Archives for posts with tag: pet death

1. Daffodils from February!
With daffodils in Winchester

2. This morning, snowflakes were falling, an all-too-infrequent occurrence here this winter. We watched out the window before sitting down on the couch to read books. Then, being the sometimes silly girl she is, she leaned off my lap to feign tumbling off. “I’m falling like a snowflake!” she said. Figurative language from such a small figure.

3. While Daddy played with her before dinner, she replayed a line from a favorite episode of World World (never mind that we haven’t watched it in months). “Snug as a bug in a what?”
“Snug as a bug in a rug. That’s what people say,” said Daddy.
“What people?”
“People like us? We are people. We are not other people. We are just us.”

4. Again, and out of the blue, as she lay in her toddler bed, about to go to sleep:
“Why did Boo Boo die?”
“Sometimes people and animals get old or sick or both, and they die.”
“What does it mean?”
“What does what mean?”
“What does it mean?” (This followed on the heels of earlier questions, like “What does it mean to beg?” and “What does it mean to be upset?”, so I had a good idea of where this was going.)
“What does it mean to die?”
It’s surprisingly difficult to manage a proper answer on the spot. “When you die, you can’t breathe or move or talk. Your heart stops beating.”
After exploring some of this herself – we are alive, our cats Pepper and Maria are alive, our hearts are beating – she followed up with, “I hope Boo Boo gets better.”
Death, according to my toddler, does not get the final word. Either that, or my explanations of death could use some work. You decide.

Last night, we were reading Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy (charming and totally worth a read!), and Tacy’s little sister Bee dies. She shut the book then, and we called it a night. To be fair, it might also be because I got teary, and she doesn’t like to see that, but how could I not? Reading to my small child, and a small child dies? *sigh* So much for emotional control.

This morning, she asked, “Why did Boo Boo die?” (The Boo Boo interest was renewed when a stray cat recently wandered through the backyard, and she said, “Maybe it’s Boo Boo!” We had to remind her that Boo Boo died, and the stray cat did not appear to be her reincarnation.)

“Sometimes, people and animals get sick, and they die,” I told her. I feel like this is slippery territory for a not-quite-three year old: she recently had a cold and has another small one. I don’t want her to think she’s about to die every time she gets a sniffle. “But usually, people are old before they die. Children don’t usually die.”

“I won’t die,” she told me, with all the certainty of a two-year-old.

“Everyone dies sometime.”

“I’ll die and you’ll die and Daddy will die,” she then acknowledged, just as breezily.

Somehow, I don’t know which set of statements was worse. We should go eat breakfast now; too much truth on an empty stomach can make you sick.

“I will hold my Boo-Boo!” she orated, standing on the bed in the semi-darkness, wispy blondish hair splaying out from her head as she shook her head from side to side. “I pat Boo-Boo!” The head shaking continued, accompanied by a serious look not unlike a teacher looking down her nose, a dare for me to interrupt her. I did not. She added more about Boo-Boo eating cat food, then added bits about her being sick, then “I pat her.” Her arms were drawn forward, towards the now-only-remembered feline.

My daughter turned down my kind offer to put her to sleep early, so we left the semi-darkness of the bedroom for the quasi-darkness of the living room, and here I sit, typing; her daddy just came home. As he opened the door, the fading light of evening framing him, she shook her head again, emphatically, and said, “I won’t pat Boo-Boo any more.”

And she’s right. She can’t. She was there, way back in December, four months ago, for Boo-Boo’s last moments. But where does this…this knowledge of the world, all this memory, come from? In my almost two-year-old?

“I won’t pat my Boo-Boo any more,” she said, minutes later.

No, my sweet girl, you won’t.