Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

First Taste of Death

It was a sad day at the ol’ Goodman household yesterday. It started out like any other day. We went to work, came home, helped with homework, etc. After dinner, my son decided to go upstairs to play. Within minutes, we hear a near panicked voice followed by running feet. He poked his head over the banister and the look on his face alone was enough to rend my heart.

“Mom, Dad…something’s wrong with poochy. I went to take him out of his cage to play with him, but he’s not moving.”
“Uh, oh…” I shot a nervous glance at the Mrs. “Let me see him.”
“But I gave him food and water. I took care of him…”
“I know you did son,” I said walking to the stairs.
His eyes were wide, his lips twitched and I could see his shirt moving up and down from the force of his breathing (which was coming quite rapidly).
“Hand him to me.” I extended my hands and waited for poochy to be lowered to me.
I knew the second his cold skin touched mine, that the pet was gone. He was still quite pliable, so he hadn’t been dead long.
“Help him, daddy,” my son pleaded.
“He’s dead, son. There’s nothing I can do for him.”
“But I love him!” He shook his head as if by denying it, he could change my answer.
It was then that grief consumed him. He wailed as big alligator tears rolled down his cheeks.

“I know you did, son, but these things happen. Everything that lives…eventually dies.”
“He can’t be dead,” he sobbed. “I saw him move.”
“No…you didn’t, son. Now is not the time to let your imagination get the best of you.”
“He was my best friend,” he said, his words barely decipherable through the sobbing.
“Now, don’t you think you’re being just a little dramatic?”
“No, I loved him and he loved me. I played with him everyday.”
“We all loved him, buddy.” I pulled him close and let him bury his face in my shirt.
“I’ll tell you what,” I began, pulling him back so I could look into his eyes. “I’ll go grab a shovel and we can give him a proper burial. Maybe, you could even say a few nice words for him.”
He just nodded and followed me as I made the preparations.
“Do you want to hold him one last time while I dig the hole?”
Again the nod. His wailing had neither stopped nor even slowed since the discovery.
I placed him in the hole and turned to my son.
“Good bye, poochy. I’m gonna miss you.” That was all he could manage.
“That was nice, son.” I gave him another hug before filling in the hole.
“Dad,” he looked at me hesitantly. “You know that thing we go to see at your Papa’s?”
“The headstone?”
“Yeah,” he nodded. “Can we get one of them for poochy?”
“No, I think it is best we use our minds to remember poochy.”

As we went back into the house, I was at a loss of what to say to make him feel better so I just gave him another hug.
“Dad, did you say that everything dies?”
“Yes, it is the way of the world.”
“Even you and mom?”
“Yes, someday we will die too, but hopefully not for a really long time,” I replied, wondering if I were doing more harm than good here.
“I don’t want you guys to die,” he managed between choked sobs.
“I don’t to die either, but eventually it will happen.” I could see this conversation going horribly awry. “You know what? Let’s not talk about my death right now. You take some time to mourn for poochy and we can talk about life and death when you’re not so upset.”

He was nearly inconsolable for the rest of the evening. It was one the most heartbreaking things I have seen in a long…long time. The loss of a pet is a big deal for anybody let alone a kid.


At 12:32 PM, Anonymous robin said...

Oh, James. I'm so sorry.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Thanks, Robin. I don't know if I am more sad because of the loss of the pet or my seeming inability to understand how to deal with it to my son.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Breazy said...

Awwwwww I am so sorry to hear that Goody. It is always hard when a pet is lost especially for children because they don't understand death. You handled that situation good and it reminds me of the way my husband was with the kids when their kitty cat died a couple of years ago . I will keep your son in my thoughts ! :)

At 3:21 PM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Thanks, Breazy. He asked if we could go to the pet store this weekend. So, I am betting that he will get over it better than I had earlier anticipated.

At 4:25 AM, Blogger lime said...

awwww, poor lil guy. that's a rough one. and the deep thinking kids that equate it to mom and dad have an even harder time. lots of hugs for the little fellow.

At 5:22 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Thanks, Lime. I wasn't ready for him to make that connection either.

At 5:55 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

Oh, no! That little guy was sooooo cute with his "big ass" *wink, wink* You know what I'm talking about.

At 6:36 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Hey, welcome back!

At 7:35 AM, Blogger snavy said...

Poor kid! It is so sad when pets die - and so hard to expalin! You did a great job! Hugs!

At 7:45 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Thanks, Snavy. I just feel like there was something more I should have said or did, but I can't seem to put a finger on it.


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