I just heard Lily tell Jake “I wish dogs would never die.” Our sweet beloved Katie is struggling again. Lily continued “Maybe its better if a dog stays alive until the last person in the family passes away, that way the dog doesn’t have to be alone.” Jake is completely still. He walks over, gets on the floor next to Katie, then kisses her on the nose.
How do you prepare your kids for their first experience with death? Their “forever young” hearts swell with invincibility.
The dark damper of death is a unwelcome cloud in a kid’s bright blue horizon. Jake and Lily have seen that dark cloud. They’ve seen it on my face. It is usually when the conversation moves to the topic of their grandmother. The woman they never had the grace to meet.
I was twenty-five when I suddenly lost my mother. I found that tragic loss can hit you in two ways. Either you resist or you yield. I’ve witnessed people become bitter or deeply resentful. I’ve watched others become compassionate, wise and remarkably loving.
Jake pulls Katie closer. Lily retrieves the flipcamera.
I fought for a decade after losing my mother. I finally gave in and yielded. I found yielding resulted in a inner acceptance to what is. You become more open to life.
Katie licks Jake on the nose. He kisses her again and she lifts her paw on to his right hand. She seems resigned to the eventual outcome and so does Jake. He is far more empathetic at twelve than I was at forty. At this moment I look down and realize that if the shutters are closed, the sunlight cannot come in. Jake instinctively knows that without saying a word. I’m not ready to let Katie go.
Who is wise one now?