An Early Morning, A Cloudy Day, A Buddhist Funeral Service for a Little Bird

I think I wrote about my friends’ animals that are presently here at my house… and one of the parakeets that died in my hand the other day.  (Not my pet, but a sad day regardless.)

My friend had sent me a text a couple of days ago, asking if I could contact a local pet funeral home about a service.  The service was this morning.

Had to wake up rather early.  Went by to pick up another friend before going to the funeral parlor… she’s a friend of this other friend, too, and wanted to be there to kind of stand in.  We got there and the service started at 8:00am sharp.

Yes, a Buddhist funeral service for a bird.  For some reason, it didn’t seem so off-the-wall.  (Am wondering… are services held for pets in other countries?)  As the smoke from the incense rose and filled the room, the Buddhist sutra was chanted by the others there, including my friend who knows it all by heart.  (Her parents are very faithful Buddhists.)

As I sat listening for those few minutes, my mind drifted… thoughts of life, my own pets, pets I’ve had in the past, thoughts of how I can recite The Apostle’s Creed in Japanese, but have no clue how it goes in English.

The short service ended, we chatted for a while and then the funeral parlor owner and his wife took us to another house they own on the side of a mountain nearby.  There’s a house and, next to it, he built a crematorium.  (Explained that they built one there instead of their original neighborhood because of protests from local people.)  The tiny little bird was placed on a metal net, more incense was offered and then Pon (the bird) was slowly put into the furnace.

My friend and I were led to the house next door, into a small living room.  We were asked to wait there for about 30 minutes.  Usually she and I would be chatting about everything under the sun, jumping from one topic to the next.  But we were both rather quiet and she kept talking about how sad she will be when her own cat passes.  (No, he’s not sick or anything… is still young and as healthy as any strong, young cat might be!)  I kept trying to change the subject and was successful most of the time.  Not sure why she was being so blue about her healthy cat… perhaps that’s what funerals do to people sometimes.

After the 30 minutes, we walked back over to the crematorium.  The metal wire was out of the furnace and the only hint that something had been there were the tiny, TINY bones… a perfect little skull and a tiny beak.  The owner took tweezers and gently placed the bones into an urn.  The urn into a box, the box into a bag, the bag to take home until it can be handed to my friend who is away.

We rode back in the car with the owner and his wife, got back and they served us some coffee.

It was nice, all in all.  Just somber, which is normal, right?

After I got back home, I saw my neighbor from across the street, standing in front of her garage.  She looked a bit teary-eyed… my stomach did a flip… not a good flip since I knew their dog, Chappy, had been very sick.  Sure enough, I walked over to her garage and there he was, lying on a blanket, covered in another, breathing weakly.  She told me she had called her husband and he was on his way home.  The two of us sat next to him on the concrete, petting his cool body, telling him that daddy was going to be back soon if he could hold on a little longer.

I later learned Chappy had passed away about 30 minutes after that… and, yes, he waited until his daddy got home.  He was such a good dog and will be missed…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. keith
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 04:07:42

    what a rough day…hugs my friend.


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