The Ebb and Flow of Life, a Painful Reality

This morning began as it has all week. The sun was shining and the kids were noisily getting themselves ready for school. All would seem good in the world at that moment in time. At some point the 11 year old slipped out of the house to go say good morning to the ducks.

 When she returned I could see by the look on her face that something had made her sad. "Mom," she said, "the neighbors cat killed our bat."

 The 9 yr old looked up and in a panicked voice said, "NO! Not Cookie!"

 We all went outside and somberly looked down on the small body of one of our bats. "I'm so sorry girls, " I said. "Unfortunately things like this happen."

 As my daughters contemplated and took it all in they began plotting the demise of the cat in our neighborhood that kills small animals for fun. While I understood where they were coming from I let them know that it wasn't fair to blame the cat when there was no proof that she was the one who did it.

 The conversation then turned to having a funeral for the little guy or gal we've watched most nights from our porch swooping here and there keeping our bug population in check. I told them that if that's what they wanted to do that was okay by me. I tenderly picked him up and placed him in a container to be buried after school.

 After walking the girls to school I contemplated what had happened on the walk home. It had happened and it was sad but in the same breath it's part of living in this circle of life and death. We never want to see it happen, especially not tragically, but at the end of the day it still happens and there is absolutely nothing to prevent it. It slips in and comes, ready or not.

 My hope in all this is that my children start seeing this as part of the natural circle of things. No, it doesn't feel good and it often hurts but it's also the ebb and flow of life. It builds to a glorious crescendo and then fades away. I don't want to hide and protect them from that. My parents never hid life and death from me. I was always aware that we were never assured of tomorrow. That each day was a gift and to live accordingly. I want my children to learn the same story. To dance and play, to learn and grow, to make a difference no matter how big or small. I hope that while they are still here under my watchful gaze they learn to see the beauty in life and learn to deal with the pain of death.


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