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The only death is not being remembered

Marley's ashes

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments following Marley’s passing. The outpouring of sentiment, both here and on YouTube, Facebook and Legacy, has been tremendous. Marley’s obituary in the Norwich Bulletin generated over 60 comments, mostly from strangers, and his was the most viewed obituary online for over two weeks. His picture and obit appeared right alongside the human obituaries in the paper. My dad, who reads the paper every day, said he has never seen this done before. Maybe it will start a trend, which would be another triumph of Marley’s legacy. Also, my blog entry the day after Marley’s death received over 1000 views, and his YouTube video over 500. Clearly, he struck a chord in many. Animals are people too, and worthy of dignity and respect.

It has been three weeks today since Marley’s death. I have gotten more used to him not being here, though still I forget on occasion, like when I’m making myself something to eat and he doesn’t come to investigate. He could detect the sound of aluminum foil from three rooms away. I received his ashes a week after his death, but have not been able to summon the courage to spread some of them yet in his favorite walking spot. His remains rest in the corner where he usually slept, with his collar, lock of fur and favorite toy.

It is getting easier as only the good remains. As my friend Roger wrote, the only death is not being remembered – which ties in nicely with the title of my tribute post. Thank god for the gift of memory – I suppose it can be a blessing or a curse, but in this case it is a blessing. As Barbra Streisand sang, what’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget. I think I’ve already blocked out those difficult few days before and after his death. I just remembered that I had a dream about him recently. I don’t remember the details, but I know it was good.

I watched the movie What Dreams May Come last night. I had seen most of it before, but I forget details. Besides, you pick up new things on repeat viewings, and things have different meanings depending on where you’re at. I had forgotten there was a dog in the movie who is “put down,” and that she is seen frolicking happily in the afterlife. The movie has some good messages and lots of food for thought. Its title comes from Hamlet’s famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy. It explores the nature of death, life and the afterlife. Check it out.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
 Must give us pause . . . 

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One thought on “The only death is not being remembered

  1. I have to say that your article and tribute to Marley helped me tremendoulsy as I had to put my best buddy Zeke down on August 2nd. He was 12 years old and all what I felt you put into words.

    I have his collar, some of his hair,leash and other remembrances in his food bowl. I can’t bear to touch his ashes yet either….. His older brother is still confused but he’s getting double the loving now….

    I remember the dog in the movie…that’s where they all are now – running in the fields without any pain.

    Thank you…

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