March 5, 2013

Pet Memorials: My Choices

In the last 2 years I have lost two furbabies. My fur-son, Duke, who was 10 years old. Then my beloved fur-daughter, Nikita Jayde, who was 14 years old (at least) and had been with me for roughly half my life.

Losing Duke was kind of sudden thing, I knew he was ill (obviously) but we had made many emergency trips to the vet in his last 3 months and usually a Lasix injection. I did not walk in with the intention of losing him that day. In my grief stricken state, I was unable to even decide between the choices they gave me for his body. So I chose the first one that came to mind, and had his body released to me. He is buried, with a headstone, under a memorial garden that blooms beautifully in the spring, on my parents property outside of the city.
Here, I must give nods to both of my parents. It was they who buried him, suggested and planted the flower bulbs, and who tend his grave most of the time. (In all fairness, they loved him deeply as well.)
Although I'm as pleased as possible with that choice, I knew as the dust settled in my mind that I would have Nikita cremated.

I still bought Duke a memorial box, with his photo in the front and his collar inside. He has another box, with some of his most loved toys, but his favorite toy, one that he had kept since the day I gave it to him many years before, that one is on a shelf in my closet. I see it every day, just like his photograph. If one were looking to purchase a box, I would recommend the one I chose. It is heavy all on it's own, sturdy, and the mahogany is beautiful.

With Nikita, I bought an urn from Perfect Memorials. Shipping was fast, even with custom engraving, and the urn was more beautiful and sturdy in person than I was imagining. Here it is. I kept her engraving pretty simple. Just her name, "Beloved Daughter," and her dates. (I just went with years.) One thing that impressed me with Perfect Memorials is that they don't charge a ridiculous amount for engraving. Most of the other places I'd visited charged plenty extra for the engraving (even just one line!) I was appalled while looking at one that so nicely offered engraving, the first line for $24.95 and ONLY $12.95 for each additional line! Wow, right? Truly a sad practice.
Her urn rests next to Duke's memorial box, and a photo of her, on top of my armoir. I consider that area a tribute to them.

Another item, purchased for me by a dear friend, is a locket with a small vial inside. The vial is meant to be filled with a small portion of ashes, then worn. I have found that my love for this item disturbs some people. Even those not bothered by my keeping her ashes seem to find it odd that I would wear some around my neck. I guess it isn't for everyone, but as Nikita was always my guardian, some part of me finds it comforting to know I have a part of her with me.

How have you chosen to remember your furry family members? Any special traditions, or creative ideas you have had? Please post, I'd love to hear from you.

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