Men and women of Troy, if ever you rejoiced when Hector returned from battle, come now and gaze on him, who brought joy beyond compare to the city and its people.

I went to the vet clinic to pick up the ashes of Mr Fusspot yesterday, a week after he died. It didn’t go so well. I was waiting behind a guy who was buying dog food, and who (just my luck) recognized me from dog park. “Hey!” he said jovially. “How’s the little guy?”

I said I was there to pick him up. Behind him I could see Patti behind the desk miming frantically DO NOT GO THERE to the guy, but he was oblivious. “Oh, no!” he said. “Is he not doing well?” Apparently my stricken expression was still not enough to tip him off. I choked out that I was there to pick up what remained of his corporeal body (yes I actually said that, god knows why) and started to cry. Dude apologized all over the place but I was past responding. Finally he left, still apologizing, and I paid my last bill and was presented with Mr Fusspot, now tidily contained in a pretty little cedar box. I tottered home through the park desperately hoping I wouldn’t encounter any other neighbours, but made it home safely. I had another cry when I got home, and went to bed early.

But I slept well for the first time in a week, knowing that Fusspot was back where he belonged. And I was able to get up this morning and get some stuff done, stuff I have been staring at dully for a week now, so let’s hope this is a sign that I am coming out of my grief-induced coma and can keep on keeping on.