Recently, our older dog, Kaela, died. It was hard on all of us. For the girls, it was really the first death they have had to deal with. We had a couple of fish that died, but given they were left-over snake food that just kept living, it was hard to get worked up about them.
Comforting children after a pet dies is hard. I know learning to grieve is a part of life and tried my best to teach the girls how to deal with a loss. I talked about how we will have our memories of Kaela and that we will always hold her in our hearts.
During all of this, I kept thinking it would have made it all so much easier if I could have just said to them, "Well, honey, Kaela is in Heaven now, looking down on us, playing with her tennis balls and chasing lizards." How comforting that would have been to believe that -- to not really have to say good-bye, but just see-you-later.
But I didn't and can't say that because I don't believe it. To me, that is a cop-out -- a made up construct to make us feel better as opposed to dealing with feelings. The girls know how I feel; and we have told them about lots of perspectives and beliefs. We have had many discussions about what different people believe and how religion is practiced around the world. I've come to realize, however, that my discussions may not have been so high-brow and open minded as I thought. In trying to present all sides, I have most certainly presented my view. And it turns out, I have begun to alienate the girls, or at a minimum, made God and religion topics you do not talk to Mommy about.
My husband told me of a recent conversation he had with LittleBug, one of our 7 year olds. Turns out she is one deep thinker. She was asking him if we hadn't had her, would she exist? (I know, seriously deep). My husband talked to her about souls and various beliefs. This led to a discussion about animals having souls and finally to God. After a pause, LittleBug said, "Well, I know there is a God, Dad." "How do you know this?" "Because I think of Kaela throughout the day and who else but God would put thoughts of her in my head?" (Yes, she really talks like that.)
So now my question is, where is the balance between teaching our beliefs to our child, but wanting her to share if her beliefs differ? More deep thoughts . . . .
Proud of my boy
11 hours ago