We returned from our retreat/conference to a happy and playful Tina, well-cared-for by our son Rene for the weekend. It was so sad to not see Sparkey's face looking longingly through the window, but lovely to be greeted by Tina's furry and seemingly well-adjusted self.
Rene used his gardening and landscaping skills to adorn Sparkey's grave, planting mums, a dogwood bush, and thirteen bulbs representing Sparkey's years on earth, photos of which are forthcoming when our computer issues are sorted out. He continued the ritual of lighting a candle on Spark's grave at sunset each night and blowing it out at bedtime. Our mailbox offered even more sympathy cards, our voicemail and email still oozing with verbal sympathies from friends far and near. We give thanks for everyone's thoughtfulness.
In a gentle yoga class this morning in a temple space at the retreat center, I was lying on my back and the teacher was talking about accepting death as readily as we accept life. Moments later I felt Sparkey walk through the solid wood door of the temple and settle on my right side, thumping into me as he would do when settling next to me in bed. I silently acknowledged this visitation and thanked him for it. This incident reminded me of a similar occurence after our friend Woody was murdered. I was lying in fetal position on the bed, weeping, and I literally felt Woody lay down beside me and "spoon" me, a sense of momentary comfort which I still remember to this day.
In James Agee's A Death in the Family, Agee vividly describes the family of the deceased character sitting in the living room on the night of his untimely death. They feel him enter the house, a worried and distraught energy filling the air. This visitor then climbed the stairs, entered each of the rooms of his two children as if to tuck them in, and then exited the house as swiftly and silently as he had appeared. They are all dumbstruck, and all but two agree that what they had just experienced was not a mass hallucination but a phenomena which has been described for millennia. Whether these incidents are "real" in the literal sense means nothing to me in the sense that they were "real" enough for me to experience them and be affected by them deeply.
This process continues, the candle burns on the grave, and another day ends with Sparkey's physical vessel lying in the earth not forty feet from where I type. My missing him is still so stark, but my love for this very special animal knows no bounds of physicality.