If the words are not uttered, it does not exist. If you do not name it, it has no place here. If you ignore it, it will go away. I may have inherited this philosophy from my father. Even at the end, he didn’t talk about his cancer. We didn’t say the “C” word around him.
Just like right now – if I don’t say the cat is failing, he’ll be fine. He just needs medication every few hours, and intravenous fluids every day, and help up on the couch and a lift to the cat box. He doesn’t take three steps and rest. He doesn’t sleep so soundly that he doesn’t even flick an ear when you talk to him. He doesn’t look at us with loving and very, very tired eyes.
Losing a pet, however it happens, is not easy. I suppose some people look at it as something very minor. After all, there are so many more serious problems we could have. I have a friend who courageously went through her fifth round of chemo yesterday, and with people losing friends and fathers and co-workers lately, a cat is small potatoes in comparison. But he’s here, in my house, and has been a part of the family for almost 10 years. He’s the gentle, sweet one of the bunch. He hasn’t gotten to live his full life. So no, it’s not minor to us.
It’s hard to realize that he won’t get another spring afternoon on the front porch. It’s especially hard for the girls, as they have not had to say goodbye to as many pets as we grownups have. It really doesn’t get any easier, but I guess we are better able to see beyond the immediate sorrow. Adults have to be practical and sensible, and take care of whatever happens. A child can mourn with more abandon.
I feel worst for my youngest. She has lost a pet before, but this one is her special favorite. Until just lately they ate breakfast together every morning before school, and he would make his way up the stairs to cuddle with her when she went to bed, most times only leaving after she was asleep. Watching her be so kind and gentle with him now, returning all he has given her, breaks my heart.
I wish that if you didn’t say it, it wasn’t true.