We picked up Max’s ashes this morning. I expected to fall completely apart – that happens on a regular basis these days. Strangely, I didn’t. I cried in the car, as Bear held the bag with the two boxes and the envelope that held a lock of Max’s fur. I had asked for a paw print. I thought it would be a piece of paper with an ink print of his paw. When we got home, through tears, I opened the small box and found a frame with a plaster cast of Max’s paw On the other side of the frame is a copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem.
The day we let him go, I had pulled out a kit I bought two years ago, a kit to make a print of his paw in clay with a frame for that on one side and a place for a picture on the other. I didn’t do a very good job, but I didn’t want to push his paw into the clay and hurt him. It was one more thing that made me cry, among so many things that horrible day.
So here was a perfect paw print. It felt like a gift.
I picked up the box that holds his ashes. Bear said, “you know what’s in there,” as if he didn’t want me to take it out of the cardboard sleeve. So I waited a few minutes, but then I had to open it. It’s beautiful, a carved wooden box with gold inlay on the top. Inside is a ceramic rose and a satin bag with his name embroidered.
He’s home. There is a sense of peace in this house now. Peace that’s been missing since the day we let him go to the Bridge. We are almost whole again.
Tomorrow we’ll open the bag and take out a small bit of his ashes, place them in a special vial and send them to Arizona, to Locked in Art to be made into a bead, and the bead will be part of a necklace that I will wear next to my heart every day.
My shattered heart healed a bit today. It will take a long time for it to heal completely, but the deep despair has lifted for a minute.
My beautiful boy is home.