Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Surreal For Real

I picked up Klaus' remains on Monday afternoon.

I have only now been able to write about it. Until that moment I felt that Klaus could still pop up on the table, could still somehow still be around. Even though I know that wasn't possible, it was still possible. Now that he has been cremated it is absolutely not possible and that just makes me hurt all over.

I expected that day to be surreal, and I was not disappointed. A shopping bag awaited me with Klaus' name attached to the outside. I stood in the foyer of the funeral home holding my bag from the bottom and not the handles - it was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. Of course I was afraid that the bag handles would break, sending the cardboard box of cremains (whatta word) crashing to the ground, not with a thud but with a whoosh that sent a tornado of Klaus everywhere. So I held it from the bottom, not taking any chances on any mischief from beyond.

Yes, they remembered to remove his nipple rings and return those to me. Yes, everything was handled perfectly and exactly as specified. I have all of my paperwork save the death certificate which was not ready yet. That's for another trip, I suppose. But yet as I stood there holding the box all I could think of to do (other than not drop it) was to rub the box as if to comfort him. I walked outside toward my car in the rain and covered the box so Klaus wouldn't get wet. I placed him on the passenger seat and buckled the seatbelt around the bag so it wouldn't fly around. Safety first!

And then I had things to do. On top of all that I am dealing with, I have to move. The house we live in is very large, and very far away from where I work. It feels very, very cold and quiet without Klaus. So I have been scouring Craigslist and visiting apartment buildings all over town, sometimes with Bogart (sunny days) sometimes without (hello snow). When I reached my first destination I had a dilemma - I did not want to keep Klaus on the front seat while I was inside for fear that someone might think he was something to steal, and as we already have one broken window on the Bogcedes I wasn't willing to risk it. So I put him in the trunk. I cannot tell you how much I agonized over that. It was either take him into the rental office with me or put him in the trunk. Both a little crazy. But as I really need to find a place to live, I felt that I just had to go with trunk rather than crazy-crying-lady-carrying-around-her-husband's-ashes. Especially as I look the latter part these days.

On the way home I retrieved Klaus from the trunk and put him back on his seat, buckled in. The ride home from there was uneventful in the sense that I was talking to him, just as I normally would if he were sitting there next to me. At one point I put my hand out to stroke his leg - something I would do all the time - and felt only cardboard. Damn. Damn. Damn.

My plan is to make a special box for him. He was too much of an individual to be put into something off-the-rack. But for now, the square, white box with his name printed on a plain, white label sits on my bedside table. Just next to the light-up alarm clock that always pissed him off because he said that the light was too bright, and that he would throw a knitted hat over after I had fallen asleep.

I love you Klaus. Sleep well.




Joe Stains said...

We are very glad you have made it home with Klaus and we wish you luck in finding a new home that feels right for you and Bogart. And of course, for Klaus.

Hana said...

Hi Lulu and Bogart,

We've been following your blog the past few weeks. Opy and Maggie and Mitch alerted us to what was going on.

We've been going through something similar recently. Not quite the same, but similar. My mother-in-law passed away in Dec. Two of our friends lost their Moms in Nov and Feb. My aunt passed way earlier this month. My neighbor passed away a week and a half ago. There have been other things but too numerous to mention. It has been somewhat depressing. We hope 2010 is a better year.

Anyhow... we share your pain. We've been reading Bogart's blog with interest. I'm very glad DWB has been there to help support you. DWB is a great group!

Glad you are eating. I was worried, too.

Hana's Mom

Molly and Taffy said...

Hello Lulu and Bogart

We are so pleased that Klaus is safely home with you now and we hope your search for a new place to live in is not a lengthy affair.

Molly and Taffy.

Woofs to Bogart.

Opy - the Original GruffPuppy said...


I am glad Klaus is home where he belongs.

I am still at a loss for words :(

Sending you lots of love - and hugs to Bogie.


Brooke, Greg, Charlie & Opy

Maggie and Mitch said...

We are so glad that Klaus is home with you. Mom remembers very well the day dad picked up nanny's ashes from the funeral home. It was almost a comfort to have her home in the house again.
We hope you find the perfect apartment for you and Bogie and the kitties without too much stress.

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Martha Basset said...

Hi Lulu
You loved and took care of Klaus in life so why should that change in death.
We are glad you got home safely.

