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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

BH's Garden

Last year at this time my cat, BH, whom I'd had for 17 years, died. He'd been through a lot of illnesses, and I'd always been able to nurse him back, but sadly it was time to say good-bye. In the month or so that followed, I felt completely lost and surprisingly the only thing that made me feel any better was to begin to create a little memorial garden for him.

It began when I got his ashes back in a little wooden box. I couldn't stand to leave them sitting around, so I buried the box next to my back steps. I didn't want to leave them unmarked, so I covered the spot with the statue of a cat holding a basket that I filled with blue glass jewels. Next, I tried to find what I thought would be appropriate plants, and given my mood at the time, old-fashioned Bleeding Hearts seemed the thing. Some iris and freesia are nearby and I just moved a woolly-leaved volunteer from another part of the garden there as well (it's not a lamb's ear, but similar).

But it remains a work in progress. I plan to fill in with forget-me-nots and some catnip, and maybe some other plant will come to my attention that would be a good fit. The thing is, it's a very special place in the garden for me and working it is more than gardening--it's an act of love and memory.

This whole process has made me very aware of memorial gardens in general. The private ones that people keep for their own dearly departed are probably small and deeply personal. On the other hand, the public ones, such as the AIDS Memorial Garden in Golden Gate Park, can really be quite amazing. They don't at all provoke the same feelings as a cemetery; rather than being mournful, hushed, and static, memorial gardens are honoring, living, and ever-changing. If it were me, I'd much rather be remembered with a garden than a headstone.

So I continue to work and plan and plant BH's garden in memory of my lost, furry companion. I still feel the loss, but it is easier to bear when blooms mark his spot on the earth.


R.I.P., bubelah. You are missed.

2 comments:

Ayse said...

Your BH looks like my older cat, Ana, down to the asymmetrical nose blaze. I do love the tuxedo kitties.

I like your cat garden. It is very sweet. For my own kitty graveyard I have a climbing Cecile Brunner rose planted over my dear Mikey. It reminds me of him, floppy and pink (he was a white cat with the sweetest little pink nose and a horrible heart condition).

snappy said...

I buried my beloved cleo (a dog) in the garden under a chocolate smelling plant.I think forget me nots and catnip are good plants.
I like the kitty statue with blue stones.I have never seen a memorial garden.In bereaved times i designed a few but have never built any.I guess my succulent container garden taken from my Grandmothers backyard is a memorial.All the plants in it are cuttings from her garden.I could not face going back there to the empty house so i brought part of it bac with me to Castleford.And my Grandads gnomes from the same back garden.
Nice picture of your kitty.She will be miowing in pleasure at the pretty memorial,Its on your backstep too so you can sit and reflect..

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