This morning, my daughter was following me through the house as I stumbled around in a half-asleep stupor.
“I’m having peanut butter for lunch!” Brush teeth. “Uh huh.”
“Today I think I want to wear my pink shoes.” Wash face. “Uh huh.”
“I had a dream about Spongebob last night.” Pull on socks. “Uh huh.”
“I haven’t seen Callie for a long time.” Brush hair. “Uh huh.” Then a screeching put on the brakes noise in my head.
I sat down on the side of the tub next to my daughter, and simply told her the truth. “I haven’t seen her either. I think she ran away.”
“You mean down the street?”
“Maybe. I don’t know where she is, though. I look for her every day. I’m hoping she found a family to live with.”
“Do you think she went into the forest?” (that is what she calls the little park at the bottom of our hill).
“Maybe. Maybe she went off to be Queen of All the Wild Things in the forest.”
“So now we have one dog, and one cat.”
“If Apollo dies, then we’ll have no cats.”
“That’s right. He’s be up with Emmett and Mulan, keeping them company.”
My daughter furrowed her brow. “He wouldn’t be with them. He would be in CAT heaven.”
“What’s cat heaven like, do you think?”
“Well, there’s lots of cats, and lots of windows, and lots of cat toys.” She nodded confidently. “And no dogs.”
She’s fine. A perceptive and resilient little kid. Must get that from her dad. :/
i’m very relieved for you. but i’m not surprised– she comes from good stock. 🙂
She gets that from you too, I’m sorry that you had to have the talk but relieved that she is ok. I hope you are doing ok too, it’s a hard way to start the morning.
When my son was 3 or 4, we couldn’t find Bizibah, one of our geese. He had named this goose and wanted to go find him. Hmmm. I thought it was about a zero chance of finding anything, so we started walking around in the pasture. As we rounded the corner of the barn, there Bizibah was. Thank goodness it just looked like he was sleeping, but… he was lifeless. Up in goose heaven.
I froze. The weight of explaining life-death-everything else rolling around in my head. My son just said “Mom we found him. He’s dead.”
I didn’t know what to say – about Bizibah or my son. I think at that age, it was good for him to have a simple answer. He is now 11 and extremely attached to our 17 year old cat (and vice versa!). That will be a much tougher goodbye.
Dr. V says
You should have seen them with the dead guinea pig. I was sitting there crying, and my son was carrying it around like a football yelling “ARIEL DIED! LOOK ARIEL DIED!” without a care in the world.
Maybe it’s a boy thing? 😉
I remember your g pig post. I immediately related to what you wrote:
“Promise me no more animals for a bit,” my husband said upon looking at my dejected face, and I had choice but to nod.
My hubby has said the same thing and I have done the nodding thing. (thankfully this never lasts long heehee)
Oh my – sorry – took a trip down memory lane there. I also wanted to say that I am happy you and your daughter could have this talk. She does get her perceptive and resilient traits from you too – I can see it in your blog over and over!
Romeo the Cat says
That must be a load off your mind! She sounds like a precious (and smart!) kid.
I have been thinking about what you should tell her since you first about this. I’m so glad you were able to have this talk because I changed my mind from hour to hour about what you should do! I just had a feeling she would bring it up when she was ready. Whew!
I love that she was so adamant about all the great things in cat heaven, including no dogs.
For some reason, the “Queen of All Wild Things” thing made me cry. Surely that is cat heaven, where every cat gets to be the rightful master of their domain that they aspire to in their earthly lives. What a wonderful thought–much more comforting than stupid Kevin.
You’re such a good mommy.
Jeannette Shaw says
What a special little girl,When Jerry our cat died my grandson’s 4&5,said that Jerry was now a 4 legged little angel.
Kids are usually pretty good with this stuff. They’ll grieve in their own ways, but they seem able to move on a lot easier than we can. I remember losing my first cat, I was maybe 5. I cried for a couple days, and then I moved on. Now, I still get choked up when I think about the fur friends I’ve lost in the last 10 years.