Sunday, April 19, 2015

Losing a Pet

Over on Bernal today, working with my ex-wife on those frustrating financial aid forms for the boys in Missoula, we were interrupted by 16-year-old Julia, who came out of her room crying. It turned out that one of her two pet rats was suddenly dead and she was feeling freaked out. I think his name was August.

Julia loves animals. She has two cats and (now) one rat. I think his name is Ally. She walks dogs at the SPCA on weekends. She cares for neighbors' pets -- dogs, cats, and rabbits.

While we dealt with the cold body, she put on her sunglasses and took off on a walk. A walk can be a good thing after a loss. You can feel the sun and the wind on your face, hear the birds, see the leaves move, perhaps a hawk fly, and appreciate anew the meaning of life -- and death. At least you sense that you are thankfully still alive.

When she got back home she saw us in the backyard, with a shovel and a fresh patch of dirt. There was some seaglass, and a big stone that she can paint.

It is so hard for a child to lose a pet. It may be even more difficult for an adult to lose a pet. It is so hard for all of us to lose each other.

I am hoping she is feeling some comfort that her parents dealt with the remains of her loss while she was away. I also hopes she takes advantage of my offer to pay for dinner tonight -- a dinner of her choice that she can order from a service out here -- with her mother.

You know that with your kids you are always working on borrowed time, because you will only be around for so long to help them along. So at moments like today you just hope for the best.