Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Death Talk

Recently, we have had to have "The Death Talk" with The Big Girls twice.
The first time, it was in regards to a person, my aunt.  She didn't actually die, but she will, and probably soon.  I don't say that flippantly.  I love her, dearly.  She is a little kooky and crazy, but its all good, and she is probably the person in my extended family that I have spent the most time without, except for possibly one cousin to whom I am pretty close.  I've grown up around her, since she and my mom have worked together for my mom's business since I was very little.  I have traveled with her.  When I think of the beach, I instantly think of her.  I really do love her, and she is dying.  Slowly.  She has two artificial valves in her heart, and has since she was 17.  Her heart is totally failing now.  There isn't much anyone can do.  I knew she was getting worse, then, a couple of weeks ago, my Mom called to tell me that she may not make it through the next day.  They were at a very serious point where a procedure could be done to give her time, but it may also cost her life.  My Sister and I decided to go up immediately, but before I could leave, I had to tell The Girls why I was going. The Big One also loves this aunt.  She really does.  She looks forward to seeing her every time we go home.  The craziest thing of all is that this aunt taught The Big One how to whistle, and they are the only two people I have ever met that sound exactly like a bird when they whistle, and can only whistle like that.  Its makes for painful car trips, at times, but it is one of those endearing things in life that you both love and hate.  So, I had to sit her down and tell her that it was very likely this wonderful woman may not be with us any more, and prepare them for what seemed like the inevitable.  We were very lucky, though.  The Drs told us she would never go home, but they were wrong.  We got a little more time with her.  It won't be forever, but we will be thankful for what we get.
Talking to the girls was a difficult moment.
It was preparation, for what may be, and what will be.  It was preparation for today.
On the way back from a long work filled week with my family, My Husband called with bad news.  One of our guinea pigs, Pinky, died suddenly.  We have no idea why.  She seemed fine when he checked on them last night before he left for work  When he went in to check on them this after noon, she was dead.  The other one was trying to nudge her with her nose.  He didn't know what to do.  We talked as discreetly as we could with me in the car.  He took her out of the cage, and placed her in a shoe box until we could talk to The Girls and go from there.
For some reason, from the moment we got home, all The Big One wanted to do was play with Pinky.  Perhaps it was because The Girls were able to play with sugar gliders during the show, and it made them miss their pets, but rarely is she so intent on playing with them the moment she walks in the door.  We put her off.  A lot.  We had things to do.  We had a truck to unload.  At one point, she looked at My Husband and ask why he twitched every time she said Pinky.  Finally, we couldn't put off the inevitable.  We had to tell them.  IT was terrible.  The Big One broke down instantly, the moment she realized what we were trying to tell them.  We couldn't even finish before she was a bawling heap on My Husband's lap.  The Middle One was sad, but slower to process.  It will take her a while.  She will pop up and say something profoundly sad, then go back to being quiet.  It is her process.
We ask The Girls if they wanted us to take care of Pinky.  The Big One wanted to be a part of the burial.  The Middle One did not, which is totally fine. The Big One ask for flowers to put on her grave, and tomorrow, I will get all the things we need, and we will bury our little pet, their first pet.
This is a hard lesson.  We talked at length about pets and death at dinner.  Pinky was young and died suddenly.  We just don't know why.  That can happen again if we get another pet, and they need to know that.  They need to understand that no life is permanent.  We will always remember and love Pinky, though. They know that.  They will be sad for a while, and that is ok. They will cry more.  We all will some.  That's ok, too.
Some lessons are hard and I hate to see my children learn them.  I wish I could protect them from this, but that just isn't reality.  Death is just a part of life, no matter how much we wish it wasn't.  Though I sincerely hope that we can put off learning more from this lesson for as long as possible.