Jib’s Ashes

by Shaina

I disagreed with a lot of the others’ ideas of where to sprinkle Jib.  Jib died not this past May, but the May before, just the day before my birthday.  He wasn’t that smart, but he would do things like that, being a gentleman.  He had his way of not being a nuisance to us, even if it was to his detriment.  Like the time we couldn’t find him in Grandma’s yard at all, and we started looking all over the island for him.  I thought he must have fallen into the pond and drowned, and Mom thought someone must have found him and taken him, because he was so cute.  Ultimately, my boyfriend at the time found him upstairs, shut into my grandma’s linen closet in her bathroom.  He didn’t even bark during his imprisonment, because that was his way.  He had a sort of dumb faith in people or the way things are, but it mostly did him good.


Yesterday was his birthday, which I mentioned to my family before dinner.  We had mostly forgotten, being back out on the island, so we decided to sprinkle his ashes today.  Originally, I had told my parents I thought we should sprinkle his ashes at our old house, because that was his kingdom.  They didn’t want to leave him there, though.  I disagreed, because don’t you put someone where they loved being?  I don’t believe in the afterlife, so I can’t imagine the deceased would be aware of the future state of their place.  For example, Jib wouldn’t miss us after we moved away from that house, because he’d exist with all our memories.  But still, my parents wanted him out here, where he liked to vacation with us, especially since they will be buried out here.  I guessed that was OK.


Yesterday, we talked about where we would sprinkle him.  My mom said what about up by the cottage.  I didn’t really like that idea, because he usually only went up there on his own, and sometimes those were the times we couldn’t find him.  My dad didn’t like the idea, because he thought since we didn’t own the cottage, Jib might be alone in the future.  I, again, didn’t think the future mattered.  Ultimately, we agreed to sprinkle him between my grandma’s house and the cottage, because Jib liked to sprint between the two and roll around in the bristly grass to scratch his back.


Today, my mom telephoned my grandma to tell her to send Sydney and me outside to sprinkle Jib with her, Dad, Maddie, and Grant.  It was raining, but I couldn’t complain, because that would be lazy and disrespectful of Jib.  It wasn’t too rainy, so it was kind of nice.  We met under a tree by the stone wall on the edge of the property, and my mom said, “should we sprinkle him here, just beyond the wall?”  I thought that was a ridiculous idea, because beyond the wall are thickets of bushes and trees, and Jib was never really past the wall, unless he got over it as a puppy, which I believe he usually regretted, it being so dense with sticks.  We agreed to sprinkle him on the lawn, then.  I held out my hand and suggested that we all take some and sprinkle him.


Nobody liked the idea of touching Jib’s ashes, except my mom.  She poured a couple tablespoons of him into my palm, and I ran around the yard like he used to and let him fall out of my hand onto the grass.  He used to run really fast when he was excited, so I hoped he would enjoy the run again.  I didn’t pay attention, but I think most everyone else took turns sprinkling him here or there out of the bag.  When Maddie saw me smudge the residual Jib onto my cheeks off my palm, she scorned me.  I wasn’t doing it in a bad way.  Poor Jib.  If I died, I would want to be touched by the ones that loved me so much one last time, before I went where I went.  I wouldn’t want to be poured out of a bag.  I only thought it would be better to have some of Jib on my face than to wash him off.  Tiller came with us, too.  I don’t know if she knew that it was Jib or if she knew anything, being blind.  But she must’ve been in the spirit, considering she ran around a bit, which she doesn’t usually do anymore.  That was good, I think.
I didn’t used to think I wanted to be burned, but like Mom says, it takes up less space in the world.  I also don’t like the idea of being stuck so far under ground.  Plus, now that I know someone could hold me in their hands and run around with me again or take me on a walk, I think that would be much better.  Except I wouldn’t want to be kept in a box on a mantle or some such thing.  Did you know that before we sprinkled Jib, we had him in a small, wooden box for a while?  When we moved houses, I was going to the bathroom one day and found that my mother had made his shrine on the back of the toilet.  “What are you doing!” I had scolded her.  “You can’t put Jib on a toilet!”  So we moved him down to a shelf in the kitchen.  Anyway, I think we made a good choice putting him on the grass here.  I guess he probably didn’t mind being stuck in that box for a little over a year, because he had that dumb faith that we would let him out and bring him somewhere he liked.