll hear a noise in the background and think, that’s Rigby. My dislocated breathing has me awake in the middle of the night sometimes believing is back beside me. It’s very familiar.
It’s definitely a lot tougher now that he’s gone, but I have no immediate plans to get another dog. Maybe next year. In the meantime, I’ve offered to look after the puppy of the lady across the way while she’s at work.
It seems the least I can do given all the time she spent taking Rigby for a walk when I was unable. And, it might be good for me. It’s a lively little thing and it’ll be good to have some movement around the house again.