It is our most modest receptacle....

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/10/21 03:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/10/21/483315.aspx


(nothing whatsoever that is technical in this post)

I went to Rose Hill Animal Hospital for one of the most depressing errands I have had to run in quite some time.

I had to pick up Chelsea's remains.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately given how depressing it all was), as they handed me a cardboard box (shown below)...

...the image of the funeral director in The Big Lebowski explaining that the $180 for the receptacle being used to transmit the remains was not unreasonably priced, saying "it is our most modest receptacle".

I had almost bite through my lip to keep from laughing as I pictured the whole scene. It is probably good that i did not laugh out loud, I would definitely have freaked them out.

Anyway, I got the box home and opened it up. Here is what it looks like (for the curious):

At this point, if you were curious, you probably wondered why. I know I did.

I started to think about what I originally wanted do with the remains. There is a park she was in once, in Columbus. It is the only time she has ever really spent outside at all, so I thought that might be nice to take her there.

But now, as I have this box, I wonder if I should perhaps consider the fact that over 10 years later there is no chance that she would really hasve remembered that park. Hell, I might get there and find the park to be gone. Or that I cannot remember how to get there (I do not remember the address, so it is stretching things to assume that the landscape is unchanged enough for me to find it again).

Plus even if it were there and I coud find it, what do I tell the kid who asks me what I am doing that does not make them cry (unless I am not truthful about it). So maybe the whole plan was not a brilliant idea.

Ok, so they are on the mantle, next to a painting by Carlos Plalsance entitled 'The Spartan' that she once slept on for several hours after knocking it over. I'll think of something else to do with them eventually.

Anyway, there was one really nice thing that I will not forget. I got a very sweet card from Rose Hill Animal Hospital that was signed with a small personal note from every single person who I had ever seen there in my several visits there. I was stunned by how warm that was, so much so that I honestly did not care if it something they do every time because any place that spends that much time on making sure people understand that they care has won me over. It is definitely where I will take my other cat any time she needs to go to the veterinarian....

I was thinking about how Chelsea looked after she passed away. And I realized that the whole 'most modest receptacle' ever is the shell that we are in, while we are alive.

The thing to do is to try to make the time count, I think. You know, treat every day like it is the last day of your life. This will have two measurable effects:

I might have to adjust this plan soon, there may be a flaw in it that will require a tweak or two....


# Marc Brooks on 21 Oct 2005 11:00 AM:

You're completely right, our bodies are modest containers at best, machines that will wear out.

I miss my Phydeaux more than I could have ever imagined, and his vet treated me just as your, I think compassion is intrinsic in people that choose that vocation.

You know what I did? I took his remains and mixed them into the concrete for a specific step in the walk to my garage. Ever time I go to the garage, I see the distictness of that one "stone", and I remember anew all the years he was my loyal companion.

My sympathies, and thanks for reminding me again how lucky I am.

# mschaef on 21 Oct 2005 12:18 PM:

I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my deepest sympathies.

# Sean Chase on 21 Oct 2005 1:45 PM:

Sorry to hear that.

Good thing you thought back to *that* part of the movie instead of the part where someone threw the ashes and the wind blew it back into Lebowski's face. That would have made me laugh out loud for sure.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 21 Oct 2005 2:47 PM:

Hey Mark and mschaef and Sean -- thanks for the kind words. It does mean as lot.

And thanks Marc for perhaps inspiring an idea of what to do.

And Sean, I probably would have too -- luckily they were handing me the cardboard box so it inspired the other scene. Had it looked anything like a coffee container, on the other hand....

# Laura E. Hunter on 23 Oct 2005 5:46 AM:

Big Lebowski, oh my. *cues up DVD player* I'm sorry for your loss, but glad to hear that they treated you well.

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