Death becomes her


**At Sweet Rickey‘s request, given the title, I am editing this post to add: Maya is FINE, very much alive, and disgusted with the world at large.

In an effort to encourage gentleness with Miss Maya, who is a rather old dog, Mr and I frequently remind B of Maya’s age. This appears to have backfired, as B and I had the following conversation in the car today:

When is Maya going to die?

I don’t know, honey.

Well, how long is her going to live?

Hmmm… Dogs like Maya usually live to be fifteen or sixteen.  She’s about fourteen now.  So she’ll probably be around for a little while longer.

[Silence from the back seat, indicating that his mental wheels are turning]

Mommy, what do animals look like when they’re dead?

Um… like they’re sleeping?

Oh…[beat of silence] Only flatter.

2 thoughts on “Death becomes her

  1. sweet Rickey was right on the need for reassurance!
    And, since inquiring minds want to know, I’ll share a tidbit from my son about dogs after death.
    We adopted Carbon from the shelter but as a requirement of his adoption he had to be neutered. We picked him up after his procedure and he was really woozy. We now know that the vet had given him too much anastesia. He died that night in the family bathroom.
    Our son found him the next morning and realized something was wrong when he couldn’t get Carbon to move when he nudged him (the dog was laying right in front of the toilet and Owen needed to go).
    Carbon did look like he was sleeping, without the subtle up and down movement of deep breathing. But his body was hard. He wasn’t really cold but he wasn’t snuggle warm either. There was no “give” when you petted him. He was hard.
    Owen was only three and we had to have a conversation with him about death. About how Carbon wasn’t really with us anymore but his body still was. Owen was remarkably ok with this concept. He has since remembered back to that conversation and situation when death comes up. He’s even tried to explain it to his sister, who’s now three.
    Maybe some of that will help B understand when the time comes. He seems quite a logical and scientific little fellow.

    • That’s a great story. I think that, even at B’s age (5), they just don’t ‘get’ what it means to be dead… They are collecting as much information as possible and trying to put it altogether, but it’s like learning to spell, or read, or anything else – they come to understanding slowly, and in the meantime we get to have awkward, funny, and weird conversations with them…

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