Parenting is full of many hilarious, surreal moments as we watch our offspring figure life out. First words. First steps. First pee pees in the potty. First block towers. First time to write “Mom” or “Dad”. First goals. First cartwheels. First firsts. I love firsts. Well, most of them. Like it or not, there’s a first that we can’t avoid forever. It’s a 100% gonna happen throughout their lives. First experiences with death.
The kids were 6, 5 & 4. We were living with my dad & stepmom while our house was for sale. For months the kids adored and played with their little dog, Duke. Then, one normal day, he died. Unexpectedly. I had a lot of questions to answer and tears to wipe. I realized, I needed to stop telling the kids that graveyards were just pretty gardens and then changing the subject. I started looking for teachable moments here and there over the next many years to explain death.
So do tadpoles that you rename sadpoles as they slowly lose their wiggles.
I’m the first to admit I have to hide some giggles as we bury butterflies or tadpoles. I can’t help but replay that Cosby Show when they flush Rudy’s fish down the toilet. But, I’m thankful we’ve had some “practice” talking about the death of critters first and not people when I’m a babbling mess of tears. That will come too. And, as much as I felt like Critter Funerals were for them, I also realized they were for me too. I’ve worked out my message about death wrapped in our personal beliefs.
I don’t have a fancy list of do’s and don’ts. I don’t have book recommendations. I don’t know exactly what to say. We all know our own kids best and what’s appropriate for them. But, I do think it’s something to think about before you have to.
Now I just need to get over my guilt of putting the sad poles near the kitchen sink, where I suspect they may have gotten soap in their water. Oops.
Love & hugs & back to lighter topics, Shelisa