Monday, April 19, 2010
The Frozen Funeral
David here (I have to say that to warn the now thousands of readers of this blog that this isn't Stephanie, but her not-quite-so-entertaining husband -- I'm okay with it, though. I'm fine with my lot in life: Eye candy.).
Stephanie asked if I would share the story of one of the worst days of my life (really in the life of my family), the day Amelia Badelia Cannon died.
Amelia was our grossly overweight yet extremely loveable Yorkshire Terrier. At one point she got up to 17 pounds. Yes, a 17-pound Yorkie. That's about equivalent to a man weighing 3,000 pounds. She was a lap dog that, once in your lap, made you quite aware that she was there.
Amelia came into our lives when I was about 12 years old, meaning that she was with me through the ever-changing middle- and high school years, college, getting married and everything in between. It's crazy how attached we become to dogs, but I think it's because no matter what, they're there to love you and they never say a bad word about you even though they see you at your worst. What a great animal.
Anyway, about two years ago, Amelia turned 13 and shortly after Christmas, left this world. When she died, my parents were out of town and their neighbor, who works for a veterinarian, found her on the floor, scooped her up, took her to the vet's office and threw her in the freezer, which is where she stayed until the funeral.
To properly send her off, I decided to put my woodworking skills to use to craft a little coffin for her. So, based on my memory of her, I built the coffin long enough, wide enough and deep enough to accommodate her.
To my horror, when Stephanie and I arrived at my parents' house in Woodstock on the day of the funeral, Dad brought Amelia out - still in a black garbage bag and frozen solid - to find that she had been frozen with her legs completely straight. I knew immediately that she wasn't going to fit in the coffin I had made.
So, in the garage with my Mom watching on in horror, I tried to... uh... muscle her in. With each sound of frozen doggy parts moving, Mom would wimper and cry a little harder. It was awful.
Finally, we gave up and left the lid of the coffin up at about a 45-degree angle and utilized, what else, duct tape, to create her permanent "coffin lid". It wasn't ideal, but it would work.
It was snowing pretty hard that day and we all walked to the back of my parents' property where Dad had dug the grave. The funeral began and soon after, Dad started to lower the half-cocked coffin into the hole. Much to our surprise, the hole Dad dug was deep enough, but too narrow, and the ground wasn't giving an inch since it was frozen.
Coffin: Too small. Hole: Too narrow. We were shooting 0 for 2.
After trying to wedge the box and Amelia's remains into the hole, we had to resort to... oh boy... stomping... on the coffin... to get it in the hole. And, again, with each stomp, Mother wimpered and cried that much more. Again, it was awful.
Finally, we covered the box with dirt and walked away, all traumatized from the amount of violence it took to get the frozen family member into the box, then to get the box into the frozen ground.
Moral of the story: Don't build a coffin for a dog. Just throw her in and cover her up.