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First Grieving Experience

July 24, 2012

Yesterday, we discovered our cat, Chloe, had died.  She had been missing for a couple of days.  We asked the neighbors.  No one had seen her.  Then we saw a couple of turkey vultures in the field behind our house.  My wife, Laurie, asked me to go out to investigate.  Sure enough, Chloe was dead.

We first told our son.  Lots of tears flowed.  “This is the first pet I’ve lost!” my 7 year old cried.  He was a favorite of Chloe’s.  They were both born in 2005 just a couple of weeks apart.  I picked up our 8 1/2 year old daughter from dance later in the evening.  I had her sit in the front seat with me so I could look her in the eye when I shared the news.  She immediately began crying and reached out to hug me.  The evening was filled with more tears, hugs, and “I miss Chloe” comments.  We woke up this morning to find a gray, rainy day.  More tears came.

As a dad, it’s hard to watch my kids grieve.  Both Laurie and I explained that it is ok to cry and to feel sad.  It’s normal and natural.  It’s normal to ask questions.  And it will be ok to laugh and move on in the future.  All this is part of grieving.

I wonder if these kinds of events help prompt kids to be able to handle grieving that they will experience when a family member passes.  My kids are fairly shielded – they’ve not had to deal with a relative dying oversees with the military nor have they lost a grandparent.  In a way, I’m grateful for this experience and the lessons they are learning through it.  None of us wanted Chloe to die.  She was only 7.  We figured she would be around for many, many years.

But, life lessons sometimes happen when we least expect them.  My prayer for Laurie and I can help walk them through this grief so the kids will grow up to be healthy individuals who can express their emotions during times of joy and times of sorrow.

We will miss you, Chloe.


From → Family

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