Life and death; simplified

So, I asked him, how’s it going at school, and how are you doing about Brownie?

“I’m fine. I’m done. I was really sad all morning, but then we went to guidance and we wrote our favorite memories about Brownie. And in the afternoon, I wasn’t sad anymore. But the girls… they just keep crying about it.”

Later that night, at bedtime I was too tired to read them stories, so I collapsed on the couch with my 9 year old. My little ones were building train tracks. They switched off the lights to watch the trains circle the tracks with their lights on.

As we sat in the dark, I told my 9-year old that I actually had a nightmare about Brownie and it still bothers me. He said, it’s just awful that Brownie died right in front of you. He wondered if Brownie could have been saved. How disappointed he was that he didn’t get a full weekend with Brownie. How would he feel if Brownie died before our weekend?

Soon the little ones came and joined us, the trains still running. More Brownie talk. Is she still here? Why can’t I touch her?

Silently, while they chatted, I thought about this corner of my living room where Brownie left us, and how I think about her death every time I walk by. Brownie and her cage are no longer here, but she left something behind here. Do I dread it or feel honored? I felt privileged to be at my Mom’s death. Is Brownie’s death no less of a privilege?

Thank you Brownie. You’ve made it much easier for these little guys to ponder and grapple with the tough questions of life and death.

8 comments to “Life and death; simplified”
  1. You know, I often think of the nurses I work with. I discuss their jobs with them regularly. I often ask inquisitively about the patients in the ICU just to get a glimpse in to what these nurses go through in their daily jobs. I asked one one time why in the world they chose this critical care part of nursing. She told me she likes helping people in to that “next” phase of being…in to death. She said she finds comfort knowing that she is helping them make that “transition” as she called it, not only with the patients, but with the families. She felt honored and privledged to be a part of that with these patients.

    So, yes, a privledge…any lviing thing needs someone, something there to help them with that tranisition. And, I’m sure Brownie was comforted, just knowing it was your family (and especially YOU, Susie.) that she was with.

  2. You guys have been on my mind. We’re struggling with similar issues here today. One of our cats was hit by a car. We found him on the way home from piano class. Dave is digging the hole to bury him right now.

    Every life is significant. Some carry more weight with us than others because of our attachments, but they are all certainly significant. I think you’re right – I think that being there with Brownie was a privilege.

    It sounds as if your boys are beginning to heal. I’m glad for that.

  3. Death is looming in my family as you probably know from reading my site. My dad is a fighter, however he has come to terms, I believe, with letting go. I wouldn’t even be able to speak these words right now.

    Our beloved friend Mook (our dog) is also knocking at the door. I have been so lucky up till now with not losing someone soooo close.

    Hope your little one has gained some understanding of it all, although I don’t really believe one can ever do that.

  4. Susie, I am so sorry to read about Brownie. I haven’t been by in a few days and just found out.

    We lost a pet bunny (Sadie Sable) a couple of years ago in a very similar manner. I suppose it’s a common way for bunnies to leave us. It devastated my oldest but some comfort was found in our memories of her.

    In the end, it was just a sad time that took a while to get better. I hope it won’t be to long before your boys find some comfort in their memories of Brownie too.

  5. When I think about it, I think it is a privilege. Death may be a scary and harsh lesson in life we all need to learn about but really, some don’t learn about it till it’s too late.
    This I thik will be a memory forever etched in the hearts of your boys.

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