It’s funny how animals can play such a large role in out lives. Some people get really attached. Others can own a pet and it simply be just a pet. Sometimes you get so attached to them they become members of the family.
A couple of weeks ago, our dog, Bruce, passed while we took vacation. We bought food. We had plenty of water. We scheduled a dog sitter. We took all the precautions to make sure Bruce could “survive” without for a few days.
In the middle of our vacation, we received a phone call from a trusted family friend Bruce had passed. I faced the most daunting of parental tasks: telling my kids their dog had died. Then I faced an even greater task: helping them grieve and process this loss.
I started by getting people to pray. I knew only God could heal their hearts and most importantly heal the fabric of our family. This dog symbolized more for them than people realize. He served Aidan, Josh and Gab as a growing experience. They took care of him. They experienced caring for another’s life. They learned responsiblity. If Bruce didn’t eat, it meant Aidan, Josh, or Gab hadn’t done their job.
Lest we forget, he took care of them too. He slept with them. He barked when someone came to the door. He loved them no matter how many times Gab made “Buddy Buck Brucie” play doll dolls.
He was their dog.
However, before he was theirs, he was mine. We walked one or two times a day. He kept me moving on those nights when my body hurt too much from my workouts. I drove the ways he and I used to walk yesterday. I didn’t realize how sad it would make me. Today, I went to his Vet and closed his file.
Closure I guess.
I wish I knew what to tell my kids to help them through this time. I don’t know how to teach them to express their feelings and help them to be sad but not get bogged down by his death. They want to talk to him. They want to pray God helps him have a great day in heaven. They want to pray for him. We talk every time they bring him up. I try to correct their theology and understanding but I still feel like I am missing it with them on this point.
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