it’s been a week since your funeral.

i spent the days between your passing and the funeral working on your box. i painted it white, then we all added art and words onto it. it was probably the best thing i could do, making sure you had something nice to be buried in.

on the top, i painted the most perfect picture of you i’ve ever painted, getting an everlasting headkiss, since that’s the thing i can’t do for you anymore. on the front, i painted you arriving at the Summerlands, in a boat from the mists. on the shore are all your brothers and sisters, ready to greet you. mom painted you having catnip from a giant bottle; all the catnip you could ever want. gana painted you climbing into my bed. i painted a rainbow on the back of the box for nonna, and she added lyrics from CATS (Heavyside Layer and Jellicle Cats), and a goodbye in Gaelic.

The end of this chapter

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her body is here. her soul is in our hearts, home, and Summerlands.

i don’t know why i felt you needed to be buried, other than that’s what we did with Natasha, and maybe Kitty. regardless, you needed to come home in one piece, and you needed to have a box to be buried in.

a week ago, mom and gana dug your small plot on the east side of the faerie rock, between the hawthorn and the yew.

a week ago, i finally took you out of your carrier and placed you in your box. it’s both comforting and upsetting what a perfect fit you were.

your body was a little pliable, but you didn’t really need to be repositioned. i did a good job the day you passed, making sure you were settled just right. i couldn’t put your first blanket under your head, so you didn’t get a pillow, but you were covered with it and your purple blanket. i tucked your mousie into your paws, and set your flowers where they always rested, just next to your cheek.

we left you in your harness, so that you can go on all the walks you want in the Summerlands. i’m sorry i forgot to give you a lead. i had meant to.

i cried while taking you out of your carrier. you were still so soft, and almost warm to the touch. i cried while i set you into your box and made sure everything was just right. i almost forgot your flowers. almost.

i keep saying you, you, you, but i know you weren’t in that body anymore. i knew when i picked it up our of the carrier that what made you my baby wasn’t there. and yet, it still felt like losing you again.

your funeral was small. the family got to say their last goodbyes. we talked about the impact you had on our lives, and what a good girl you were. the best things. we cried. then we played the song. your song. and we buried you. your plot is shallow. more shallow than we’d really like, but the ground is very rocky. you’re covered, and we built a small cairn on top. we’re going to keep adding to it, i think.

i put your collar on the altar.

and now this is the new normal. you’re gone, but also still here. i can tell when you’re around, lying in your bed, because quill won’t go near it. i’m pretty sure you climbed on my lap yesterday. quill was in his bed, not making any noise, but i could hear the sounds of a cat cleaning itself. and i felt you climb up. i felt you settle down.

i miss you.