Every once in a while, out of the blue, Big Kid will break out with, "I really dest miss Heidi Weeze." Today he came up with it again out of nowhere and said he wished she could teach Murphy to bite at and chase the water coming out of the hose, like she used to love doing.
Ugh. It just takes my breath away every time he says it, because it's been a little over three months since she died and I still miss her Every.Single.Day. Overwhelmingly so, every single day.
He also says strange things about death and dying and I feel partly responsible. In having an elderly dog, I had thought about the talks I'd have to have with him when and if we ever had to put her down. I pictured it as a calm, sad, informative, beforehand discussion.
Since she died accidentally, it didn't quite go as planned. Because being on my knees sobbing, "No no no no no no God, no please not like this, no please not right now, oh God no, no no no no" and dry heaving was definitely not part of the plan.
I didn't mean for him to witness such raw grief. He shouldn't have been standing there stunned, and scared, and offering me hugs and drawing me hearts. The parent doesn't freak out, the parent stays in control. The parent presents the first lesson with death as a teacher, not a raving, retching, suddenly religious maniac. Damn, damn, damn.
It's just that I'd been her parent twice as long. For that devastating few minutes of not knowing for sure, parenting him took a backseat because I was more worried about her short term situation than his long term one.
Of course we've discussed it afterwards. Calmly and sadly and grieving in a respectable manner. But he recently asked if people in our family can die, and I could tell it was something he's been worrying about. He was very thoughtful after our recent viewing of Charlotte's Web and has started several conversations with, "Did you know spiders sometimes die?" and we end up talking about it some more. I once said, "I'm dying" about something that hurt (imagine that) and the alarm on his face made me quickly explain myself. I know dying is sad no matter what, but I feel that the manner in which it was presented really drove the point home with Big Kid.
It's sweet, but also really sad, to know that he misses her like I do, that the whole family is still thinking about her and noticing her absence daily.
It's also a reminder of how hard this whole parenting thing is, and how things never go as planned, and how you don't get do overs. It's hard to be a parent instead of just a person sometimes.