Coming up daffodils

Two months and two days after my mother’s funeral, we buried my dear canine companion, Jack.   We wrapped him up in my muslin skirt and his old towel, and placed him carefully in the hole we dug for him in a raised garden bed. We covered him with sweet, soft soil, and wept,  before giving him a makeshift headstone, a remnant of the many earthquakes we had been through together.  That was 6 months ago, on March 6th.  Today Jack is coming up daffodils ( soon to be followed by tulips, plus unavoidable weeds! ), thanks to a friend’s gift of miniature bulbs. We planted them in Jack’s grave a few weeks after his death.

daffodils in raised garden bed

Coming up daffodils

I miss my small friend.  We loved each other for 13 years. I love him still.

My parents loved Jack, too. I like to imagine he is keeping them company wherever they are. And that they are giving Jack treats, as they once did, subversively, at the table;  behaviour utterly discouraged by me; completely encouraged by my mother and father. Jack’s particular favourite was toasted crumpet crusts from my father’s hand, but vegemite toast crusts were almost as good. It was the hand that mattered more than the food, sometimes.

Vegemite crusts, treats
Jack anticipates the drop
Gran, Pop, dog  collude

Puppy by chair leg

A treat or pat always welcome

When the bulbs start to die away, I will scatter wildflower seeds on  Jack’s grave. They will bring joy in their flowering.

Schnauzer on lawn

Remembering Jack in Summer.

ps Jack died at home, on his bean bag, after being particularly unwell for about a week. His heart failed, and he was gone.  I was with him.

pps The ornamental duck was a Christmas gift from my children many years ago. It has led a hard life in the garden!

91 thoughts on “Coming up daffodils

  1. Lavinia Ross

    Gallivanta, I thought I had seen this post and responded, but perhaps not. I am sorry you have now lost old Jack, too. I have the daffodils now to plant around the western incense cedar I planted in memory of your parents. Jack will be a part of that.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your kind comment. The bulbs are over now. I am waiting for the wild flowers I planted to grow up and cover his resting place through out the summer..

      Reply
  2. Tiny

    Dear Gallivanta – I am sorry to learn of your double loss. What a beautiful tribute to Jack – I read it with Dylan on my side and teared up. This is a difficult year in so many ways, but this too shall pass. I wish you a beautiful spring with lots of flowers in your garden. A big virtual hug ❤

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Dear Julie, thank you. This was my first real grieving for a pet since I was about 5. I know you know the process well; sad but natural, and all will be well. 🙂

      Reply
  3. valeriedavies

    Hard to say goodbye to beloved family – both people and pets. A sad time for you, but you write so beautifully about it … not knowing my mother I still grieve for my seventeen rescue dogs, as well as my runaway cat who settled down with me!
    Your memorial to Jack is beautiful, and I hope it is a small a comfort, Valerie

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Valerie, for your comforting comment. I am amazed, but not surprised, that you have shared your life over the years with 17 dogs and 1 cat; that represents a lot of love, compassion, joy and heartache.

      Reply
  4. shoreacres

    I’m glad that you were with Jack at the end. When Dixie Rose died, it was so sudden that only luck, or coincidence, or some sort of inexplicable knowing brought me home at an odd time to find her and care for her. Lacking a garden, I still have her ashes, and a paw print in clay done for me by the crematorium. I do laugh when I look at it; it’s so like the little handprints we did for our mothers in kindergarten. I suspect your bit of fur gives you the same sort of comfort. I’ve been asked if I’m going to scatter Dixie Rose’s ashes, but all I can say, in a bit of utter irrationality, is “No — she never liked being outdoors.” Even typing that makes me laugh!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am smiling with you! I am sure Dixie Rose would approve of your irrationality. If you put your hand on the box of ashes, you might even feel a purr. 😀 The paw print sounds lovely.

      Reply
  5. Steve Gingold

    I don’t know which is harder on us, losing a parent or a pet. Although to some folks comparing the two is hardly appropriate, both are deeply implanted in our being and leave a special void. The grave you made for Jack is lovely. That it will flower for you for years to come and keeps your love for him and his for you alive is a wonderful remembrance.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I ask myself that question too. Initially, I was more distraught over my dog, simply because he had been my constant companion, my shadow, for 13 years, whereas my darling mother was far away physically and, in the end, barely knew me. But, in the months since my mother’s death, I feel her absence more and more. Yet I feel settled and accepting of Jack’s demise. Perhaps having a physical and natural memorial to him is healing. My mother’s ashes remain in my sister’s cupboard, awaiting a post Covid scattering.

