Several years ago I decided to make a trip to the country to visit my friend Mary. Her kids and mine were going to have a play date while Mary and I spent the day visiting and enjoying each other’s company. Soon after we arrived, Mary went to check on her cat Pepper who had gone out earlier in the day and never returned. It was not at all like her cat to wander away for a half day without food or water breaks. We decided to get in the car and drive around the country side looking for Pepper.
Up one lane and down another we drove for over an hour when suddenly we spotted Pepper lying in the road. It was obvious the cat had died from the impact of being hit by a car. Luckily the cat wasn’t obviously bloody; it had just died from the accident we surmised. The kids were beside themselves with grief.
As we tried to comfort them I suggested we gather up the dead cat and have a proper burial for it. It was going to be one of those teachable moments when the children would learn to grieve and yet celebrate life. In this case the life of Pepper the cat and the joy she had brought to them throughout the years.
We got the kids involved in finding a proper casket…in this case a box that Mary had on hand. We gave them crayons and markers to make the box look pretty and found some old material to line it with. Then we had them make out invitations to deliver to the neighborhood children for the funeral and luncheon we would have the next day. It kept the kids busy and made them feel a little better about Pepper’s demise.
Mary’s husband Dave went into the back yard when he got home and dug a proper hole for the funeral and burial of Pepper. The rest of us dispersed to the neighbors to tell them Pepper had died and invite them to the funeral and luncheon with their children.
The next day I and my children again made the trip to Mary’s house for Peppers funeral. Several neighbors had come and so we all solemnly processed out to the backyard with the kids acting as pall bearers. Dave gave a wonderful eulogy about the life and times of Pepper and all she had meant to them as a family. Each of the children placed a flower on the grave and then we went into the house to have a nice funeral luncheon which the children had prepared. Ok. so it was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but we all ate and acted like it was a feast in honor of Pepper the cat.
By the time we had finished our luncheon I decided it was time for me and my brood to gather up our belongings and head home again. Offering my condolences for the final time I opened the door to leave and almost tripped over a cat that came racing into the house and jumped right into Peppers bed. Miracles of miracles Pepper was not dead. But we never did find out whose cat we had buried.