I fix your hair because I know how to do that. I pick you up and hold you because I’ve done that a bunch of times and I know how that works. I tell you life goes on and death is part of life and we keep living because that’s what we do. I don’t really have any idea how to make it all better when your pets have died way to soon and way too tragically.
My good friend Dave once said that when he doesn’t know what else to do he turns to his pen. So will I to my keyboard.
Poppy, our beloved dog. Our perfect family dog. Our dog who the girls love dearly. Whose death I’ve dreaded and worried about though it is surely years away. She killed the girls’ guinea pigs today. Please don’t ask how she got out of her locked gate or how she opened the guinea pigs’ locked cage. Please don’t ask why, after having been alone with them many nights, she decided to get violent today. I have no idea why the guinea pigs were not able to get away or whether Poppy meant to kill them or merely thought they were one of her toys. See, if I knew any of that, I might have prevented it. But what is is. Nothing more and nothing less. I can’t have prevented it. Sure, it was preventable but I can’t have prevented it. It is done. So now I am left with regret and tragedy and traumatized daughters.
Don’t get me wrong. I couldn’t care much less about the actual guinea pigs. Heck, I’m sure such animals die horrific deaths all the time for food or sport or from neglect. I can’t possibly worry about the death of a $28.56 rodent. But the horror. The horror of being 9. And the horror of being 5. And the horror of being the mother who returned home with these children to find… They couldn’t wait. They were so looking forward to coming home from school and playing with their pets. Of holding a guinea pig. Lucky and Sunflower. Killed by Poppy.
Their beloved dog. They found their new fluffy pets dead. And their dog indifferent.
So now I just have questions that can not possibly be answered. Just how traumatized are my girls? How will they feel about Poppy? How will I feel about Poppy? How long before we get some new guinea pigs? Should they name the new ones Lucky and Sunflower?
I stroke your hair with my hand. Push it off your forehead. Smooth it down. Because I know how to do that. I hug you and kiss you and tell you that I know it hurts. I listen to a recorded story with you of a man who turned to music for comfort after his tragic life. I know how to do these things. I do not know how to make it all better.