Quick Ghlaghghee Followup

First, thank you to everyone for their kind thoughts and notes yesterday, here, on Twitter, in email and in other places. I had a sad day yesterday, and you folks helped get me through it. And it was also nice to have a day where I didn’t do anything but process. I’m still sad today, but I also have things I need to do. So onward.

But I did want to show you where Ghlaghghee is and will be. That’s the backyard maple tree in the picture above; where the small pile of logs is a temporary wood cairn under which you’ll find her. The logs are there both to note the spot (we’ll probably put a small marker of some sort later) and also for the practical matter that there are coyotes and stray dogs in the area and we would like to thwart any of their possible ambitions. Life in the country.

Ghlaghghee unintentionally did us a small kindness by passing away when she did rather than any later, because yesterday morning the ground was clear and it was still warm enough that digging wasn’t a problem. It started snowing almost immediately after we finished burying her. This morning her resting spot is looking very pretty.

In any event, there she is and there she will remain and it’s nice to have her with us. I’m not generally a huge fan of burials — I doubt I will be buried myself — but as I noted yesterday it made sense for this little cat. To the extent that she would think about it at all, I suspect this is what she would prefer. Her whole life was what I can see out my windows. It’s a good thing to be able to look out the window and still see her.

54 Comments on “Quick Ghlaghghee Followup”

  1. All lives are precious. I’m sorry about your cat, excuse me, your friend/companion/travel mate/sleeping buddy. I loathe the thought of burying my fuzzy buddy. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Karen A. Wyle – I'm an appellate attorney, an author, a photographer, a politics junkie, and a Hoosier (aka intermittent fan of IU basketball). My published work (aside from law review/legal journal articles) includes multiple science fiction novels, some near future and some involving other planets, equipped with aliens. More recently, I've veered off into historical romance, specifically a series called Cowbird Creek and set in 1870s Nebraska. I've also published one nonfiction book, Closest to the Fire: A Writer's Guide to Law and Lawyers. While originally intended to help writers use accurate details in their legal settings and expand the scope of such stories, I realized while writing it -- and have heard from readers -- that it could also be of use and interest to students, immigrants, and anyone interested in better understanding the American legal landscape. My other blog, Looking Around, is at http://looking-around.blogspot.com.

    I’m lucky (in many respects including this one): I work at home and can cry (and hug my dog) when I please.

    It’s a lovely spot.

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me

    That’s a lovely place for a friends final resting place.

  4. Our daughter’s late kitty sleeps under a rough-hewn piece of granite in the garden under our front picture window. That window was his favorite spot to perch and chitter to the birds, and we all agreed that the ground below it was a good choice for his final resting place. Every time I weed around that chunk of granite, I stop a moment to remember Tiger and his goofiness; he wasn’t the brightest feline in the world, not by a long shot, but he sure was a lovable critter, and nearly seven years after his death, I still miss him.

    I like the thought of Ghlaghghee resting out there under the maple, and I hope you think of her indomitable and unique personality often as you contemplate the peaceful horizon. I’ll look for her maple in your sunset photos from now on.

    Sending wishes for peace and healing.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I am constantly amazed at how much love these little furry creatures bring into our lives.

  6. Wonderful place for her, will be even prettier in the spring. Maybe plant catnip around the base of the tree, or some other type of flowers she liked? I have two buried out in the back yard under the herb garden, and two small urns of cremated ash on one of the book shelves from the most recent two we lost. But even if we didn’t have the remains, we have those years of memories and a number of cat shaped holes in our hearts… And I wouldn’t have it any other way. The pain of their loss is more than made up for in the years of purring cuddles and furry snuggles.

  7. Firstly, HUGS to you and the family. There’s nothing else I can do or say about Ghlaghghee. Nothing will make it better. Nothing can prepare you either. Like Krissy said, knowing it’s coming is not the same as facing it down once it gets there.

    Trees are a wonderful resting place. That’s where our furbabies who have left us for Valinor, or wherever it is that all of us go to find each other again, are resting. It helps to see life growing in the wake of death, at least it helps me. I’ve seen the passing many animals over the years but there are a few I ache for still. And a few that are still with me, but that I know I will ache for forever, once they’re gone.

