Death does bring with it all kinds of emotional pain and guilt. I keep wondering if there was something I could have done. Should have done. But, at the end of the day, I must accept that I will never know. I gave her eight years of pampered love and I have to be content with that. (I am not yet content. So, I do the only thing I can: write the pain away.)
Jeff found a wonderful pet crematorium that allowed private viewings: Precious Pet Animal Crematorium. They were wonderful. The best compliment I could give is that they ran it like I would run it. They were gentle with Esme's body and respectful of the whole situation. I appreciated that.
I learned how pet cremations were performed. I learned that the cremation takes hours—funny how no one ever mentions that part of it—and that in the end, brittle bones and ash are left. These remains are taken from the incinerator to a machine that pulverizes the bones into cremation ash; dust really. That ash is put into a container and then into a plastic bag. The bag is put into the urn. The urn is then put into another plastic bag and then a box. It was this box we brought home with us.
Now the urn is up on the top of the curio cabinet with her collar and tag around it. It is a beautiful urn, up high like Esme liked to be. I will miss her every day for the rest of my life. I know that it will hurt less over time. For now, there is a ragged Esme-shaped hole in my heart.
I appreciate the condolences, well wishes, and donations to shelters in Esme's name. All of it has helped the hurt of loss.
While no cat can replace Esme, I warned Jeff that I might just go looking for a rescue in November or December; a diluted calico that was born in September or October. He told me, "That's OK. There's room for a rescue kitten in our home." It makes me love him that much more. I got used to a four cat household. Someday, we will be again, when the right little rescue asks us to take her home.
In the meantime, I'm going to cry a lot and miss my grumpy, bitey kitty. But I know she's at peace now and that brings me comfort.