I had a dream last night that Max showed up back at the house. The healthy, heavier Max of days gone by, just back wandering around like oh hey what did I miss?
Part of my brain attempted to argue with the dream logic (or lack thereof), flashing back to memories of his actual passing and removal from the house, arguing with a random sea of strangers who also just happened to be there (because okay) that no, he died, he definitely absolutely died...yet eventually another part of my brain overruled my objections and decided that no, this is real! Let's accept it! It was all a big mistake! Let's be happy! Max is back Max is back Max is baaaaack!
And then I woke up, and remembered that the vet called yesterday to tell me that Maximillian's ashes had been delivered.
I picked Ceiba's up last week after Beau's first vet visit. Which: Okay, that's a lot to take in and unpack right there. I held it together pretty well until I got home and proceeded to full-on ugly cry over the tiny little box with the velvet bag inside and the labeled plastic bag inside of that and oh my God, it's all so real now.
I took the rest of Max's expensive prescription kidney food with me this morning so the animal shelter could have it...the same animal shelter that just sent me a letter yesterday as a follow-up to Ceiba's little overnight adventure there, reminding me that repeated off-leash infractions could lead to further fines/consequences...and also a list of general tips and safety precautions to keep your dog from running away.
Ha ha! Little do you know, suckers! That dog is dead now! But the new dog is EVEN WORSE THAN SHE EVER WAS so you still managed to be ironically apropos and also I'm all sad and confused now, mostly because WHY AM I LAUGHING AT THIS?
The boxes are currently on a shelf in the living room, and Jason was like, "Seriously? We're really doing that?" I didn't put them there on purpose or anything -- the boys were really curious/fascinated about Ceiba's ashes so I needed a spot where they'd be unlikely to attempt opening them without me noticing.
And now a week later I still don't have any better ideas so I guess we are really doing this, for now at least.
Despite not really knowing what to do with them, I'm glad I got them. They're very small and pretty and quietly speak to me that yes, dammit, these animals were IMPORTANT, These animals MATTERED.
They're something tangible to hold and grieve over, and then to put back on the shelf, and try to move on.