“It’s finished,” said Cadillac Man, as we laid the headstone commemorating his little companion of sixteen years.
He’d chosen this spot months ago as he watched his beloved dog wasting away, day by day. And so we laid Nik to rest here in the shade of the crape myrtle our family planted when we first moved to our home. Nik was a year old then. Cadillac Man was five, soon to finish kindergarten; he’s entering his last year of college now.
The tree in its fullness marks the passing of time. It was young when my boy with black curls and his little red dachshund were young. I think of myrtle being an ancient funeral flower, how it represents love and faithfulness . . . never mind that a crape myrtle isn’t a true myrtle. The name association is enough; the symbolism perfect. As the pink blossoms collect here by Nik’s likeness, I recollect the bright spot of happiness he was throughout my son’s childhood, throughout the life of my family.
The statue is my doing. Cadillac Man drove me on a four-hour round trip to get it. “It’s just like him!” he exclaimed when he saw it.
Yes. For the garden is not here for remembering that Nik’s no longer with us after so many years, whenever we see it through the kitchen windows or as we pass by on our daily comings and goings. It is not for mourning, or to assuage our pain.
It’s here to celebrate the gift of his life—a garden of gratitude.
It is complete.
And so, it would seem, the Nik stories are complete.
The Nik collection: