Gladioli Head

Warning: This subject matter could be viewed as disturbing to some. Reading it may adversely affect your opinion of me. My husband wants you to know that.

In the span of five days my precious dog died (on my son's fifteenth birthday), I had to fly across the country to give bloggers pointers on how to be funny (hahah) and then fly home to celebrate my youngest son's birthday on the very day his other brother died.

My life? It's a bad country music song. Too bad I don't own a guitar. I'd be rich. RICH!

Grief is a funny thing. It is the same monster whether you are crying for a dead dog or a dead kid. It wears the same hat and its bite hurts much the same. Maybe it even hurts a little worse when you are crying for a dead dog and a dead son at the same time.

Here's where I'd totally write a catchy chorus with a long musical interlude if I owned that guitar.

I could totally give Taylor Swift a run for her money. Only instead of writing odes about Jake Gyllenhal and John Mayer I'd be all 'woe is me; my dog died, my son is dead and birthdays are actually harbingers of death.' The royalties will make me rich. RICH!

The day after Nixon died, my husband sat down beside me, grabbed my hand and told me we had to make a decision about what to do with my dog's remains.

"I want to bury him on top of Shale. So we can have a two for one."


"Why not? It's only fitting. And it's not like there isn't space available. Shale was kinda small. He'd never even notice."

"Well besides the fact it's creepy as hell Tanis, I'm pretty sure there are some sort of laws against that sort of thing. Mixing pets with humans and such."

"Laws are merely suggestions to be ignored."

My husband, poor sweet man that he is, noticed I was slightly insane at the moment and not to be dissuaded from the great idea of stacking my dead dog on top of my dead son at the cemetery, so he took a deep breath and paused before speaking.

"I understand all of that Tanis, but the cemetery is pretty far away and Nixon was always under foot. I don't think he'd like being that far away from you." He meant well and it was a fair point but he was trying to be logical with an unhinged crazy person. I blinked back my tears, processed what he had said and then wailed, "Oh my god. I buried my baby boy so far from me. He's probably scared and alone and WHAT HAVE I DONE?"

Well played Boo. Well played.

Eventually I calmed down long enough to think rationally for thirty seconds or so and even though my husband refused to bury Nixon right underneath the house and where our bed is, we managed to agree on a location for my dog's permanent spot of rest.

It was cold and wet and the wind was cutting through both of us, and for every scoop of dirt my husband shoveled, a tear leaked down my chin and froze to my face.

It didn't take my husband very long to dig Nixon's grave and when he was finished he looked up at me, with my arms wrapped around my body and my face covered in frozen snot and tears and he asked, "Is this okay?"

I looked at the hole and burst into a new round of hysterical sobs and shook my head no. "No! Nixon wasn't that tiny! He was bigger than that! It's bad enough we put our 37 inch tall son inside a 36 inch coffin! I can't stick my dog into a hole too small as well!"

(Side note: It was either the 36 inches for Shale or a coffin over 5 feet big. I chose snug as a bug instead of swimming in space. The point being, don't expect mothers who are grieving to make rational coffin sized choices.)

My husband already upset and grieving himself, did the one thing he knew to do with his visibly crazy wife. He picked up the shovel and he started digging.

And he dug.

And he dug.

And he dug some more.

What started as a grave about a foot and a half wide was now a grave big enough to bury me in. (Which I'm sure at one point he seriously considered.)

Eventually he looked up at me and wiped away his tears and I nodded and told him the hole was big enough. So he put the shovel down and gave me a hug and my snot stained his shoulder. Then he picked up Shale's baby blanket I had brought outside and he went to wrap up the remains of the World's Greatest Dog. Forever.

I stood there, feeling the wind slicing through me and felt crushed with grief and it was like reliving the day I buried my son.

And then my husband walked out of the garage, and in his hand was Nixon's remains gently covered up with my son's baby blanket and I had to blink a few times.

"Woah. Nixon shrunk." My husband nodded. Very gently, Boo laid the remains of my dog into the oversized hole he had dug for my dog.

Turns out? I made my husband dig what basically was a six foot hole for my dog's teeny tiny head.

As he started burying Nixon, I couldn't help it. I started to laugh. Boo stopped and looked up and I laughed and cried at the same time.

"I'm so sorry Boo. I guess we didn't need the hole so big."

Boo started to laugh at the absurdity of our life and then suddenly we were standing there, in a giant hole, with my dog's head, laughing like insane lunatics.

"He's like the very best gladioli bulb I could ever plant."

"People can ask what kind of flowers you planted and you can tell them zombie dogs!"

"No! Wait! We'll just tell people we're using him for compost and fertilizer until we can dig him up and mount him over our bed!"

"Um no. We won't tell people that. And no we aren't doing that. No dog head necklaces, no dog skull mounts, NO, NO, NO," he glowered at me. "Don't even THINK IT."


Spoil sport.

I totally want a zombie dog statue though. To put it on my husband's night table.