One day she didn’t show up for work, which wasn’t like Marge. Upon checking, they found that Marge had passed away quietly at home, sitting in a chair, alone except for her pets. Marge was a somewhat unusual person. Single for her entire life, she lived alone in a small apartment. Her parents were deceased and she had no relatives — no human relatives, at least. Marge’s family was her dog, Valentine. While other people had pictures of their family on their desk, Marge had a picture of Valentine.
Marge was an animal lover and an activist for animal rights. She was passionate about animals, and I’ve seen her fire off more than one angry letter or phone call when she thought animals were not being treated appropriately. She must have also been involved in demonstrations as she once told me about being at one when the circus came to town.
Marge decided that the church she attended should hold a service for the Blessing of the Animals. She approached her pastor, but he was not in favor of the special service. Marge was extremely upset and took her cause to the bishop. Finally, she created enough support, or enough aggravation, that the church agreed to hold the Blessing of the Animals.
Marge didn’t want the service to be outside in the parking lot, which is where most churches hold such a service — if they have it. She wanted it inside the church in the sanctuary. When Marge had a cause, there was no stopping her. She volunteered to clean up the church if there were any accidents and again she got her way. The service was a big hit and many people came with pets, mostly dogs and cats with a few hamsters and even one snake in a cage. Marge took her dog, Valentine.
As it turned out, it was the last blessing that Valentine would ever receive. Not long after the service was held, Marge called work to say that she wouldn’t be in that day. Valentine had passed away. Valentine was cremated and his ashes scattered along the path where she had walked him.
Marge decided that she wanted to hold a memorial service for Valentine — in church, of course. By then people had learned not to argue with Marge when it came to animals, so the service was set and everyone she knew or who knew of her was invited. The place was full. After all, how many times do people get to go to a funeral for a dog in the church?
Marge was broken-hearted without Valentine. We were all glad when another dog eventually adopted her. He didn’t take Valentine’s place, but he did fill an empty spot in her life. She finally seemed to stop grieving and was so excited that she brought the new dog to work so everyone could meet him.
Not long after the new dog, I changed jobs. I sort of lost track of Marge when I didn’t see her every day. We met a time or two for lunch, but eventually went our own ways and forgot to keep in touch. I heard about her death from a friend who also knew Marge from another time. She told me about running into Marge one day by accident and Marge had told her about her new tattoo. The Marge I knew was not the tattoo type. The wildest thing I could remember her doing was going to tapings for American Country Idol.
Even though I hadn’t kept in touch, Marge is the sort of person that you don’t forget. I always think of Marge when someone mentions animal rights. I heard that Marge’s funeral was so packed that there was no place to park.
Marge’s tattoo was on the left side of her chest, close to her heart. The tattoo was a picture of Valentine. I am sure Marge and Valentine went over the rainbow bridge together.
Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss