Tuesday, December 14, 2010

74 Months

Ever since Lucas learned to crawl we've had our two little dogs running away from him as he's scrambled and chased after them. Mishu and Schmokie have been with us from the very beginning, the first two "little ones" in our family. Unfortunately that dynamic has changed, as Schmokie has left us for greener pastures, as they say.

It's so crazy around here after the event, which wasn't a peaceful passing, and I was very concerned about how Lucas and Quinn were going to handle the entire situation. This is the first time that they are dealing with the death of a loved one and Schmokie was dearly loved.

Death is such a powerful presence in our lives but we rarely address it in our society. I'm not sure how it first came up with the kids but Lucas is usually very pragmatic when he speaks about it. There's not any type of perception that we go to a better place or that our soul moves on or even that we have a multiple lives, though the idea of reincarnation is connected to the branch of Buddhism that we follow. What he understands is that everybody dies and no one truly knows what happens after death.

With Schmokie's death, we've become inherently aware that, even though we don't know exactly what happens to those who die, those who remain behind suffer tremendously. We each deal with this profound experience in our own way. Some of us deny it, hold it in and digest it in our guts, over-analyzing and being very cerebral about it. Some of us just accept it and try to appreciate the nuances of life as it transforms around us. Some of us grieve deeply and allow the sadness to bubble out, in order to find some way to overcome the intense loss. Some of us get angry and manic and depressed and overwhelmed.

For a couple of days Lucas was sad about it, allowing a few moments with tear-stained eyes to overflow and wash his cheeks, seeking the comfort of Christina's warm arms. Quinn doesn't seem to be very aware of what happened but she's asked a lot of questions, of which we try to be as honest as we can be with her. They've resorted to playing a game called Blood. Taking their stuffed animals, they pretend that their stuffed companions have passed on from this life and they take some time to bury them and talk about what they mean to them. This follows a similar ceremony that we had with Schmokie and it's very interesting to watch them process the entire event in their own little way. It's effective and human and my heart goes out to them.

After all that has happened, Schmokie was truly Christina's companion. The kids often tortured the dogs to the point that they would snap at their little outstretched hands and I tolerated the little guy, where Mishu is considered more my dog. So Christina lost a truly great friend, who provided much nourishment for her and after I thought about his too-short history, I realized that he was meant for her. He came to her so that she could traverse a difficult time in her life. He gave her his heart and she's lost a little bit of hers now that he's left us.

He was very cute and only gave you love, expressing complete devotion with those precious eyes and lolling tongue that always brought a smile to your face. He carved out a unique place in our home and he will be forever missed.

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