Psst. Come here. A little closer. I have some breaking news. My nine-year old daughter’s pet fiddler crab died today. The reason I’m keeping it a secret is because she hasn’t noticed yet and I’m not really sure I’m going to tell her. She’s had a pretty crummy day. She got a bad grade on a science test, had to have a cavity filled and then Crawly’s (aforementioned fiddler crab) untimely death. With it being All Saints’ Day I want to delve into this subject a little deeper.
I realized as I was relaying the events of the little crabs death to Kit today what my real fear is about having pets in this house. You know it’s not so much the feeding, cleaning and upkeep but it is the inevitable death and subsequent grief counseling to follow. I know I should be more cavalier about this whole thing. Come right out and tell my daughter the truth but I don’t want to deal with the sadness. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. Maybe she’ll be stronger, the Novocaine a distant memory and I’ll be a “good listener” the mom that can pull you through the tough times. But will I continue to put it off. Is that fair?
I knew as soon as I saw Crawly upside down in the sand it was bad. As I disposed of the carcass I started thinking of ways to break it to Grace. Well actually to lie to Grace…”I thought we should send Crawly to Florida to be with Nanny and Pop Pop at the beach” or “He must have just crawled right out of here and found a new home for the winter. Crabs who knew they were so fickle?” I know in the end I’ll have to fess up. To deal with the loss. Kit told me about losing her pet hamster Honeybee. She said her mom was waiting for her on the front stoop. Kit said she knew something was up. And I too remember when our dog Pepsi died. It was a sad fall day and we buried him in a box under our paddle boat. It didn’t freak me out. Whenever I looked at the boat I thought of Pepsi.
Loss is hard, but it is part of life. Eventually we all have to deal with losses great and small. Maybe these little hard lessons are preparation for the bigger hard lessons. When it’s handled with compassion and dignity it helps the other person heal. Wish me luck. I’ve decided now is the time to let Grace know. I’m sure it won’t be easy– no one likes to deliver bad news. However, I love Grace and she deserves to hear it from me and for me to be there ready to hug and help.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Crawly. November 1, 2012