As many of you know, I am passionate in raising awareness of the family-directed home funeral option. As an End of Life Coach, I get to encourage, explore and guide many end of life choices and wishes. Today, I want to speak about how my family created a compassionate home funeral for our dog and how you can as well.
In March, our sweet Coco died unexpectedly on an early Saturday afternoon. She was a dear part of our family for 13 years and had grown up alongside our kids. Upon her death, I carried her into the house and laid her sweet body on a sheet covered massage table in one of our rooms. The kids and I gathered together and grieved over her holding hands and crying in each others arms. In the following hour we adorned her with flowers and incense, lit candles and played sacred music. We decided to keep her overnight and arrange for pickup to cremation the next day around 1pm.
For those evening and morning hours, we all wandered in and out of that room to be with her. It is precious how death gathers presence. You find yourself naturally drawn to the bedside of the deceased out of respect, out of care, out of a deep desire for your head and heart to slowly come together as a witness to what has happened. Being at home you are able to take your time, to revisit as many times as you need. To have this spaciousness in time allows for a graceful letting go, for an emerging acceptance, for an un-rushed goodbye.
An experience like this, I believe, nourishes our journey of grief. It gives us a place for our grief to flow…it offers a dignity in having cared to the end…it creates gathering and community among our loved ones…it invites us to mingle with the sacred…it leaves us with fewer regrets…it lets the head and heart catch up to one another…it leaves us with a set of visions that are positive and caring. I have grieved, cried in stores, in the car, going to sleep, over dinner…and at the same time held my sorrow in a beautiful halo of all of those virtuous memories.
We were fortunate to love her, to love her all the way to the end of her, and to lovingly care for her body for her. I’m grateful.
Coco happened to die at home and there was a natural transition into the house. But even if your beloved pet dies in the vets office or a hospital, you can request to bring your pet home if you desire. There are many vets that provide end of life care visits in your home as well.
We arranged Coco’s cremation through Ron of Thanicare. Ron’s presence and kindness was completely aligned with the way we were holding space for Coco and we were thankful that he was the one to take over her care. Her ashes were returned in a beautiful wooden box with a personalized gold engraved plaque. And they gifted us her paw print in clay. So much honor and grace. We are grateful for their heart-centered service. We highly recommend them.
I also recommend looking into aquamation, or the process of alkaline hydrolisis as process of peaceful water cremation for our beloved pets. This is a ecofriendly choice and available here in San Diego.
I hope our story inspires you and raises your awareness to what is possible in our end of life choices, experiences and wishes for your pets.
If you have any questions about Family Directed Home Funerals or End of Life Planning please feel free to reach out to me through a direct message or via email at Rhonda@peacefully-prepared.com.