Most of you know Puddy, beloved old cat of this house, was euthanised in late December after many years of constant battle with ear problems. Puddy was 21 when she died, a good age for a cat, in excellent health BUT for her ears and a very much-loved creature. She had traveled all over with me, had her own passport and was an absolute sweetheart of a cat. She liked sliced ham, and people. In that order. You simply could not sit down in this house for two seconds without her landing on your lap, doing that weird little silent miaow she did in delight at finding a human in repose.
So I am rather amazed to discover that I clearly didn’t care for her at all.
Because when she died I left her in the vets.
‘I can’t believe you just left her there.’ I was told recently, in an incredulous fashion.
‘She was dead.’ I countered. Diamond Mark did ask if I wanted her ashes, but I didn’t. Puddy wasn’t religious, I doubt she would have given a shit about being scattered. More importantly, what the feck did I want with a dead cat’s ashes?
‘You could have buried her in the back garden.’ incredulous person said, incredulously.
‘Er, in the flower beds or the lawn? Are you nuts?’
I have oft pondered the strange weird sentimentality people have for death. I don’t understand it at all, not even a little bit. I have been to my father’s grave exactly twice in my life, and on both occasions it took me a good while to find it. Once there, I cleared away a few weeds, felt slightly foolish and a little cold and wandered off. The second time I was at a different funeral, so I swung by, just to see if I could locate it again.
My oldest friend finds this utterly remarkable. She’s the sort of woman who visits graves on anniversaries and so forth, she drives comfort from this. Therefore I wouldn’t say anything to her about it. Indeed why would I? On the other paw I get no comfort standing in a field surrounded by buried corpses. I’m just not hard-wired that way. I find funerals tedious, the open casket thing weird and slightly creepy. I want no such funeral for myself and don’t give a rat’s ass what they do with my body once I am dead. If I don’t get my wish of being cremated, loaded into a blunderbuss and fired into a reiki centre to a cry of ‘HEAL THIS MUTHAFUCKERS!’ I think I’ll just donate myself to science, let them get some use from me.
Back to Puddy, so yes I left her there on Diamond Mark’s table, looking surprisingly small, and terribly old. No I didn’t take her body with me. No I didn’t bury her in the garden or pay for her ashes to stick in an urn over the fireplace. What I did was love and care for her for 21 years. I loved Puddy, but she was dead. Incinerate her, put her in a bin, whatever it is vets do with remains; she was already gone, dead, passed, no more. I was with her in her final moments, I held her close so she would not be afraid, and if not fucking about with her corpse makes me a heartless fiend, then fuck that shit, so be it.
Maybe if more people spent a little more time worrying over the living and less time stage-managing corpses the world would be a better place.