Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Real-World Lesson on the Cycle of Life

If you spend much time exploring nature with your kids, you’ve undoubtedly touched on the subject no one really walks to talk about: death.

Maybe you saw a dead bug or a dead bird. Heck, maybe your own child stepped on a few ants or squashed a spider. Chances are good your kids have at least heard about or discovered this thing called death during their outdoor explorations.

But what happens when the experience hits a little closer to home? Do you ever wonder how your kids would react to say, losing a pet?

I did. And a couple of weeks ago, I found out.


One of the two furry feline members of our family – the 18-year-old one – passed away. The experience couldn’t have been more beautiful.

Weird, I know. But beautiful is the only word I can think of to describe the process of watching a life slowly fade away, without pain (at least none he expressed or we could see) or struggle.

Over the course of roughly three days, we watched our usually sprite and talkative (okay, complaining) kitty grow weak and faint. After the first day, I could sense we didn’t have much longer together. So I told the kids he would be leaving soon.

Not going away or to some other place where we couldn't see him anymore. But dying. That his time on our planet was coming to an end. And that it was time for us to say goodbye.

We spent a lot of time sitting together, petting our cat, talking with him of days gone by, reassuring him that we loved him and wanted him to rest. We cried together, too.

He passed away in the early hours on a Saturday morning. When I woke to find him lying peacefully on our couch, I was still stunned at the loss. The kids took it all in stride. And not because they didn’t love him. Or wouldn’t miss him. Quite the opposite.

Each still wanted to say one final goodbye. They did so without looks of disgust or horror at his lifeless body. They treated him with love and respect.

There is a lesson to be learned in all of this. Kids can handle a lot more than we might think. Just give them a chance to try.

10 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your kitty. Mine is 15 and he's doing ok, but I can tell he's an old cat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Justin. Best to you & your wonderful 15-year-old. Enjoy!

      Delete
  2. What a beautiful way to send Lee-Marvin to peace! Great way to teach this lesson to our children!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry to hear about your loss. Thank you for sharing the story though. It is amazing the perspective kids take on these things...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dawn. I think many parents are afraid to be honest with their kids about scary things such as death. I've found my kids to be quite well-equipped, though.

      Delete
  4. Sory to hear about your pet. So hard to lose a member of the family. Did you ever read Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant to your kids? It is a bittersweet depiction of what cat heaven might be like. Even if your beliefs are different, it might open up a discussion about what you think you think the afterlife might be like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the recommendation, Danielle. I'm going to go check it out!

      Delete
  5. So sorry, but it sounds like it was a good way to go. It's so hard to say goodbye to a family member. Sounds like you all handled beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mel. It was the best possibly experience I could have hoped for.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...