We put our little girl to rest tonight - in a clearing near the path we walk through the woods, from the house to the lake.
We asked Tobey whether she ought to face the lake or our house. He said, "Definitely the house. The lake stinks too much." And - in the fall - it DOES!
So, there she lies facing ... the home she brought so much joy to. I can see the small grave from my kitchen window. We marked it with the heart-shaped stone we found at Wal-Mart (of all places! I'd seen them by chance - or not? - a week ago). We discovered that the stone opened so that it was, in fact, more of an urn meant for ashes - but decided that this was the perfect place to hide her collar and tags, something that we could look at when we wanted a little reminder.
It is a good thing to have Sophies in our lives, those who bring heartache when they're gone. It is a sad day when there is no one in your life over whom you'd cry if they were gone.
As a mom, a great part of my instinctively desires to shield my children from pain - from grief and mourning - but as one who inhabits the World, I know that it is simply a matter of time before they encounter these. It is my great honor to teach them how to mourn, to lead them THROUGH this low place, to teach them to keep moving through it - to not stop, to not build a wall, to not wear a mask - to FEEL the pain, the anger, the "whatever" this loss stirs up for them.
One day - God willing - they will mourn MY passing, and it comforts me to know that I've been given the gift, the opportunity, to teach them how to do so.
Life is so fragile. As Tobey said yesterday, it sucks to learn this as a youngster. And yet, an awareness of life's fragility, gives one a much greater appreciation for the moments we've been given - and that is a good thing.