Monday, November 9, 2015

Goodbye Chiaro di Luna

The Japanese grandmother passed away early Sunday morning, so we snuck out of the house leaving the three dogs sleeping, and drove over to do the last honors. After the doctor pronounced her dead, I cleaned out the cupboards in her room, packed up her stuff and loaded it in the car, waiting for the body to be washed. They asked me to help do her last make-up, so there I was at three in the morning painting lipstick on a corpse. After that we had to wait for the hearse to arrive and carry her to the crypt until the last service and cremation: Yokohama is overcrowded right now, so it took some time to organize, (the crypts were all full until 1400 that day when a cremation would take place, so she had to be carried to a provisional crypt first) and we finally got home around 5 am. 
Meanwhile in the evening I had a professional show dance performance, so I was then slapping on foundation and painting lipstick on myself to hide the shadows of a sleepless night...when I got back around eight in the evening, it was like Luna had been waiting and waiting, the neighbor came by to ask after granma, and we all sat round chatting and stroking Luna, and she peed a great lake, sighed, and passed on, ever so gently in the warm circle of love. I was so wrecked by then, I called the pet ceremony organizers and CACI and then just fell asleep next to her, stroking her gently as usual.
I woke around three and she was quite cold, and it felt like I could go upstairs and get some rest alone before morning walkies with Claire and Nobu. I spent some time clipping all the flowers I could find in the garden: chrysanthemums, tsubaki, tsuwabukiso leopard plant, and purple lantana. It seemed fitting, because Luna loved to run around in the garden for hours on end. At the crematorium we arranged her lovingly at the final altar, her head resting on Sofie's little memorial box, it felt like Sofie had come to greet her and be with her, and indeed a friend has confirmed she dreamed the same thing.
After a prayer, and a final goodbye kiss, the body is cremated while you wait upstairs, I was zonked out on the couch for an hour, and then we go to pick the bones off the tray with chopsticks and put them in the urn, starting from the tail and working our way up to the crowning head on top. Luna's wee skeleton was so cute, just like the energy of her living self, a very moving ritual.
Finally the bones are pulverized and you can take her home in her wee urn inside the beautiful brocade box with a bunch of time to set up an altar yet, it was off to the human funeral parlor to dress granma in a cream silk satin damask kimono after a professional make-up session, and then lift her gently in all her glory into her white linen brocade coffin, looking ever so pleased with the film star treatment.

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