TBT: Not my usual kind of post...
I have never been so reluctant to bury a cat in the Memorial Garden. Or had so much trouble trying to do so. And I have to relate a sad story.
I recall doing it for Iza in Summer 2020 and it took some effort then. Not the burying (with love and respect) but the mechanical difficulty. It is not easy to dig a hole 2' deep and 2' across in hard soil. There were some tree roots in the way. It took an hour of cutting through and Iza's death was new, so I was crying all the time.
This dig for Ayla is harder. There is a neighbor's tree just across the fence and the roots have grown larger. The tree is my fault. It is a mulberry tree seeded by one I had 20 years ago. Mulberries are messy. I cut mine down. I didn't know at the time that a new one had started in the neighbor's yard.
The roots have grown through my flowerbeds and the Memorial Garden. I spent an hour trying to dig the roots for Alya's Special Spot. The roots of the tree are soft and dont get cut with a shovel. Or a spade. Or an ax. Everything just sort of bounces. I finally had to crush them with a pruner until they gave up.
Which still left hard rocky soil underneath. I soaked the soil to loosen it. Which left mud. And I managed to step in the hole. And because I was in there with one foot, I had to stand in with the other. And catching the toe on one foot, I fell over.
I just sat there and cried for a few minutes. Why couldn't the sad task of burying such a beloved cat be "just" a little easier?
But it was obvious I wasn't going to finish digging the site that day. So I basically crawled out with sore knees and hands pressing down on thorny vines til I reached the lawn. Took off the muddy workshoes in the basement and went upstairs.
That was 3 days ago. Yesterday, I cleaned the workshoes. That may sound odd, but you have to start somewhere. They were caked with dried mud, but I needed them to stomp on the shovel. And I kind of thought they ought to be clean for digging more of Ayla's Special Spot.
I got down another foot. It was ridiculous. Small rocks everywhere that needed to be pried out one by one. The wheelbarrow has more soil in it that could possibly come out of the small hole, but it did.
I'm active, but old enough to know when I am over-exerting myself. The rest of the dig will be tomorrow. 2' deep will be enough. Her body will rest on a blue towel. And then I will cover her in the earth I dug out.
So now I have to build the Memorial Marker. That will be both sad and happy. Sad for the reason, but a last act of what I can do. Happy with every sawcut, drilling, and screw in the memory and love of her. A last act...
I couldn't find a brown resin 10" cat statue like those for Skeeter, LC, and Iza. But I found a teak one 8" high that has a nice little necklace. That will have to do.
And then, she will just be there with the previous Mews. A wooden box on the surface above her with her name in brass letters and a small statue on the top showing she was a cat.
And all my memories of her...