This is not one of my least favorite chores but something I do routinely, like most people. I live alone so the washing machine is my laundry basket, thereby eliminating middle-steps to the hamper and expediting the whole process I guess.
Anyway, yesterday was such a beautiful day I decided to do a bit of advance spring cleaning and wash bath mats and dog blankets. Picking up my late beloved Murphy’s 3 ultra-soft blankets I paused and held them to my nose, inhaling deeply. I could no longer detect his smell. This made me incredibly sad, but also posed a dilemma: ought I to go ahead and wash the blankets? They were his after all, and besides me were pretty much the last things he touched. I had already been able to put away his numerous water bowls I had placed for him, conveniently so he wouldn’t have to walk too far to get a drink. I decided in tribute to him I would wash the blankets and dry them outside so they would have the springy-bright sunshine smell after they had dried.
I know that there are some people who remove everything of a deceased pet’s immediately after the pet passes. This may be simpler I suppose, no lingering reminders creating echoes of sounds and sights of the pet. It’s not as though I thought Murphy was actually going to return, nor that some sepulchral self of him would come back to visit the dog beds or water bowls. It was just something final about removing these things that I could not make myself do. I sharply remembered once when I tripped over a water bowl, spilling water everywhere and became so angry I kicked it outside, breaking it into too many pieces to glue back together. I put the pieces in the trash and for days after Murphy wandered over to the trash can, sniffing at the top as though he knew it was in there and wanted it back. No, I needed to see these things, knowing the pain of his not returning to them. Their emptiness and uselessness somehow amplified his absence. Not that I enjoy being maudlin or grieving, but somehow I felt it would dishonor him to simply whisk away his things, as though I had just broken a precious vase and were sweeping it away.