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Ode to Mako

November 8th marked the 5th anniversary of Katie the Cat’s death.  Perhaps one of the most difficult days of my life.  She was just a few months short of turning 20.  I made the difficult decision to have her euthanized.  A decision I still at times, especially during irrational hormonally charged days, question.

I was 5 months pregnant with Jensen.  Cailey was at the time only concerned with how best to torture her older sister.  And Emme was old enough to understand that Katie the Cat had died, but I chose to leave out the part about MOMMY PULLING THE PLUG.  Because she was 5, she mourned for a good 7 seconds, then said brightly, “NOW we can get a dog!

Children are resilient that way.

I relived this memory this last week because my SIL had to put her beloved 14 year old dachshund, Mako, down.  I was able to commiserate with her and offer some advice.  First, take the time to mourn.  When you have a pet that many years, they really become a vital part of your family.  And secondly, DON’T TELL JENSEN THAT MAKO IS DEAD.

Avoidance is a favorite coping mechanism of mine.  Right after Mako died, Jensen was playing on the floor with his vast collection of dogs on his bedroom floor.  And out of the clear blue he remarked, “You know what Mom? Mako is my very favorite dog in the whole wide world.”

That did it.  Since Fiddledaddy was out of town, I decided to postpone the bad news indefinitely.

Then upon Fiddledaddy’s return, as he was climbing into the car to take the girls to swimming class, and knowing they would be seeing their cousins, I told him that he should tell the girls the bad news.  And with that, I turned and walked into the house.

Because my timing is AWESOME.

But still, Jensen did not know.

Finally Fiddledaddy had enough of my stalling, and he told the little man that his beloved cousin dog, Mako, had died.

Stunned silence.

For about 6 seconds, Jensen was contemplative. Staring out the window.  Then he calmly stated, “Well.  Next time I’m over at Aunt Trisha’s, I’ll just pretend Mako is out in the back yard.”

And he bounced off on his next adventure.

I admire that youthful ability to compartmentalize matters of life and death. And deal with things matter of factly.

One of my great fears is that I will die and leave my little family alone without a mother to care for them.  Because my thoughts always drift to the dark side.

But I take great comfort knowing that if something should ever happen to me, at least one member of the family will stoically carry on by simply pretending that I’m out in the back yard.

For all of eternity.


11 Responses to Ode to Mako

  • Kids amaze me. Their way of dealing with things is so simple. I am glad they don’t deal the way we adults do, someone has to remain calm and keep marching onward. :o)

  • Um…that last line? A little creepy.

    Just sayin’.


  • My first husband, died at 34 from a heart condition. I will never forget our (then) 5 year old son holding my hand as we stood next to the casket at the cemetery. He looked at the closed casket then he looked up at me…. “Mommy, please don’t cry. Don’t forget Daddy is not here. He is already with Jesus.” That day God spoke to me straight out of the mouth of my young son. Children have a way of dealing with death. Some may say that they just don’t understand–just don’t get it. But I think they understand better then the rest of us.

  • Ha! Sounds like avoidance is a favorite coping mechanism of Jensen’s, too.

  • When my Grandma died, I told my little girl (then 3) that she went to heaven to be with Jesus. She told me, “Oh Mommy, you know she is so happy there.” From the mouths of babes.
    I still miss my first cat who lived to be 18. I got her for my birthday when I was 8.

  • Wouldn’t it be great if we, as adults, could carry on easily after the death of a loved one like children seem to be able to do?

    I can relate to the loss of a beloved pet. One of the hardest times of my life was losing our beloved Norton two years ago. He was 16 years old and the coolest cat ever…..I miss my first baby.

  • Katie! I remember when you got Katie! I hate to say it, but she was a rather odd cat. But I know you loved her. She hated everyone but you. Didn’t she hide for about 3 years after the “big one” earthquake in ’94?

    I remember when Kaaren’s dog, Cosmo, and her dad died in the same week. Her son looked up at her and asked “Is it okay if I miss Cosmo more than I miss Grandpa?” Hehe.


    I wish I could tell you that Katie mellowed with age. She didn’t. I’ll just blame it on “earthquake trauma.” I hid for 3 years after that day as well. 🙂

    I remember Cosmo the dog.


  • Well, if they bury you in the yard, you will be there for all eternity, sort of. Right? Though I think that may be illegal, or something.

    And I have to tell you that my daughter lost her Pink Doggie (best most favorite stuffed animal companion since before birth) a few weeks ago. When I first realized he was missing I was panic-stricken, thinking of the freak outs that would surely follow. But, she has been totally unconcerned, and every once in a while she says she thinks he’s at school, or at church, or in the car… and today she was playing a board game all by herself and I overheard her talking. She looked up and saw me watching her and she said, “Mommy, sometimes I just pretend Pink Doggie is here and I’m tellin’ him sumpin”.

    I ran off to sob in the privacy of my bathroom!

  • Just this morning Nikki was holding a picture of our sweet dog Rudy who died in June and she started crying because she missed him. We all do…so hard to loose a beloved pet.

  • We had to put my little guy’s kitty to sleep yesterday so this post really touched me. I took the cat and the boy the vet and told him we had to leave the cat at the vet to make him all better. He had luekemia and was little more than a shell by the time we got him to the vet…He cried terribly and was pretty sad all day yesterday but today hasn’t even mentioned the fact that Sammy is no longer here. Wow! Kids are so resilient! He’s already talking about getting a puppy, cuz that’s what he wants and has wanted for at least 2 years now! I guess it’s time to start searching for a HEALTHY puppy for my boy….for after we move in 2 weeks!

  • I get this.
    You’re right about losing an animal you love, I’ve lived through it twice. But I also love Jensen’s answer to the struggle. Because sometimes it’s easier to pretend they are in the back yard, and sometimes it feels like they really are.