Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oliver says to me, out of the blue, as he’s brushing his teeth last night (which is how these things come, out of the blue, rather than following the question ‘how was school today?’ or ‘what did you learn about at school today?’ , which are normally followed by silence. Like he’s already 17.):

“Mummy, when I am big like Daddy, can I be in the war-d?”

“The what?”

“The war-d.  The war-d where the people are dead.”

“Oh the WAR. Oh you’ve been learning about Remembrance Day, haven’t you?”

“Yeah, Poppy Day!”

“Bud[aside: I have started calling them Bud, as in short for Buddy, and I don’t know why. I think I should stop.], I hope that you won’t go to a war. I don’t want you to go to a war. I want there to be peace.”

Commence whining, as the school aged child reverts to the preschooler, “but I WANNA go to the WAR-D”.

I still want to protect him from stuff that isn’t pleasant, you know?  Couldn’t they just be learning about the soldiers that are fighting now?  Rather than doing so much remembering?  Couldn’t they just wait a little longer to start remembering?


The cat, Piglet, is quite likely on his last legs.  I think he’s used up of many of his 9 lives.

He’s lost 1/2 his body weight in the last few weeks.  Although interested in food, he doesn’t eat it, he just sort of licks it.

Mark has spent a lot of time and money at the vet with no real outcome other than he probably has some kind of gastro-intestinal blockage.  Nothing is going in, and nothing is coming out, if you get my drift.

He said to me one day that he wasn’t sure he would be bringing him home from the vet, and he wasn’t sure what to do about telling the kids.

For this pet, I think we do nothing.  We don’t prepare them, and we don’t tell them a lot.  It would be different if it was our dog, Piper.

They have never really interacted with the cat.  He’s a loner who lives mostly in the basement or outside (well, he used to go out and hunt. Not anymore.) Only since the cat has been sick have they even pet the cat before.  (Another consequence of illness; he’s a hell of a lot friendlier than he used to be) Literally, the first time Callum stroked the cat was last week.

He’ll slip away, either naturally or assisted, sometime in the next weeks or months, and we just won’t really mention it until they notice.  Because to be honest, I am not sure they would notice for a while.

Because I don’t want to have to explain much right now.  Because they seem too young and so far (cross fingers/arms/legs/toes/etc.) untouched by grief. And I want to keep them that way as long as possible.


9 Responses to “Remembrance”

  1. Vic Says:

    Sounds like the right approach to me. No point drawing it to their attention if they don’t even notice.

  2. Lady Mama Says:

    If either of my sons tried to join the army I’d lock them in the house! Just kidding. But I think like every mother, the idea terrifies me.

  3. Sandy Kerr Says:

    How terribly sad that no connection has been made with this poor animal. Sad all the way around that they haven’t learned that what breathes needs attention and loving. They will evenutally miss ‘piglet’ and wonder where the cat is ‘living’ now. In a better place where we all hope to go……

    • EWiller Says:

      I don’t think that’s fair. They have learned those things, through interacting and building a relationship with the dog. It’s not our fault that the cat isn’t a social animal.

  4. Sandy Kerr Says:

    Piglet, from what I hear is definitely not a ‘social’ cat. I didn’t mean to sound unfair, I was just meaning that its sad for the cat, and sad for the kids, not to have been able to make a loving connection with each other. Continual ‘trys’ might have enabled this I don’t know. If all ‘trys’ met with failure, it is definitely NOT your fault, the cat just had a different preferential. AND the kids have learned a valuable lesson, try and try again, with people as well as animals.
    The situation is sad, but when Piglet leaves you, at least it won’t be a terrible emotional loss for the family.
    I know they have a connection with Piper who is a lovely loving friendly dog.

  5. Beck Says:

    Jeepers. Some cats just do NOT like cuddling and be petted. It doesn’t mean that they’re not a happy animal – they’re just solitary. It’s the way some cats are made.

    I don’t know how I’ll handle pet loss with my kids – I hope I don’t have to find out for a long time.

  6. I think we can inadvertently build things up into bigger deals than they need to be. Waiting until the cat is gone sounds right to me. My Colum has been asking a ton of questions about death lately — usually at the lunch table — and it is tough. I’m trying to remember that at least he asks me all the important questions he has and that it won’t always be that way.

  7. Tami Says:

    I agree to let Piglet’s death go by unnoticed by the boys but if he’s suffering, you should probably have the vet put him down. I would imagine that an intestinal blockage would be incredibly painful.

    • EWiller Says:

      That was just a guess from the vet. They don’t know.

      You know, after the party yesterday, he chowed down on the remains of one of the chicken drumsticks. And he’s not acting like he’s in pain, he’s just skinny as hell and losing hair and lost his voice (I know you remember the noise he used to make) and won’t go outside.

      So we watch and wait and decide.

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