Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Saying goodbye...again...

So, during my campaign for votes, what have you missed? 

Well, for starters, last Monday we finally had to say goodbye to our 15 year old "puppy."  I have had him since his birth - his Momma was too young to understand her "role" and I helped her deliver her 9 puppies!

Chubby was the chubbiest of the litter.  When it was decided that I would keep him (not by choice...I just kept sort of saying, nope he's not ready to leave yet.  And then there was one!)   I tried to rename him a more robust name like Zimba, but "Chubby" stuck!  I always referred to him as my Snuffa-lofagus, snuggily lap dog (at 60 pounds).  True to his name, Chubby was always getting in trouble for being overweight. 

We said good-bye to Chubby's father, Hunter in November of 2007.  And then to my father a month later, in December 2007.  The twins had only been home since July of that year.

January of this year, Chubby started showing increased signs of "deterioration."   During the last three years, I have felt tremendous guilt because my lap dog quickly went to neglected dog in no time after the twin tornadoes arrived.  It, I'm sure, was not quite the golden years that he deserved.

Last Monday morning, we awoke to to find Chubby suffering from a stroke of sorts.  As wrong as it sounds, his stroke was an answer to prayer - I had begged for a clear "sign" to show me that I needed to do what needed to be done.

I coull not tell Austin and Logan.  They have been so "aware" of death and heaven and grief.  I just couldn't have them say "good-bye" to Chubby.  Had it not been for my brother's death, I might have done things differently. 

When we got home, they were on me in a heartbeat.  Demanding to know.  "Where's Chubby?  You just LEFT him?  Is he okay?  We need to go get him. NOW.  Bad Mommy." 

After two days of being drilled and after seeking advice from my Mom Group, I knew I had to tell them.  I called Gary and told him that we would need to talk to the kids that night.

However, on the way home from Nonnie's, I realized we were going to pass right by the Vets.  And there would be questions...again.   So, I started talking.

"Um...boys....Chubby's doctors called."  Can we go get him, Mommy?
"No....um...I'm sorry guys.  Chubby just didn't get any better.  It was time for him to go to Heaven."
Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!  Mommy!  Noooooooooooooooo!
....and cried.  ;-(  
Not like you and I would cry at a loss.  But more like, I've told them they can't do something and they want to do it anyway.  It was a frustrated cry.  

And then, more questions, Why? um...because he was old, baby...why?
What does it mean to die?
I want to go talk to the doctor and ask him if Chubby went to heaven.
When is he coming back down? He's not baby
YES, Momma, cuz I love him. And I miss him.
Chubby can still see us - and you can still talk to him.
No - it's DARK and he can't see us.
Yes, he can, baby.

And then I told them that I had some books at home that we could read and it explained a lot about dying and about heaven.

More questions while reading the books:
Why does God want Chubby?
Well, He can take care of him now.  He's all better and he's young in Heaven.

(I knew it was coming....)
Mom - when I'm sick, am I going to heaven?

Reading one of our books:  About "ceremonies" and funerals....I asked how they thought we could say goob-bye to Chubby?
Logan responded, "We can PRAY, Mommy!"

Okay let's pray:
Dear Chubby - we miss you,  we love you.  We know that you are with God and that you are healthy and happy (the kids are trying to say the words as I say them). Dear God please take care of Chubby for us.  He was a real, real, good dog.  (I say, Amen....but Logan says):  and PLEASE God, send him back SOON.  You don't NEED him.  And I DO."  and then wipes away the tears that had fallen while he prayed...

They are only three years old.  Almost four.  But still.  TOO much death.  Too much understanding.   In the last month, I've watched them "rollplay" - Mom, I'm in Heaven.  I'm dead.  Can you still talk to me?

It's all so difficult and yet, as much as it's hard to hear.  I know that they are processing.  That they are working things through.  They talk to God when we walk in parking lots.  They know he lives in the "sky."  Although, there is some mis-communication, because they also think that God is on the other side of the drivethrough - so while I'm ordering dollar value hamburgers, they're hollering in the back for God to send Chubby home.  ;-) 

Yesterday,  Austin was walking a head of me and we were laughing and all of sudden he looked back and said, "Momma are you still sad because Uncle Barney went to heaven."  I have no idea what prompted that question, but I leaned down and pulled him over to me - eye to eye. 

Oh Baby!  No, Momma's not still sad about Uncle Barney being in heaven.   I still miss my brother.  Very much, but I have lots of happy thoughts and memories about him and that makes me very happy.  Okay, baby? 

And then we hugged.  And I thanked God for such sweet tender moments.  I thank God for helping heal my heart.  For my little boy to recognize that Mom is a little bit happier.  So that they can see death is "ok."  It happens.  We get sad.  Really, really sad.  And then we get a little bit better.  And eventually, we may even by happy again. 

Gary woke me up this morning, "I need your help trying to handle a situation, Donna."  My first thougths went our teenage son and some unknown trouble....Then, he said, "Bugzy's dead."  Bugzy is (was) our newly acquired in December gerbil.  My eyes flew open.  I looked at Gary and (I'm not gonna lie), said, "Are you "bleepin-effin" KIDDIN ME?"   Seriously, we had to laugh.  I mean...Come ON!  Really?

For the record...Bugzy's cage is now "open."  A clear sign that he "escaped" and is living large in the great wide open.  That's our story and we're stickin' to it!

(But please pray for my boys when they discover his "escape.")


Hannah said...

I think you are doing a great job dealing with all the emotions that come with losing someone you love. I think the boys sound like the really are processing everything in a healthy way and that is a true testament of you are teaching them.

Cheryl Lage said...

Oh Donna, I am so sorry you all are going through so much, and am so wow-ed by the amazing way you are handling it all and helping Austin and Logan handle it.

Peace to you my sweet friend. You rock mommy-dom.

Christina said...

So sorry to hear about Chubby! I'm sitting at work reading this post with tears streaming down my face. To me it seems like your doing a marvelous job raising those precious lil guys, and helping them understand the events that have surrounded them recently.


Helene said...

I'm so sorry about Chubby...it's so hard for children to understand death but you are doing an amazing job of teaching them in the most gentlest of ways that it's a part of life.

My kids have been talking about dying too. They're having a hard time understanding it too so we may have to go check out some books at the library soon. I'm afraid I'm not as well versed as you are when talking about it.

It's amazing too how children are more intuitive than we give them credit for. Their kind hearts are definitely what help us through situations like these.

Can't believe the gerbil up and died...I think explaining that he "escaped" was a good idea!

Steph said...

Oh Donna! This has been such a rough time for your family! Sheez. But, you are such an amazing mom. Truly.