Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blessing #178 - Tigger

On Monday, our cat Tigger passed away.  Tigger has been sickly for a while, and Monday afternoon, B found him in the yard, dead.

Initially, B ran in the house and said, "Mom, the cat's dead.  Where's the shovel?  Can we get another cat?" At first, I thought he was crazy, but then I realized he was just in stage one of the grieving process, denial.

A few minutes later, when he realized what had happened, the tears came. That night, he couldn't get to sleep because as he said, "Couldn't get Tiggy off his brain," so we let him sleep in our bed.

Yesterday morning, he woke up complaining about his leg hurting.  He was being so dramatic about the leg, I checked him over, but didn't find anything.  On the way out to the car, he stopped, cried even louder, "Mommy, it's not about my leg.  I'm just sad about Tigger," and that is when he started walking through the other four stages of grief.

Stage 2 - Anger - "Mommy, all those years! All those years, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I was at school and away from him."

Stage 3 - Bargaining - "Mommy, I don't want another cat I only want the cat I had. Tiggy was the best cat ever."

Stage 4 - Depression - "Mommy, Tigger is never going to wake up. He is never going to come back to life."

Stage 5 - Acceptance - "Mommy, Tigger was the best cat ever, and I still love him even though he's gone.  

All this happened just in the seven minute drive to school.  I was emotionally exhausted and it wasn't even 9:00 AM!

I asked him if he wanted to go get breakfast, and just go to school a little late. He said no, "But Mommy, could you pick me up a little early for the funeral."  I didn't really know we were having a funeral, but he assumed we were, and I wasn't about to tell him we weren't.

Yesterday, a cold front came in  and it was only 18 degrees, but we still found ourselves standing outside at Tigger's funeral that afternoon.  (Note: It was only 40 degrees on the day Tigger passed away)

As soon as Shad came home from work, he dug a hole.  I asked Brandon how he wanted the funeral to go. Did he want to say a word about Tigger or one of us? Shad read a verse out of Ecclesiastes,  we sang amazing grace, and Brandon gave the eulogy.

Reason #843,340 that I love this man.

His eulogy sounded something like this.....

"Tigger was a good cat.  He was nice to me. He was nice to Mommy, and he was nice to Daddy.  He was the best cat in the world and I will always love him........(short pause).......Now let's cover him up."

You see, Shad had dug a pretty deep hole for the cat, and the big pile of dirt was just sitting there waiting to fill up the hole.  At that moment, Brandon's love of dirt became greater than the pain of his grief.

As we walked away, I whispered to Shad, "Note to self: Brandon doesn't give the eulogy at my funeral. 'Now let's cover her up'!"

It may seem silly to stand outside and sing Amazing Grace at a cat's funeral, but both Shad and I knew it was important for Brandon.  This was more than just losing a beloved pet, this was the first time Brandon had experienced death.

As we road to school this morning, I giggled under my breath at some of the cute things he said, but when he said, "Mommy, Tigger is never going to wake up.  He is never going to come back to life," I had to hold back my tears.  For the first time, I knew he really understood death.

Today, Brandon lost a little of his innocence, and if standing outside singing Amazing Grace helps him deal with this, then I will do it all day.  Besides, Tiggy was a saint of a cat.  He bravely, lived among these two crazy boys.  He will be missed.

"Tiggey was the very best cat, Love Brandon"


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