April 17, 2008

Ethel's Funeral

We took Ethel, our turtle, to the pet cemetery at Jindaiji Temple on the 17th. It was a rainy day. It was not a good day to take pictures. Anyway, Papa said we shouldn't take pictures--at a funeral!! I am posting this picture of azaleas because there is an azalea festival at the Jindai Botanical Gardens. There were lanterns and banners advertising it everywhere.

Little Brother and Big Sister were at school. Papa had the day off so we went by car. I held Ethel's coffin on my lap. I couldn't find a box at home, so I had gone to the 100 yen shop and bought a small cardboard box.

We parked the car and had to climb stone stairs to the pet cemetery. We stopped at a small office at the cemetery to pay the fee for the cremation. It was 9000 yen. We filled out a form with her name and age. It will be placed in a book and displayed for two years.

The attendant escorted us to the crematorium. I was asked to put Ethel's box on a table. The attendant there asked me to open the box. He asked about her. We had a nice short conversation about her. I told him she was 19 years old. He was impressed.

He then asked me to place the box on the small altar next to the table. He lit the two small candles there and stepped aside. Papa and I each lit incense in the flame of one of the candles and placed it in a holder. We then prayed for Ethel. The attendant thanked us. We thanked him. As we walked away, I turned to look. The attendant stood before the altar where Ethel lay. He bowed to her and prayed for her. I was impressed.

P.S. Ethel's remains will be placed in a box with other small animals. It is in a room full of shelves of small urns. (It costs a lot more to have an individual urn and shelf.) Ethel's remains will be with Poppy's remains, our golden hamster. Poppy passed away five years ago. She was two years old. Her funeral was similar to Ethel's, but Big Sister and Little Brother were there.

It is sad when a pet dies.
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