Wednesday, April 6, 2016


A few minutes before 1:29 this afternoon I texted Mr. Lyrica- Thanks.  It's really ok. 

I had regaled him with more details than any normal person would want about the death of my 11 year old dog in the early morning, and he repeated that he was sorry.  He's a very polite guy, but I don't think he likes morbid conversation.  That's ok.  The neighbor kids are fascinated and their moms are extremely sympathetic.  Everyone came in for a quick greeting yesterday when she was in her last hours.  She rarely moved, so when the neighbors quietly came through the front door one at a time to whisper a few words to her, and she lifted her head at the sound of their entrance, I told them she was happy to see them.

Now I am digging a burial space for her in the back yard.  The city never returned my call for dead animal pick up, so I guess her body will stay around.   My health is really good and I have the day off; it is a pleasure to prepare a place for her remains.

I chose a sunny area, where the soil is fairly loose, and soaked it with water from the hose.  The roots are the only problem- I had to use the saw to sever some of them.  Funny how water penetrates everything but cannot loosen the roots.  The strength of some organic materials is amazing; bones, roots.....

She took her last convulsive breath at 7:33am.  It was an amazing moment; dreadfully powerful and awe inspiring.  Now I understand the dramatic spasms actors make in theatrical deaths.  I knew- I was moving the towel under her face to keep the fluid coming out of her mouth from bothering her- and her whole body arched in one final convulsive jerk.  Though I had never witnessed that moment at the end of life, I recognized it immediately.  I knew she had taken her last breath and her suffering was over.

>   *   <          >   *   <          >   *   <

I waved goodbye to the neighbor children at 5:30.  They had arrived home from school as I was excavating the last few cubic inches for Una's burial.  Her corpse was stretched out beside the hole with the blanket I used to keep her warm overnight.  They had many questions, like why are her eyes open, and many stories about the deaths of animals and people, and nearly fatal accidents.

I positioned her in the grave and they suggested I cover her with the blanket.  Her body was not quite as stiff as I expected, so I could tilt her head forward a bit and lay her lower into the earth.  They took up shovels and began covering her body with the heavy damp soil..  The youngest helper is in 1st grade and the oldest is in 4th.  The 4 year old sister was licking something round. 
-what does your sister have in her mouth?
I thought it was a bottle cap I had fished from the soil.
-a magnet.
I asked the 1st grader to play with her so she would not eat garbage or magnets.
-look Maria!  I'm eating garbage, she said in Spanish.
-what did she say?
-she said she's eating garbage! 
Then I recognized the word she was saying was basura.

Next she hollered to me that she was eating Luna.  That's what many of the neighbors call Una.

-you're eating Una!  Is she good?

-you're eating Una, you're eating Fritos, you're eating garbage!

She was delighted. 
-are you Oscar?

-how do you say garbage can, I asked the boys.

-Lata de basura!
I sang Oscar's I love Trash song and the boys shouted stuff about Cookie Monster.

The 1st grader brought dandelions and planted them near Una's head.  We all took turns with the shovels and they ran to the front yard for pink Azalea blossoms and purple Irises.

When we were finished they had brownies I made Monday with cranberries. 

I told them to make sure they took their shoes off before going inside when they got home so they wouldn't track mud in their mother's house.  One boy arrived just as we finished, but came over for brownies and the general discussion.  He is in 5th or 6th grade.  He was the last as they filed across the front yard on their way home or to some other adventure. 

-I'm sorry.... about Una.
-Thanks Felix.

Now all I have left is a big pile of towels.  The heaviest work was made light.

It was a moment of profound philosophical inheritance
(Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius were passing through the 8th house of death and inheritance).

It was a moment of primal perception (Mercury in Taurus) in action (exactly the moment it was crossing above the eastern horizon).

It was literally the closest moment of the day that Raleigh gets to Pluto, the planet of the misbegotten (Pluto on the midheaven aka MC).

It was the most intimate moment of all in our partnership through life and her passing (Scorpio covering the 7th house of partnership, marriage, contracts and friendship).

It was a moment when fate (12th house) packed many lessons about courage (4 planets in Aries).

Last night when I was certain she was dying I googled natural death for dogs.  I was feeling guilty about not paying to have my pet euthanized.  I have always thought I would want, if possible, to be fully conscious at the moment of my passing from this life.  I was looking for someone who felt the same way about death, who would give me support in facing Una's death without mind altering medications.  I found a sight that talked about what to expect.  That you know the dying one is close to the end when their exhaled breaths become forceful.  There was advice on when to offer water and food.  It was a big help.

This is the chart for the moment Una died.  It was a moment of great pleasure (5th house of creativity and children) in improvising (Jupiter) as a compassionate nurse (axis of Pisces opposing Virgo).  The quiet satisfaction of that moment was an inspiration that strengthened my convictions about how I would like to die.