      Reply
  6. Liz Gauffreau

    I’m so sorry to hear of the death of your mother. I lost mine last November, and life just isn’t the same without her. I’m also sorry to hear of the death of your beloved dog Jack. How lovely to have perennial flowers that will bloom in his memory.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Liz. I was sorry to hear about your mother, too, via the podcast you did with Rebecca Budd. Your conversation inspired me to start writing haiku as a way of keeping in touch with memories of my mother and father and grandparents. Aroha nui and Kia Kaha to you.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Sheryl. Flowers always make things better, I think. It’s been a tough old year for many people, and we still have a few months yet before we can kiss it ( from behind our masks 🙂 ) goodbye.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your hugs are much appreciated. I know you have had a few dogs so you have been through this sense of loss before. I was heartbroken at first but I am healing well.

      Reply
  7. restlessjo

    Oh, darlin! Loss is part of life but it makes us so sad. What a lovely little corner to remember him, back in those days when he could romp about. Thinking of you, and sending hugs. 🙂 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Jo. And, yes, it’s hard but one does have to accept that there’s no life without loss. We had a great life together, and I am very grateful for that.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It has been quite a year, Clare! Jack’s death, like my mother’s, was not unexpected but it happened more quickly than I expected. My son insisted that we bury Jack in the garden. I am glad that I listened to him because it’s lovely to have this little space to look upon, and remember Jack.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Dear Michele, we are very much in this together, aren’t we, with the loss of our precious fur babies this year. When we take them on, we know that they won’t live as long as we will but we hope, somehow, that a miracle will occur and they will be with us forever. Jack was the first proper ‘pet’ I had had since my teen years.

      Reply
  8. Clanmother

    A profound, gentle and joyful tribute to a dear friend, who added joy and humour to your journey. I especially appreciated your words: “We loved each other for 13 years. I love him still.” You reminded me that death does come, but the relationship we had with those who move on to new pathways, remains alive and vibrant. Much love and many hugs coming your way.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Rebecca. I agree. It is indeed wonderful how relationships continue without the physical presence of a loved one! Today, I learned the sad news of the death of New Zealand blogger, Pauline King, The Contented Crafter. I didn’t meet Pauline in person but reading through my posts about Pauline makes me feel we are still connected. And she will, through her posts and comments, continue to be connected with all her other blogging friends all over the world.

      Reply
      1. Clanmother

        I just went on Pauline King’s blog. Her creative spirit is alive in every one of her posts. This is a reminder to me to create wonderful memories with family and friends, for it is these memories that will sustain and guide those who remain when we move on in our journey. Much love and many hugs coming your way.

        Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ute, I am looking forward to seeing the daffodils pop up every year from now on. I plan to add a few more bulbs before next winter. It’s lovely, isn’t it, how our love for our pets endures? And we remember our old pets so clearly even when so much else from our past is forgotten.

      Reply
  9. Steve Schwartzman

    Eve and I are sorry for all the losses you’ve experienced in the past year. Requiescant in pace.

    I just saw a feature on television about pilots who take unwanted dogs out of shelters and fly them to adoption. The organization is called Dog is My Pilot (whose first word is spelled backward from the way it normally appears in that statement): https://tinyurl.com/y3quz5wu

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Steve and Eve. It makes me smile that God and dog can be interchanged so pleasingly sometimes, 🙂 Indeed, at times it seems as though there is more God in Dog than in mankind.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Tish. The tulips are about to open. I am looking forward to that. Jack’s favourite plant in the garden was the nandina. He loved brushing against it.

      Reply
  10. womanseyeview

    A sweet tribute to your beloved Jack. I only knew him through your posts and always enjoyed his guest appearances. As one dog lover to another I know how much it hurts, how real the love and send you virtual hugs xx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Virtual hugs gratefully received. 🙂 I had hoped that Jack would be with us for about 15 years but that was not to be. He did very well to manage 13 years. I have a little container of his soft hair near my desk which I like to touch now and then. He was so soft and silky.

      Reply

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