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The Symbolic Death of a Beloved Pet

I am not sure what is up, but I have been doing a lot of introspection these days. Maybe it is the cooler weather and the upcoming turning inwards that I think Winter brings. Skittles, our beloved cat died last weekend in an accident while my husband and I were on a brief weekend away celebrating our Anniversary. Dear friends took the reigns and treated our kids like their own, helping them to deal with their loss. We arrived home, hugged the kids and answered a lot of questions. As I did so, I found myself answering their questions very matter of factly with very little emotion. Don’t get me wrong for I was very sad, we were all very sad, for Skittles was given to our daughter Kelsey on her fourth Birthday by her grandparents and had been a constant companion of our family for sixteen years. That being said, I was very much in control of my emotions. 
Until three days later after the night we buried him in our garden. We had to wait that long until all of us could partake in the little candle lit ceremony in our vegetable garden. The morning after I woke up all teary from the get go. I had this indescribable sadness pressing down on me like a heavy coat that I had shrugged on to keep out the cold. I had a hard time keeping it together all Wednesday morning. As some of you know from my previous blog, ( where I barred my legs and divulged my “vein” secret) Wednesday morning is my date with my body combat class.  I almost felt like not going and that almost never happens. I went anyway and gritting my teeth through the tears, made it through the class. What the heck is wrong with me? I berated myself as I drove home and then jumped in the shower, only to crumble again upon hurriedly blow drying my hair. “Come on Meg, pull yourself together. I don’t have time for this,” I muttered to myself.  I had a meeting to get to and at this rate I would not make much of an impression with swollen eyes and probably a break down midway through. As I finished getting ready, the dream I had the night I learned about Skittles death popped into my head. 
In the dream, Skittles and his almost identical sister Snickers were playing around our kids in various rooms of our old house. The house in which most of the kids were born in and had spent the majority of their younger years growing up in. I kept awakening in between the haze of the dream and the haze of reality. Which was which?  I would ask myself, and then fall back asleep again. No Skittles was not gone, he was here, playing with all the kids when they were 2, when they were 4, when they were 7, 9, 10 and so on. For 16 years. Now those 16 years have passed.
It dawned on me then. That dream represented what Skittle’s death meant to me. Not only a physical passing, but a passing of the years, a symbolic end to the end of a chapter in our lives. An end of innocence so to speak. An end to the years of play dates and heart to hearts with the moms of your kid’s friends, who also happened to be your own best friends. Dinners spent  all together around the table  because everyone was home at night and tucked in safe and sound by 8:30.  Decorating like crazy with the kids for every holiday and theme days based on those holidays. Believing in Santa, the tooth fairy, leprechauns…and … in innocence.  Our youngest, Cameron turned 12 this year and most of you would probably ask,  “Did  those things not end a long time ago, for your oldest is 22?” Yes they did for some of the kids, but there was always the younger ones to hold the torch for. “Hey guys, ” I would say as their belief in Santa waned, “Can you help mom and dad out and keep the magic alive for…?”
 Those years can not be gotten back and some of us mourn them and some rejoice in them. I obviously was mourning them. I have always been a nut for making a celebration out of the things that little kids love. I was an elementary and preschool teacher for goodness sakes!  Life is a little harder in the reality lane than in the magic lane. The problems are a little bigger. Yes, the younger years are more difficult physically speaking, on parents, but the years of adolescence are what gives us our grey hair and tests our inner strength. The problems and issues that our kids face are a lot bigger and the stakes a lot higher than wether or not they finished their dinner or brushed their teeth before bed. Now I understand what my parents meant when they said, “You will understand why I said no, when you have kids of your own.”
This is a transitional time for me. Our daughter in college “vibered” us (akin to texting but  internationally) while on a recent trip to Germany while attending a semester abroad in London, that she was afraid of getting kidnapped while at Octoberfest. The elicited advice from me was as foreign as the country she was in, “If you are drunk, you have more of a chance to be unaware of your surroundings… and get kidnapped.” Raising children that are navigating the difficult waters of the teenage years where the boat can be capsized at any given time is trying indeed. Preadolescence is even more of a challenge at times. That “stuck in the middle world” of still wanting to sleep with your stuffed animal but that gnawing feeling that you are too old for that. As a parent, all of these stages we will pass through, mourning and celebrating them at the same time. Letting go when we all we ever wanted to do was kiss their boo boos and make it all better.
Yes, Skittles loss was a symbol of those transitions that we often, as women, don’t have time to realize that we are experiencing. Why are we on edge? Why are we so sad at times? Life is full of transitions. We need to take the time to realize them and affirm them. I had one big cry upon my realization, picked myself up by the seat of my pants and acted like a big girl for the rest of the day. (Good thing I am such a good actor!)
I promise that I will get into lighter pieces on a more creative note upon my next blog. Blame it on the weather!
In transition~


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  1. Cindy Gill says:

    Meg – I can totally relate to what you are going through with Skittles death. Two years ago on Halloween, I had to put my beloved Inky down, at the age of 19 years. Not only was I grieving the sadness of losing my little furry friend and companion, but while driving away from the vet’s office, I realized that he was the last living connection I had with my grown children’s childhood. It was the end of an era–a chapter in their lives–and I was grieving both losses. I returned to work a few days later and I was a mess for a good two weeks, and even now this remembrance still brings me to tears. I’m so sorry for your loss. I was just petting your sweet Skittles the last time I was out at your place and he was on the stone wall when I arrived and still there when I left a few hours later to pet him goodbye. When our children are grown and gone, our dear pets become our children and we love and mourn them even more! It’s never easy. God bless you! Cindy

  2. photomom says:

    Oh Miss Meg…

    You are a gem. and with this and your “road map” legs I know we are surely cut from the same cloth or we are soul sisters of our pasts!

    When are we going to get coffee? and we can commiserate about our pets passing and what it means for our lives and stages passing!!! and I can laugh about my own road mapped legs and where they have led me….And they have most definitely led me (by a Wink from our maker) to you.

    Let’s plan something soon!!!!

    xoxo Heather