Take your time to find a new home -moving will also be hard!

Our thoughts are with you.

love from us all xxxx

Suzuki said...

Hi Lulu & Bogart
I'm glad Klaus is home with you again. Good luck with the house hunting :)
Big licks to you

Mango said...

Cremains sounds like a DWB word. You just do whatever feels right, that's what's important.

Looking for a new house on top of everything else must be stressful. Hopefully it provides a good focus.

Mango Momma

P.S. Don't foget to eat :-)

Ruby said...

I think you made the right choice not to be the crazy lady carrying Klaus's ashes around with you...but it makes me smile thinking of it. Cremains are interesting, as we get to bring them home - my Dad's stashed in the garage as Mom hasn't been able to figure out what to do with him. I think he's happy there - it was his workshop.

What a lot of change you are going through - I hope you find a wonderful new home.

Kay and Ruby

Abby said...

Hi, Lulu...

I'm sure your whole life feels surreal right now...

Nothing you do is strange or weird...There is no right or wrong way to handle all of this...We just do what we do...

Of course Klaus needed his seat belt on...Don't be surprised if you feel the need to throw that knitted hat over the alarm clock...

You are in our thoughts & prayers every day...

Pat & Abby xxxooo

Lynne said...

Get multiple copies of the death certificate. I got 12 when my husband died and have had to use 11. Seems everyone wants one. One cannot be dead without the paperwork.

I'm so sorry you have the chore of moving on top of everything else. Please pamper yourself whenever possible. What a stressful time for you.

How is Bogart doing?

Dughallmor Beagles said...

Lulu, my heart still aches for you every day....your soulmate is back home with you now and that in itself will be a huge comfort. Good luck with the house-hunting and don't tire yourself out.
Give that fuzzy dawg of yours huge kisses and hugs from us.
Love, Nicky and the Beagles xx

The Airechicks said...


I agree with Abby - nothing is right so therefore nothing can be wrong - you just do...Do what COMFORTS you...Don't worry about the folks who don't get it - they're just not there yet.

I remember after my husband passed I was the BIGGEST channel surfer - because I could and I knew HE didn't like it. The things you miss are the things that will make you smile & cry, sometimes at the same time.

So Klaus & clock puts a smile on my face.

I'm glad Klaus is home - where he belongs.

Good luck in the hunt for a different place - hopefully Bogart will still have backyard...

Hold tight...We LOVE you!!

Welcome To The World Of Airedale Life said...

Dear Lulu and Bogart

My Mom and I went through sonething very similar last September. My brother 62 passed awat and I had him cremated. I too could not believe how heavy the box of ashes were. He is now sitting on my Mom's desk with a beautiful photo of him and we too throw him kisses and talk to him and there is a comfort knowing he is right here with us. Bill, Ezzy and Jagger and I think of you eeryday and know the three of you will find the perfect apt. Things will get eaier. Klaus wull keep you safe and is watching over you guys.


Wemdy Bill Ezzy and Jagger

Deetz said...

Sleep Well, Klaus!
We will be here to help Bogart & Lulu carry on and we will lift them up when they are down...this we promise you.
Kisses Bogart and Lulu
Deetzy & Family

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

Mom's eyes have stopped leaking now...

We are still just blown away by your khandor and sharing...

Everfurry post khontinues to teach us...

PeeEssWoo: She's smiling THAT smile too!

Dawn said...

I agree with everyone. Having Klaus home will bring you comfort. I talked to my Dad's ashes whenever I was home...and it didn't feel strange at all. I loved knowing "where he was."

Finding a new home so soon after your loss will be very stressful. Please take care of yourself and Bogart.

And the advice to get many copies of the death certificate is very correct. You will need many in the weeks and months to come.

Jake of Florida said...


Your sharing all these thoughts and feelings has made me think of things I've always shunted aside. But, now that you've opened the floodgates to all those thoughts, I have a better sense of what would be comforting and feel right through the tears.

I was thinking about my mom's grave -- in a place that's not right around the corner. If her ashes were here in a nice container, why then I'd visit, and we'd continue our talks -- as we do now, but from a distance. But at the time, I never thought about that.

As for that seatbelt -- and reaching out to protect the passenger -- I still do that so many years later because that's what my mom always did. Loving habits stay with us, thank goodness!

