There are so many things that are awesome about parenting. There are all the firsts: first smiles, first word, first successful day of potty training, first day of school, etc. There is the indescribable: the joy; the wonderment of little ones; little giggles and little voices; and the enormous place each child fills in our hearts. Then there are the things that are the big suck: sleepless nights, sickness, growing pains, and explaining and growing through the loss of loved ones, including pets.
Our children lost their beloved pet this week. Our oldest felt the loss of her pet the hardest. Blue Nova is gone.
What you feel at 10 is different than age seven and age three, when it comes to loss. The small answers and explanations you can give little ones does not necessarily suffice here. There is a greater sense of fair and unfair. There are greater questions about why something occurred and what happens after death. There seems to be greater sorrow.
It will forever be with me, watching our oldest run off like a crying, wounded animal when she was told. It is painfully etched in mind, hearing her and seeing her cry over her pet. Her sobs and tears are my greater sorrow.
This is new territory for my husband and I. This was the first real loss that the children have experienced firsthand. This precious pet was a pet the children had seen, loved, and cared for regularly, every single day. This was a sharp introduction to death and the fragility of life. It was another first, but not the welcomed kind. It was up to us to guide them through it.
My mama instincts and the experts say you have to let them grieve and feel their feelings. You can’t diminish feelings about a pet loss as less than losing a human loved one. This is very raw and real!
We had a ceremony to say good-bye to our pet. Our oldest spent time alone with her, hopefully giving her some increased closure. Now it is letting time heal her wounds. It is letting her grieve and helping her return back to joy….