I said my final good-bye to Rusty the day after I brought Vélo home. Well, honestly, I’ll be saying good-bye for a long while. The tears are coming to my eyes as I type.
I picked up Rusty’s ashes after work on Thursday, 12/07. I cried when the lady handed me the little baggy with her ashes and the certificate of cremation. It looked like a gift bag.
When I got home I pulled out the cremains. So small. I thought back to when I scattered Willow’s ashes and Dad’s. Rusty’s ashes were a handful. Willow’s, maybe two. Dad’s much more.
I decided to scatter Rusty’s ashes on the bridge that crosses over to Demen’s Landing. I walked to the middle of the bridge and waited until the foot and car traffic was gone. I opened the little baggie, and I dropped the remains in the water.
A breeze caught the ashes and some of it swirled into the sky. The rest went into the water, clouding the fish below. I thought with some satisfaction that Rusty might be reborn in the next generation of oysters in that area of the Bay.
I thought of when I scattered some of Willow’s ashes off the seawall at Vinoy Park. I chuckled when I thought of Willow swimming with the dolphins. She’d do better swimming with manatees, I think.
Years ago I started a pet memorial. I took a black picture frame I got on sale, I put cardboard with scrapbooking paper in the frame, and I pinned dog tags to it.
Each tag has the pet’s first and middle names, their birth date or just the year and the day of death, and a little quote or nickname I had for them.
Five tags hang there since 2008: Molly McGee, Kitty Kat, Peter Petunia, Willow Wonka, and Rusty Boo.
I’m glad I started the memorial. It’s sad to add a new tag when the time comes. And it’s bittersweet to look back on the other animals who shared a piece of my life with me. But I’m unable to let them pass through without a more physical place of honor in my living place.
RIP Rusty. I miss you already.