The Ashes

As I wrote the heading to this blog post I realised I’m probably going to get some cricket fans directed my way .. how disappointing for them. I hate cricket.

Anyhoooooooo ……

The vet rang yesterday to tell us Peanut’s ashes were ready to collect.

So today I took Jude and Charlie with me to pick them up. Charlie didn’t go to school today because he’s also sick. So typical, just as Jude starts to perk up another one falls just in time for the weekend, seriously kill me now.

In the car on the way to the vet I explained to the boys we were going to get Peanut and as soon as the words came out of my mouth I wished I hadn’t said them.

“What do you mean, he’s dead” Charlie said.

“I know but we are going to get his ashes”. Hole getting deeper.

“What are ashes Mumma, is that his brain?”

Charlie is about to turn five and is one of those children who could kill you via a thousand questions. He is so inquisitive and clever and remembers everything. It’s actually really annoying.

I explained to him that they burn the body so that we can keep the ashes or if we didn’t want them then they’d dispose of them. Thankfully I had the sense not to mention we also cremate humans otherwise I might still be in the car right now being drilled by his inquisitiveness.

“But what do they do with all the brains, Mum? Do they get ashed too?”.

Luckily the vet isn’t far away and I was spared anymore queries about my dead dog because we pulled up out the front.

As soon as I walked into the vet I could feel the tears starting to well. The smell of the vet will always remind me of Peanut dying .. isn’t it bizarre how certain smells can bring up so much emotion?

The vet on duty today wasn’t our usual one – but he knows Peanut. When I told him I was there to collect his ashes he gave me that sorrowful look and went to get them.

While he was gone I looked at the shelves where they keep all the pet products for sale and I looked at the dog food I’d no longer be buying, the flea treatment I don’t need anymore, the pet treats I used to spend a fortune on .. and of course I burst into tears.

He brought them back in a beautiful white box with Peanut’s name on it and a little dried flower arrangement on top. So beautiful and thoughtful but the sight of them sent me into another flood of tears which I did a really bad job of hiding behind my sunglasses.

As he handed me the box he said he was really so sorry about Peanut and told me he’d been on duty two of the nights Peanut stayed there the week before he died. By this stage there wasn’t any point pretending I wasn’t upset so I took my sunglasses off and Charlie noticed I was crying.

My two youngest boys get a bit freaked out when they see me cry. Until Peanut died I’m not sure they’ve ever seen me that upset. They never say anything, they just stare at me weirdly.

Charlie came up and grabbed on to my leg, a beautiful gesture I thought given how upset I was .. but then he turned to the vet and said “can I see Peanut’s body now”.

And just like that the sentiment and kindness of the situation evaporated and it was just awkward.

“Peanut is in the box, Charlie. Remember I told you about how he’d be just ashes now”.

“But what did you do with his tail?” Charlie asked the vet.

The poor man gave me a look that said “WTF is wrong with your child and please help me out of this situation”. I’m pretty sure they don’t teach this sort of stuff at vet school.

He actually handled it pretty well and told Charlie not to worry and that all of Peanut was in the box, even his tail.

“What about his brains”.

Now things like this don’t really faze me anymore, I’ve been doing this parenting lark for a long time and have seen and heard it all. But for a young veterinary surgeon who clearly doesn’t have kids, it must be a bit of a “holy crap this kid is seriously messed up” moment.

“Charlie we just told you, all of Peanut is in the box, let’s take him home now shall we?”

So with that we left.

Once in the car Charlie was clearly not satisfied with the vets response and said “I don’t think the tail is in there. Can we open it and have a look?”.

What’s the bet if I don’t keep that box hidden away it will be opened by Charlie within the week?


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