There is a pain FAR greater than any pain I have ever known. It has nothing to do with personal illness or injury. It is not the type of pain associated with natural childbirth or my own broken heart. It is inexplicable… but the type of pain that is causing me the most distress is not first hand pain. One would think that being once removed from the grief would soften it…a barrier of space would lessen the impact. That would usually be true I think – unless you are a parent and the pain is that of your child.
There is nothing that can take my mind off of my own troubles like focusing on the playfulness and whimsy of my children. They are inquisitive and entertaining. They tell silly stories and sing and laugh. But not always. Sometimes things happen that stop the joy…and without joy the silence is deafening. The cries, especially soundless, deep-felt sobs are piercing…a stab to the heart. There is nothing worse – NOTHING NOTHING worse than when a child is distraught. And that is ten-fold when the child is your own.
Some things can be made better with a hug…or an, “I’m so sorry.” Some things can not be made better… and those are the things that are gut-wrenching.
People, I have been SOOO sheltered. Have I had my own “trauma” in life? Sure…but some how I was much more equipped to deal with protecting my heart from my own hurt. Did I miss elementary school for several days when my dog Nicholas was run over by my sister’s friend? Yes. I was terribly distraught. I blamed the boy…I blamed myself for not having Nicholas on a leash…Nicholas was too young to die! He had barely just lived…but I was young too and the pain went away eventually.
Was I upset when my 20-year-old cat Norman died? You bet. That cat was amazing. He had been a part of my family since I was in the second grade and he was still living when my first child was born! He was a twenty pound tabby that was a fixture at my parent’s home…until he wasn’t. But he had lived a great and long life. And I was busy with my new baby…I was sad at the death of Norman…just as I was terribly sad at the death of my dog Tater. But again, Tater had lived a wonderful and long life and although he had been my dog since Junior High, he stayed with my parents while I was away at college and when I got married and started having my own children. Tater lived about 15 years and again, it was my mother, not me, that was present when it was time for this pet’s life to end.
I had “Bill” the cat who got out and just did not come back. I had “Petie” and “Barclay” who were 14-year-old labs who lived together and died together. I had “Cindy” the cat who was so old that I feel certain that she did what all animals who have the choice did…she went away to die on her own terms. I loved these pets. I took care of these pets. They were mine and I was their’s. They enriched my childhood and early adulthood like nothing other than my own children could possibly do.
But while the death of those pets hurt, the hurt of my child at the death of her favorite pet…her baby…the absolute best cat I have EVER known…has broken my heart. She is distraught…much as I was when I lost my dog Nicholas. She is “sick” today…tried to go to school but felt too “sick”. I asked her if she wanted to do anything special and she just wants to stay in her room today. Thank GOD (really) that we have other pets in our house or I don’t think either one of us could bear this loss.
We will get over it. But this has been a mind-opening experience. Being a mother/parent multiplies your joy…but also multiplies your grief. Please say a prayer of comfort today for my daughter…and for all people with sadness and heart-ache and grief. The loss of a pet for a child is tragic. There are so many horrific tragedies in the world that are unimaginable for many of us that live sheltered lives. Thank goodness my children have been sheltered and have not known very much heart-ache. This is the first incident in “the circle of life”… but knowing that death is just part of it…and that we were so lucky to have known and had “Louie” while we did…does not soften the blow.
Louie was a fur ball of complete love. He was as docile as a stuffed animal and as friendly as the Host at your favorite family restaurant. He was the “Mama” to the other cats…showing the new kittens the ropes…always having patience and affection. He was the perfect purring bed partner…his soft paws would rest on my daughters sleeping smiling face and his beautiful head would be tucked happily against her shoulder. He was huggable and kissable and holdable. He was perfect. Thank you, Louie for being ours for a little while. You brought us GREAT joy and laughs and love. We will miss you terribly. We look forward to seeing you again one day.
Let’s please say a prayer for everyone today that needs comfort…Thanks.