So, in your grief, you've been shedding light on an experience that many of us will have to deal with and your candor certainly helps. I hope it helps you too to be able to talk about these things with people who care so much about you.

Be careful in what place you choose to move though. I've always heard that it's often better to wait a bit before making dramatic decisions.

Love from us here diagonally across the country,

Jake and Just Harry's Mom, Joan

Randi said...

Lulu & Bogart...

We are still amazed at your ability to covey such words & raw emotion in them -we feel honored to be able to read your "word therapy" ...it makes us feel more connected during such a sad time...

We are keeping you all...you, Bogart & Klaus in our hearts & prayers..

Love & Licks,
Randi & her mom

Moco said...

It is good that Klaus is home where he belongs. The bedside table seems a perfect place at this time.
We hope that all of you are able to find a place to live close to work.
Cry all you want and never feel like you have to explain it to anyone.

Sally & Rufus said...

Love the posts, thanks for your feelings. Having Klaus at home helps lots.
I have Ruby and Harry's ashes on the mantel, I talked to them for at least 6 months and I do admit to giving them a kiss still.
Take your time, it is your time to rest.
Hope Bogart is making you laugh.
Sally, Rufus and Barb

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...


I love all the comments here...your writing does allow us to think of things in our own lives...how we continue a relationship with loved ones who have died...

Abby said it well...there is no wrong...if it feels right...it is!

And the Mango momma tellin' ya to eat...I bet that's the hardest...but so necessary.

Be gentle with yourself, Lulu...take each day as you have...at ur own pace and time.

Love to you and Bogie!

Scruffy, Lacie, Stanny and Mumsie

Daniella said...

No words to add, just to send you love and support and tell you not a day goes by when I don't think of you or of something you have written. Your words stay with me and they resurface all the time. This morning you were the first thing I thought of when I awoke.
I too am glad that Klaus is with you "physically" now - I have been reading your old blog posts and getting to know you all better. Klaus was just so vibrant, such a personality...I sadly never knew him...but I can't believe he passed so suddenly. I can't imagine what a shock it must still be for you.
Best of luck with the move etc...sending you warm encouragment and love.
Dani and Ax

Anonymous said...

Dear Lulu

You are so brave! Please take your time, don't stress yourself too much... But sometimes some people recover if they have something to do... You and Bogie know what is the best way for you.

We love you and Bogie

Jade and Jane

Ruby Bleu said...

Hi Lulu...
How crazy hard this all is and on top of everything to have to move too. I hope you find a place soon that you will love and Bogie will love.

I'm glad Klaus is home with you.

Lots of Love, Michele & Ruby

the 4 Bs said...

it's such a bad time for you. we can imagine how difficult it all must be. please be strong and know that all will get better - very slowly, but it will get better. we hope that Bogart will give you some comfort.


pughy said...

So glad you have got your beloved Klaus back home, but having to move so soon is not good. Please take care and still take comfort from all your friends on here.

Healing purrs from Ginger Jasper and his mum Carol xx

LuLu and LoLLy! said...

Dear LuLu and Bogie, we are 2 Maltese dogs and we do not know you so we do not mean to be interlopers writing on this but we just wanted you to know that your writing is very byutiful and we are so sorry about everything and that your blog is touching people all over who you might never even know, and what you are sharing will help all of them. In peace, LuLu and LoLLy.

Kirby said...

Hi Lulu, Bogart and Kitties,

I'm so happy that Klaus has returned home. I had to laugh at your story about putting his box in the trunk, as I would have felt the same way as you, if I was in your situation. Your idea to make a special box for him is perfect. Klaus was not an off-the-rack kind of guy. I can see him in something with leather and studs, super cool and bad ass, just like him. I'm a huge fan of corny movies, and in a fave of mine, P.S. I Love You, the wife makes a super cool urn for her husbands' ashes, so I'm happy you are doing the same.

I'm hoping the apartment hunting is providing a bit of a break from everything. I think it's great on nice days Bogart gets to go look too.

We in the Khan household think of you guys all the time, and hope you are all coping well. Hugs to you all, and Kirby sends butt sniffs Bogies way!!

With love,
Kirstin & Kirby

The McFurry Kids said...

(((hugs))) and purrs from all of us. We're glad that Klaus is back home with you, where he belongs. YOu are in our thoughts and prayers.

Comet and BLU said...