    HUGS again, to you and the family. And here’s to Ghlaghghee, waiting for you in the beyond, ruling over an ethereal bed.

  8. I’m sorry for your loss, and completely understand how you feel. We lost our cat Jake five years ago. He rests under a small cairn of rock in a flower bed outside the window where he would often sit and watch the world go by. We still miss him today, even with four new furry children in the house. I sometimes find myself calling one of the new cats by his name. The response, predictably, is being ignored by the fur-person in question until I can get their name right — and often being ignored after, as well.

  9. I’m so sorry, John. My deepest sympathies.

  10. We had to put one of our beloved dogs to sleep last summer after an extended illness. You’re right that knowing it’s coming doesn’t prepare you for it. I still miss her deeply. My deepest sympathy for your loss!

  11. That is a beautiful, beautiful place for her, and beautifully appropriate as well.

    Just caught up this morning and saw the news. I’m so sorry for your loss, and so glad that you had a wonderful dozen years with her and that her passing was as peaceful as it could be.

  12. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.

    Tammy’s and I’s condolences on your family’s loss, Scalzi. Losing a loving member of your family is hard, even when you know it’s coming….

    At least, Ghlaghghee is romping in The Summerlands now, waiting for her family to join her.

  13. Thank you, John, For sharing with us about Ghlaghghee, and reminding all of us that we are not alone in knowing our family includes our furry loved ones as well as the naked loved ones. (This is how I assume the furry members of my family see me.)

  14. It’s a beautiful spot.

    I owe you an apology. Next time I will read the introduction to the comments, so that I don’t give offense when I am trying to offer comfort! I am sad for your loss.

  15. kalisalessnau – I am an author, baker of delicious treats, and a big fan of this Internet thing. I think it'll really catch on in a few years, don't you?

    It is a lovely spot.

  16. I am so sorry to hear that she is gone. A small comfort that you didn’t have to take her to the vet. My thoughts are with you all, especially the other animals. They will also miss her, and they will grieve. Hugs to all

  17. Moira Russell – Seattle, WA – "The demand is made that the hero and heroine should be dramatically effective. But after all, in real life people don't spend every minute shooting each other, hanging themselves and making confessions of love. They don't spend all their time saying clever things. They're more occupied with eating, drinking, flirting and talking stupidities - and these are the things which ought to be shown on the stage. A play should be written in which people arrive, go away, have dinner, talk about the weather and play cards. Life must be exactly as it is. And people as they are - not on stilts.... Let everything on the stage be just as complicated, and at the same time just as simple as it is in life. People eat their dinner, just eat their dinner, and all the time their happiness is being established or their lives are being broken up." -- Anton Chekhov <a href="http://www.librarything.com/profile/the_red_shoes">LibraryThing</a> MRS. HARDWICK-MOORE. [The Writer silently passes her a pint bottle of whiskey.] Thank you, Mr. --- ? WRITER. Chekhov! Anton Pavlovitch Chekhov! MRS. HARDWICK-MOORE. [smiling with the remnants of coquetry] Thank you, Mr. -- Chekhov. -- Tennessee Williams, The Lady of Larkspur Lotion
    Moira Russell

    What a beautiful place for your girl. (I was going to quote the Thomas Hardy too.)

  18. I couldn’t bear having a grave for Rufus (I have a hard time with graves in general), but when my husband and I have a breathing moment we’ll scatter his ashes around the grass in our backyard. It helps that our backyard is a lot smaller than yours. I decided that that was what felt right to do when I thought of it as him marking his territory. All of our cats are indoor-only but we did take him out there a few times in a harness and he would’ve loved to spend more time out there. Which I was going to take him out to do when I got back from Thanksgiving, dammit, but he died the night I returned. My one regret.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’ll be comforted by seeing her tree.

  19. So sorry for your loss, but you have done well memorializing her, and burying her in a spot that makes sense for her and you.

  20. I have always HATED having to take a sick animal on a car ride, to a strange place that smells Wrong, to strangers, and then euthanizing them. It just seems like adding torture to misery.

