St. Patrick’s Day 2001-August 19, 2013

Three trees loom over a soft depression in the front yard where our dog lay;

Her favorite resting place

Here is a mound of newly turned earth the size of our dog beyond the kitchen window;

Her final resting place


I sit on the terrace in her quiet company

I wasn’t here to say goodbye but gone west to help sick parents

She surprised us

Swam untroubled in the creek the day before

Left the way you’d expect from her, no drama, no trouble, no expense


My husband left for dinner with friends on a pleasant night

Possum lying on the lawn beside her beloved companion Red as was their habit

Gone when her master, my youngest came home from work

In his grief he did what a boy might;

Tears running down typically stoic cheeks

Built a funeral pyre; hauling rocks from the creek to make a circle

It was blazing for the warrior companion to his childhood games when the others came home and halted his plans

She was buried in the morning


A puff of wind picks up unseen dog hair that swirls and vanishes

I do not feel the wind and do not see any reason for this mini cyclone but inconsolable, I wonder if that bodiless dog is trying to comfort me with her undercoat of downy fur that covered the house no matter how I brushed her every day

Her heart seized without my close comfort


She was born in our home on St. Patrick’s Day, the runt of the litter

I kept her for my youngest son

He needed practice at responsibility and love, I thought

Her eyes twinkled merrily; aware beyond her siblings

I’d named them in tribute to the day and she was clearly the Leprechaun though walking in the woods when she just a few weeks old I saw a baby possum cross the trail that looked like her and so I renamed her Possum as Leprechaun was an awkward name for a dog

The 6 pound cat here beside me had seemed so large when she’d snuggled at that puppy’s side

Now frail and fading from tired kidneys; I thought she would be the first to leave

Isabelle and Possum

Her companion, Red, lay across her grave once I placed the final stone

He is lost without her, eyes straining at spotted fawns in the distance who so resemble her

I think he believes it must be her in the distance

She was the pointer, the spotter, the one who always ran free in the fields above and below

She hunted for the chase but his habit was capture and so we kept him close

Red lying on Possum's Grave

All is changing; all is turning as it always has

but today I am not rolling with the turn but tossing against it

It is my birthday and my birthday always feels like the turning of seasons

It is the day that the light shifts and the air turns cooler

The flowers turn inward and the sky feels closer

Near is the time for remembering and mourning and asking forgiveness

The Jewish New Year

The New Year

I am not easily turning this year

Perhaps the ride from California’s light is just too much this day


This dog was not ours alone but a neighborhood’s mascot

Beloved friend of the Radnor rangers;  she was an illegal but adored trespasser so many times in her younger years when she couldn’t be contained

She never knew a leash, never made an enemy

I love you Possum

May you rest in peace

Possum and Red



Filed under nature, poetry, yoga wisdom

18 responses to “Possum

  1. Beautiful. Happy birthday. My heart breaks for your loss.

  2. That was beautiful. Thank you. Goodbye, Possum.

  3. susan

    Sweet possum… I hope she is running through a thousand Radnor Lake’s right now. My heart is hurting for all of you, and Red right now…

  4. Amazing and very moving. RIP Possum.

  5. Michele Boardman

    So sweet the words and photos.

    Sent from my iPad

    • No one could understand better than you. Thank you for saying that Ginger your wonder dog will be there for her. Remember, Possum was no one’s circus show – she shunned tricks but you got her to show off when no one else could. You can teach an old dog new tricks if you are an animal whisperer.

  6. Wow can you write. And I am sorry for your loss.

  7. Yoginiklea

    SO sorry for your family’s loss Hilary. Such sweet pictures – made me tearful… I am glad I knew her on our few walks together. Feeling particularly full of gratitude for Tilo today we stayed in bed a little longer snuggling while I read him a dog story out loud. He loves to hear his name when I read him dog stories and his tail starts smacking the bed every time he hears me say “Tilopa” – his formal name. Thank you, love you, K+Lea

    On Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 5:46 PM, bitchin yoga

    • You read Tilo dog stories!!! That is divine. Tilopa! Hold him close. Any animal would be in heaven with you for a companion. (Anyone at all for that matter 🙂 ). Thank you for remembering my sweet girl with me.


    Hi Hilary,  I’m very sorry to hear that Possum died. She was a total sweety. Rosebud, my “new” dog of 2 years, reminds me of Possum. Not a bad thing. Hope you are well. I’m still a mostly happy recluse. Love, Jim


    • Well I’m glad you are happy and sorry about the recluse as I do love to see you. Thank you for remembering Possum. If Rosebud is like Possum you have picked well. Love to you, as always.

  9. What a lovely elegy, Hilary. Only love can inspire such words. Peace.

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