I’ve seen my children sad before. I’ve seen them cry over Grandma leaving, not getting what they want, or because they don’t feel well. Yes, certainly I’ve seen them feel sad.
But, I’ve never seen them have heartbreak before, nor did I think I would witness it so early in mommyhood. I guess I’ve always been used to them being young enough to distract them with something like a toy or candy. And the things they’ve experienced have never been of real significance. Yes Grandma leaves, but she always comes back.
But on Wednesday when I had to tell my little boy that our dog had gone to Heaven to be with Jesus, I saw it. I saw my child’s heart break in two.
For some reason I had not considered this reaction. How could I be so stupid? I expected to be hit with a slew of questions, ones I had gone over in my head several times. I knew what my answers would be, how I would explain why this happens and what it means. But for some reason, I never expected him to break down in tears and sob.
He didn’t ask all the questions I was expecting, only one: “He’s killed?” I paused for a moment to think about how I would answer that, because no he wasn’t “killed” in the way that you and I use it, but for him, that was how he defined that he was no longer alive and that he wasn’t returning.
“Well, yes…” I replied.
He yelled and started to cry, burying his head in his hands. “I don’t want him to be killed! I don’t want him to be in Heaven!”
I rubbed his leg and tried to console him with the things we say when death occurs – that he loved him very much and got to spend so much fun time with him, but when dogs get old and very sick like he had been, they go to live with Jesus.
It was irrelevant. He heard none of it. When I would start to speak he would yell no. He heard all he needed to know when I answered his question. And really, that’s all that mattered. Hearing The Death Speech wasn’t going to make it better.
After he stopped crying, he stared off into space for a while and then immediately moved on. He hasn’t mentioned it since.
That moment keeps replaying in my head. Watching my little boy fall to pieces like that hurt. As painful as it was to sit on the floor with my dog while the doctor gave him an injection to stop his heart, this part of the experience was just as agonizing.
We have shed a lot of tears mourning the loss of our sweet Mosley but are confident that we did the most we could do to get him well. Hopefully he is running in the green grass in Heaven with his little sister, free from infection and fever. And hopefully Brady’s heart has healed and that ours will soon.
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.