    Sometimes there is no choice, and it has to be done that way. Sometimes you can be lucky and a vet will come to your home. And sometimes the animal will take care of matters themselves, and that is a great mercy for everyone, I think.

    I’ve had my last several pets cremated, and when I go, I want to be cremated as well, and have my ashes mixed with theirs and scattered someplace wild. I buried two cats, and then moved, and have always felt guilty for leaving them behind. I don’t think that will happen to Ghlaghghee, somehow. I like your memorial for her. (This turns out to be more about me than about you and your cat, for which I apologize. When someone loses a pet, my own come more sharply to mind.)

  21. I love your thoughts on her burial spot. I have my dog’s ashes that I need to find a spot for (I’d prefer to scatter them somewhere, but my daughter wants to bury them next to my parents’ dog in their yard). I’m fine with that idea except that my parents have been talking about selling their house, which means in addition to leaving my childhood home, they’d be leaving the dogs behind. So meanwhile the ashes sit in their box.

  22. Just wanted to pile on to the list of people offering condolences. To be honest, I am not a regular reader, but I saw your post on twitter and now I’m sitting here at work tearing up. I’ve lost my share of pets and currently have a much beloved 9-year old lab who went from being extremely active, strong, and healthy, to having two rear legs that don’t want to work, almost overnight. It is bitter and horrible, because she should have had a few good years left, much like your kitty. My life right now basically revolves around caring for her and I measure my own happiness based on how well she’s moving around and whether or not she’s pooped or peed for the day. Her condition is perplexing to the vets I’ve taken her to – she makes a bit of progress and then goes backwards. It’s maddening. She is fighting so hard to get better and I’m not willing to give up yet, but it’s so damn hard. I’m trying to hold out for yet another specialist that’s booked solid for two months. Fingers crossed.

    Anyway, your post really hit home and losing a pet is the worst. In some ways it can be worse than losing a person. The hurt never really goes away. It sounds like Ghlaghghee was well loved and cherished and I’m glad for your family that she passed peacefully at home and didn’t need to take that last trip to the vet.

  23. I’m sure whatever you ultimately do will be done with love, and properly honor Ghlaghghee’s memory and your love for her. I would not presume to advise you.

    Yesterday’s post, which I linked on FB, caused blurry-monitor syndrome among my friends.

  24. pennlynn – I'm just me, and I'm also someone who has been cursed by being born with a facial difference and I struggle with this every day!! I'm hoping those who find this blog will be apart of my journey as I go though this life.

    Very beautiful, as she was!

  25. Sorry to read about your loss John. It’s never easy when we lose our fuzzy kids. That’s a very fine resting place and I’m with you, it’s very fitting that those furry companions who have spent their whole lives in and about your home deserve to be laid to rest nearby. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories with us.

  26. Scalzi family,

    So sorry for your loss. I just learned of Ghlaghghee’s death a few minutes ago, and I understand very well the sensation of loss.

    I spent a couple of hours this morning with Spike (a tortie girl named for her nature, sharp!) at the vet. She had quit eating last week. After a long physical exam, blood work, xrays, no real reason. So Dr. Witt gave her a pill which was supposed to give her an appetite back. Oh, wow, did it. She’s been a pest since before we got home.

    But traveling to our vet clinic this morning, you can’t help but fear the worst, which we have encountered with many cats over the past 43 years we have been together, Mrs, J and I.

    Best wishes for everyone in the Scalzi homestead!

    Take care of each other, and have sweet memories of your late kitty.

  27. Lee S. Hawke – Melbourne, Australia – Hi, I'm Lee. I'm a science fiction writer by early morning, a technology lawyer by day, and an avid reader in all the other spare moments I can find. I have two dogs, a healthy respect for cats, and a robot vacuum named Cinderella.
    Lee S. Hawke

    So sorry for your loss, John.

  28. That’s a nice spot for a little cat to rest.

    As much as we can, we’ve buried our furry ones where they each chose to bask in the sun. I like to think they are there, perhaps no longer flattening the daffodils or disturbing the birds, but still where they loved to be.

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