Goodbye old friend

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Posted by Kim K.

We all die, said my son last Tuesday as my husband and I came home from the vet to tell our kids that our dog, Madison, wasn’t coming home. For days I have been thinking about the fact that he said that. Almost 7, we’ve really never directly talked about death or dying with him, yet he just knew. I asked him, how did you know that? And, he said, I just know these things.

Death and dying is something that I hate thinking about. It scares me. Even when holding my dog’s head in my lap as she died, the fear of never really seeing her again, the finality of it all, is just so upsetting and scary.

As for me, I can’t contemplate not existing. I just can’t believe that one day I, too, like Madison, will die. My kids don’t realize my phobia of dying. I have never told them. I have never expressed my fears or the feeling that I get that rushes inside of my stomach when I sit and think about it (like right now). It’s just one of those things that freak me out. Kind of like how some people don’t like heights or spiders, I don’t like the idea of dying. Maybe it’s vanity. Maybe it’s ignorance, but I can’t imagine the world continuing without me. Regardless, I do know that just like my son said, it happens to everyone.

In talking about our dog Madison passing away, other interesting questions came up from both my son and my almost 4-year-old daughter: Where is she? Why did she die? Is she coming back? Are we going to bury her? Did she die at the dog doctor? Will we see her again? All good questions, and in the heightened moment of feeling my loss we tried our hardest to answer:

She’s at the vet.

She died because she was old and sick.

She is not coming back.

We aren’t burying her. When you die you there are a couple of things that can happen, you can bury or you can cremate. We showed them the canister where our other dogs’ remains are (not the ashes but the canister) and it seemed to settle their questions.

She did die at the vet.

We will not see her again.


Why not?

Because she died and she’s not physically here anymore.

And, then the tears…

So, now here we are days later, still talking about Mal (Madison’s nickname). Our little one keeps asking us if we miss her. The kids keep saying how much they miss her. My other dog, Carl, hasn’t sat still for more than five minutes and is hiding in the bathroom a lot. But, we have to live life. We have to carry on, move forward and have even started the dialog about finding Carl a new little friend.

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