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in the cold ground


echolocation
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my bearded dragon died yesterday. we buried him in a garden that we named after him years ago due to his fondness for hiding under the plants there, and put a large rock on top of the grave so no animals can dig it up.

i know he's dead. i felt the rigor mortis freeze up his body. i touched his eyes and his mouth to see if he would react. he didn't. i know he's gone. i know there's no life there anymore.

i still am having a lot of trouble with the idea that he's outside in the cold dirt. i can't get over the fact that his little body is wrapped in a cloth and just... in the ground. like i could go dig him up. it feels wrong that we just put him out there alone in the cold. it doesn't seem like a good fate.

i'm definitely having obsessive intrusive sort of thoughts about this, but i don't know how much of that is grief or OCD or just how OCD manifests in grief. but it's horrible to live with.

 

if any of you have anything comforting to say about the practice of burial, i'd really appreciate it. i need to find reasons to feel like this is okay. i've never been to a burial or had to bury pets before. i've only experienced cremation, which to me feels like freeing the soul of the binds of the body. i feel like i've condemned him to the cold, lonely earth.

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10 hours ago, echolocation said:

if any of you have anything comforting to say about the practice of burial, i'd really appreciate it. i need to find reasons to feel like this is okay. i've never been to a burial or had to bury pets before. i've only experienced cremation, which to me feels like freeing the soul of the binds of the body. i feel like i've condemned him to the cold, lonely earth.

In the past, I've had some pets cremated, and some were buried, also....I believe that when an animal dies, it's spirit is released from the body, whether the little body is cremated or buried.

For burials, I've always found that putting a little memorial grave marker can be comforting.. You can make one yourself, or have one professionally done.......If you are able to, maybe planting a little memorial tree near where he's buried could be helpful as well..

I'm so sorry for your loss....

Edited by CrazyRedhead
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thanks, @CrazyRedhead. it's comforting to think that the spirit releases when the body dies. i'm still trying to get my head around that.

i think when the weather gets warmer i'll paint the rock marking his resting place.

i had a hysterical crying fit over this shortly after posting last night. my mum asked if i want to dig him up and cremate him, but i don't want to see his body again, and i don't want to disturb him. she suggested the problem isn't actually the burial, but that's the front my brain has chosen to mask whatever i'm actually upset about. you know when you have a horrible day and then something small makes you cry? it's not the small thing that's making you cry, it's everything else. 

i think the bigger picture here is that i feel powerless over his death. a big part of caring for bearded dragons is keeping them warm, and i can't even keep him warm anymore. i hope that makes sense.

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Totally makes sense to me. It’s hard to lose a pet of any kind and I admit I have the ashes of my cremated pets. I’ve never buried a deceased pet but think I too would not be comfortable, cremation seems what I would choose too. I’m sorry for your loss. It’s hard no matter what. 

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i read something today about a person who raised rats as pets, and when they died, the owner would bury them and then plant flowers above the body. they said the body decomposes and feeds the flower, and in that way, the deceased is with you forever. that's so far the most compelling explanation for burying a pet i've read. i'm still more comfortable with cremation, but that.... it helped, a little.

i have the ashes of my dog sitting on a shelf in the living room. i understand holding onto them.

i'm listening to a lot of nicole dollanganger. she sings about death and burial in a few of songs off her album observatory mansions. unsure if it's comforting or just picking at a scab.

this should probably be in a blog. thank you all for putting up with me while i work through this.

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  • 4 months later...

oh echolocation, i feel your loss. I lost my poodle a few days ago to cancer. I appreciate the intensity of your loss.

i had to put down my little poodle three days ago due to cancer.  I don't know how to deal with your bearded dragon, but our poodle was incinerated and his ashes spread on a local farm. But this is Canada so I don't know if it is different in the US.

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that sounds like a nice place for your poodle to be released. i'm in canada too. i know there's a vet near me who does private cremations, which i guess implies that they also do mixed cremations where you don't get the ashes back at the end. we did that when my dog died a couple months before. i think if i could go back and do it again, i'd have him cremated, even if i couldn't get the ashes back. i doubt they'd run the incinerator for such a small creature by himself. but i'm just speculating.

it's such a deep wound, isn't it? i'm sorry you know it as well. 

 

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Echo, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ve buried many pets, and it is indeed hard. I’m very much in favor of planting something over his burial site... may I suggest something hardy, and a perennial so that you can see new life spring from it every year as the earth warms. 
 

Take greatest care.

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thank you, rabbit. there are lots of shrubs in the little garden he's buried in. i'm not sure there's space for another plant -- maybe something small. his grave couldn't be very deep due to all the roots in the ground there, so i'm afraid of disturbing him if i went to plant something there. he really liked hiding in the foliage there, so i think it's a good place for him.

it was a hard day today. as it gets warmer and the flowers bloom, i miss him. cried a bunch about it in therapy. my best friend is worried that i am not recovering from this, but my therapist says this is just a part of the wax and wane of grieving. i don't know. i'm glad to have zopiclone to deflect the nighttime obsessing over his last days and moments.

death is so hard and it's just painful.

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I am sorry for your having to go through this. One plant suggestion is something shallow like creeping thyme. It would cover over and provide a nice environment to my thinking, just a thought after looking at mine. I’m still dealing with my dog’s death so I totally relate to the grief aspect. I find it harder to get over pets death than humans. It’s good your therapist seems to understand. 

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I think it is harder echo.  Take care of yourself and I don't think your mourning is too much.

At risk of sounding heartless, losing Luc (a dog I had for 11.5 years, my heart dog) was tougher than losing my dad (who died when I was 11, so they were a similar amount of time in my life).  Luc was 15.5 years old with medical and old age issues.  My dad had cancer.  Both needed care in the final months/year of their lives.  We put Luc to sleep on the same day my dad died.  When that day comes around, I grieve Luc more.  His death is way more fresh of course (30 years for my dad now, 2 years for Luc).  

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When I was ~10, my paternal grandmother and my dog died within days of each other. I was mortified, in the following days, to realize that I missed the dog more. It wasn’t because I hadn’t loved my grandmother-I did, very much. But we’d had that dog since I was 18 months old. I couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t a daily presence in my life. My little brother learned how to stand up by pulling himself up the dog’s leg and holding on to handfuls of his fur (dog was a saint before he died…).

We share parts of ourselves with our pets that other people never see, and when they die, some of us goes with them. I am sorry for your loss. 

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