Bad Mama

April 10, 2007, 10:19 am
Filed under: Boo boo, Peanut

Peanut’s surgery is scheduled for Monday, May 7.  The last we heard, she’ll be in a body cast for four weeks, possibly longer. I was really hoping to have a family vacation on Memorial Day weekend, but alas, it is not to be.


I need some advice. How do I explain the cat dying to her? I started out telling her that Bridget was old and very sick, and that eventually she was going to die. All she seems to understand about dying is that a dead person isn’t around anymore. Then her grandpa got sick, but he isn’t going to die. Then Big Daddy started telling her that I was sick when I needed to stay in bed because of nausea or fatigue. So now we’re trying to back away from the “sick” word. The other issue is that we really haven’t taught her much about “heaven”  or anything like that. Part of that is, I think, due to our own (my) ambivilence about what we (I) believe, so it’s been hard to sit down and explain it to her. I guess we need to start thinking about that a little more.  I was kind of looking forward to having things explained to her at the Jewish preschool she’ll be attending in the fall.  We may not be Jewish, but I figure it’s a start, and they’re not going to say anything I really disagree with.  So does anyone have any ideas or experience they could share? I was really hoping to have a couple of extra years before it became an issue. I guess I was spoiled by my first cats living 19 and 21 years each.

3 Comments so far
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Yeah, we’ve had to reframe our words too. Especially when we first said Pop (grandpa) was sick. Then we were worried because Gage and Quinn are often referred to as “sick” so we were afraid they would start thinking they would dye. We’ve lost two dogs in the last 4 years that they remember so that is a talking point too.

We use the word “old” a lot when we talk about death. As in “Pop was really old, and he had a good long life…” when Gage said something about me dying I said, I am going to be here with you a very long time, because, afterall I am not as old as Pop. All I could come up with at the moment.

We talk about heaven. But mostly we try to turn it around so they we focus on us being able to remember Pop (or Addy or Cleo) and all of the good things about them. I always say that I believe that they are in heaven and that they are with us in our memories.

Good luck on the surgery…thinking of you all.

Comment by Julia

We had to deal with death twice back in December – both relatives though, no pets, so a bit more serious. Previously, I had found a fantastic book that handled death in a non-religious way that I bought for this exact purpose.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia – you should be able to find it in any library or bookstore.

Abby and I talked alot about death, and I was quite frank with her. I did not lie and tell about fluffy clouds of heaven nor did I try to scare her with details. She knows that they are no longer here with us on earth, but they will always be in our hearts and our minds. If we miss someone, we can just think about them in a good way, or tell someone else a story about that person, and it will make it feel better. Abby now has a good, grounded grasp of what death is. She is not afraid of it, nor is she ignorant of what it really is.

Comment by Jen

RE death: Mine’s younger than yours and it hasn’t come up yet, so I have no advice, just sympathy.

And I hope the surgery goes alright — I’m sorry about your family vacation.

Comment by elizasmom

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