there is nothing funny about death

So why am I laughing?

I remember being at my grandmother's funeral back in 1985.  I sat in one of the front rows surrounded by close family members.  As my cousins and I sang along with the sorrowful hymns, I couldn't help but smile.  I could almost hear my grandmother singing out of key.  She was a notoriously bad singer, so whether it was my mind playing tricks on me, or something more, the sound of horribly out of key singing brought a smile to my lips.

When I shared my feelings with my cousins, we all started to laugh. My grandmother would have wanted us to find joy on that day.  Not because of her passing, but rather because we were together, remembering her with fondness. 

What does my grandmother's funeral have in common with my dog dying? 

As sad as I was in the wake of her death (and believe me, the tears still come without warning)  I couldn't escape the morbid humor all around me.

She had died in the living room.  And as much as I didn't want to move her, I knew we had to get her to the vet, somehow.  The only solution we could come up with was to wrap her in a heavy cotton blanket and carry her. 

All one hundred pounds of her.

I don't even want to know what my neighbors must have thought if they witnessed us carrying her out to the car in that blanket, like a body wrapped in a giant burrito.  She was heavier than I remembered.  I knew she was a hundred pounds in life, but without her soul to hold her up, she was even heavier.  I stumbled slightly coming down the front steps and worried that I would drop my side.  We must have looked like a pair of inept criminals carting out a dead body.

I'll bet they're still trying to account for all of the kids. 

My first thought was that my life had somehow turned into a black comedy...and I don't mean a Jack Black movie.  I told my husband that murder was officially off my future career list from that moment on.  Disposing of a dead body is NOT a fun task. 

I cried the whole way to the vet, thinking about how much I would miss her.  She always reminded us of a big brown bear, and we would often joke that when she died we would have her made into a rug...that was the thought that came to mind as we drove the short distance to the new vet.  The vet that would never know Cybil in life, but would take care of her in death.  I suddenly didn't want a bear skin rug for in front of the fire.  And nothing was funny anymore.

Until I came home to find Indy sleeping in her spot...keeping it warm I imagine.  I sort of felt like she passed the reins to him before she went.  Like maybe she told him he had to take care of us now, because she can't.  It will be his job to bark at the neighbors, and sleep beside my bed. 

She's on to bigger and better things...

I wonder if up there in doggy heaven Lady was waiting when Cybil got there.  If she was, I'm sure I knew what she would say (if she could speak)..."Not you again! Everywhere I go you show up!"

Dogs will be dogs after all.

Until the next time...I'll be laughing through the tears.


Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on June 11, 2011 .