We can't even begin to express how sorry we are for your loss. We are glad you have Klaus back home. We're sure he will guide you and Bogart to the perfect new home for you. You are in our thoughts.

Bogart said...

Woof, Lulu!
I felt like I was watching a movie!
Every story you share feels like surreal. Only yours is real. So real that it makes me wonder if Keeper will treasure my cremains when I'm gone? Because for sure, when Keeper goes, I will lie in her cremains while waiting for my next meal and my new Keeper. Now THAT makes me cry.

Bogart, how are you????

Jeannie - Marvin's Mama said...

Dear Lulu

and Bogart........

I read this earlier, and was unable to comment because it all was too raw.

fine for me to say not actually going through your terrible time.

Your posts always manage to break my heart........

You both shared so much love, I cannot imagine your pain.

I have no words.......just my heart and love is with you, dear girl.

Jeannie xxxxxxxxxxx

Jeannie - Marvin's Mama said...

oh and I am totally with Klaus on the light up alarm clock scenario,

sorry probably inappropriate remark here, but god those bloody alarm thingmes do my head in.

Jeannie xxxxxxxx

ps I have a paperback book stacked against mine!!!!

Life with Ozzy said...

I just read the post about how heavy the "cremains" were and it reminded me of how I thought the same thing OMG David is so heavy I never realized that. It's true you never know until you pick them up.
As for doing those little things I still do it a year later. I will put my hand on the pillow waiting for him to put his hand on mine.
I say do what makes you happy that will help you to survive because it will be all about you for the next few months. But honestly don't forget to eat. But I love the memory of Klaus and the clock truly priceless. Take care of yourself. Give Bogie a kiss for me.

Jen & Ozzy

caboval said...

Hi Lulu, You are in our thoughts. From San Diego Hugs, Valerie Joey and Kealani

Bonnie said...

Dearest Lulu,

I understand the need to find a new place to live and you should do whatever feels right to you. But maybe, slow down a bit. Klaus just got home and might want to drink in the memories a bit first before moving on.

Keeley's Grandma


Dear Lulu and Boggie,

I'm so glad you finally have Klaus home. Our thoughts & prayers still are with.

Sarah and Mona

The Meezers said...

We are very glad that Klaus is home with you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you too.

Anonymous said...

Dear lulu, bogart and kitties,

I am glad that Klaus is home and you seatbelted him...I would have as well.

Good luck finding a place that is right for all of you.

Best wishes,

Lucia said...

Ciao cara Lulu e bello Bogart,

We think of you every day and always with the hope that you're doing as well as possible.

Tanti baci, and lots of hugs, too,

Finni said...

Hi Lulu,
When I lost my last boy (I know he was just a dog!) I found one of his hairs on the settee weeks later. I was so happy! I put it on my jumper inside my cardigan and kept it there - crazy but it was so nice! We were soul mates you see.
Elke xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Lulu - Sorry, I can't help checking on you to see if you're all right. I for one think moving is an excellent idea. If you find a place closer to your work, Bogart won't have to be alone as long and you won't have to worry about the upkeep of a too-big, too-empty house and yard. Maybe it will save money, too.

Good luck and take care,

The 3 G-Dales said...

Princess -

We have Sean's father and my two german shepherds on a shelf in our bedroom....and there they remain FOREVER....I love having the dogs close to me and Sean likes being able to be 'connected' to his Dad. Klaus would love that you have him next to the clock based on what you have shared about him. You will be able to talk to him each time you look over at him...take some comfort in that love...he's still close and will always be in your heart.

Thinking of you everyday....
Debbi & The Griffindales

Ellen said...

Lulu, my mother died Christmas morning. We had her cremated and when the box was returned to me it was gift-wrapped. Tastefully, but it was gift-wrapped.
I took her home, where she had lived for 54 years. It was the only place she wanted to be.
For a few weeks, she was on the mantel and I thought that was fitting. But then, I started having workmen come to the house and decided I'd better put her somewhere else.
Right now, she is in a closet in the dining room. I think we'll scatter some of the ashes in her back yard, but that has its own set of problems (besides the legality of it) as houses in this neighborhood are generally demolished after sale to make way for McMansions.
So, no real decisions yet about what to do. I understand the dilemma, I really do.

By the way, there is an artist within the Airedale community who makes custom wood boxes for cremains. If you'd like more inof, I can get that to you.
Hang in there.