I Know You Know This

But thanks everyone for the kind words about Sadie. It really means a lot to know that she had a wide-spread community of people who are sad she’s no longer with us.

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The black, white, and gray afghan might be a bit out of control. That's my foot down there and this is the afghan turned lengthwise. If J. ever needs to share an afghan with seven people, I will have her set.

The black, white, and gray afghan might be a bit out of control. That’s my foot down there and this is the afghan turned lengthwise. If J. ever needs to share an afghan with seven people, I will have her set.

Guest Witch Photograph: LODEMA by Beth Downey

Lodema by Beth Downey

Lodema by Beth Downey

This is a grave in the Oddfellow’s Cemetery in Okolona, Mississippi. You can faintly make out the word “Lodema” painted on the side of it. That is, according to the stories Beth heard growing up, the name of the witch whose grave this is. Beth told me that the whole top of her grave was covered with this heavy concrete in order to ensure Lodema would stay in it.

I couldn’t find a Lodema in the Oddfellow’s Cemetery, but, as we discussed, Mississippi does have three fairly well-known witch stories: The Bell Witch (yes, the same one), The Witch Dance, and The Yazoo Witch. The idea of holding a witch in her grave is very similar to the Chesterville Witch discussed in my post this evening.

All this is to say that I don’t know if there was really a Lodema and, if there was, if she was really a witch. But the legend fits in with other legends in the area (and wider, obviously, considering the Chesterville Witch). Lodema might not be factually real, but she’s definitely folklorically real.

The Witch in the Cemetery

There’s always a reason—how she was dressed, if she’d been drinking, whether she was a slut or an ice-cold bitch—that lets you put your hands on her, give her what she deserves, lets you show her who’s in charge.

There’s always a reason—whether she went to church, whether she went to the right church, if she had a husband, if she had a cat— that lets you put your hands on her, give her what she deserves, lets you show her who’s in charge.

There’s always a reason—whether she dried up your cow, if she bewitched your children, if she was the Devil’s bride—that lets you put your hands on her, give her what she deserves, lets you show her who’s in charge.

You’re in charge. You do what you want. You make the rules. You are disciplined and strong. You have the authority. Not her, not her. She is nothing.

Here is a small cemetery along the Kaskaskia River, surrounded by cornfields and chainlink. In the cemetery is an unmarked grave, the only one surrounded by an iron fence. An enormous tree grows in the fence and, since it’s been so long, around and through the fence.

There she is, pinned into the earth by the roots of the tree.

Just a story, that may not have even happened how they say. A cautionary tale. An urban legend.

Not even your little bit of nothing. Someone else’s witch to be taught a lesson.

So, why can’t you bring yourself to go through the gate?

It’s a Little Weird

So far, the parts I’m having the hardest time with are all the annoying parts. I felt lost when I didn’t have anyone to let out first thing in the morning. After I fed the cats, I wasn’t sure what to do with the cat food can, because no one was going to try to steal it out of the recycling if I didn’t let her lick it clean before I put it in there.

I had prepared myself for the end of cuddles and cute snores and car rides and all the things I loved. But fuck it, I even miss all the mundane crap.

I’m hugely sad, I can’t even begin to tell you, but my second largest emotion is relief. I’m so relieved that we were able to do this for her before she was really suffering and that she went so well.

She went very quickly, kind of. They told us we’d have about ten minutes after they administered the anesthetic to sit with her and feed her treats and such, before she went to sleep. But she fell asleep in just a minute or two. The vet said that was probably a sign that she was in worse shape than we even knew. She snored and we all cried and it took them a while to find a vein because, of course, she had to go out with some level of ridiculousness. And she just went away.

It was very comforting in a sad way.

I feel really, really grateful. Grateful to have gotten a chance to know her and grateful for everyone’s love and support. And I’m so grateful the Butcher is here. The things he was able to do for her at the end–dig her a hole, carry her to it, put her in it, and cover her up–he was barely able to do emotionally, but I would not have been able to do them physically, I don’t think.

The vet and her assistant were amazing. They’re not normally the mobile vet that comes to this part of town, but that vet was on vacation. This is who they recommended. And I can’t even begin to tell you what a great comfort it was to have them come to the house and to spend time just openly loving and getting to know Sadie and putting her at ease.

Anyway, I’m just babbling, but I wanted to tell you that as heartbreaking as this is, we didn’t get screwed out of anything. She had a big, full, happy life full of people who loved her and she died before the worst things happened. It’s sad because she’s gone, but it’s not a tragedy. Everything went as well as we could have hoped for. We were very lucky with her, always.