For a "prey animal" she was incredibly comfortable and trusting around the "predator/hunting" critters in our family. And, honestly, she never had cause to be wary around her furry sisters and brothers. Dogs, cats, rabbits ... They all hang out together at our house.
|Grooming with the cat|
Buttercup loved hanging out with her people and investigating whatever we were doing.
|Workin' the iPad|
I was in the parlor when I heard it. "Bunny's not moving!" That was Michael, who had taken a carrot upstairs for Buttercup to munch on. Before I even got up the stairs, I heard the sobbing from Thomas and Michael. She had been fine and lively in the morning when Thomas checked on her. Now she was lying on the floor, not moving.
After an appropriate time for crying, we wrapped her up in a towel and laid her in a box. David dug a hole in the back yard under the "pet" bush. Michael put the ill-fated carrot into the box with her, and William added a flower picked from the yard.
|Wrapped up and tucked in|
Thomas and Michael, having been Buttercup's caretakers, filled in the grave.
|Her boys performing their last service|
Michael fetched a chunk of concrete from around the firepit, and I wrote on it with a large Sharpie to make a marker.
|We will remember her|
This evening Michael made the best carrot cake ever, in honor of Buttercup.
We are not a religous family. We do not believe we will be seeing Buttercup or any of our loved ones in any recognizable form in the Afterlife. But we cannot deny the power of ritual and ceremony to soothe the breaking heart in a time of acute distress. We treat the inanimate, lifeless body with the same love, tenderness, and respect as we treated the living being. Not because we believe it matters to the departed loved one. But, because it matters to US. It soothes US. It helps to fortify, strengthen, and burn into our memories the love and vital importance of this particular Life in our Lives. Like an emotional photograph that we can keep with us until it is our time to pass away.
Goodbye, Buttercup. We will miss you.