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Waxing Crescent
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Forums ► Comments ► Tigger
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Post # 1
I found this story while I was sorting thru the files I'm putting on my Mediafire account. Its a wonderful story and I'd like to share it with all of you.

by Lilith Silverhair

There had been enough disturbances that bright Spring morning. My husband's Uncle was dry-walling the upstairs bedroom, tramping in and out of the house with each sheet of plaster board he put up. He left the door open each time, leaving an open invitation to my four-year-old son's puppy to take a muddy romp through the house. I had already yelled a stern "No!" to her twice. I had enough aggravation, I didn't need to add puppy herding to the list.
"I want to go outside and play with Tigger."
Nathaniel looked up at me with those killer eyes only an innocent (pre-school) child can pull off.
"Not right now," I said, glancing way so as not to see the disappointment there. Then I added my usual tag: "Maybe later." If I had only known that there wouldn't be a later...but then perhaps if I had let him join his puppy in her frolicking, it wouldn't have been Tigger we buried today.
I finally got Nathaniel settled in front of the TV and was starting on the dishes when I saw the garbage truck drive backwards up the road. It was odd enough seeing the machine go backwards, but we don't have garbage pick up, so I couldn't figure out why he was stopping. I went to the door just as the man beeped his horn once, then twice. When he knew he had my attention, he yelled:
"Hey lady, do you have a puppy?"
Shielding my eyes from the Spring sun that had suddenly begun to turn cold, I nodded and then yelled yes. He then yelled the words that I knew were inevitable.
"Well, I just hit it. I'm pretty sure it's dead. Sorry."
There was nothing more to say, and he had a job to do, so he leaned back into the cab and drove away, leaving me rooted to the spot.
Slowly, I realized that I had to do something, that just standing there wouldn't turn the clock back even the fifteen measly minutes I wanted. I went back into the kitchen to find Uncle Rob being trailed by Nathaniel, both of them wanting to know what was going on. I sent Nathaniel back into the living room and then told this man I didn't know very well that Nathaniel's puppy, a puppy whose paw prints he had just cleaned off of two sheets of drywall, was laying on the road dead. I saw a spasm of sadness go across his face and then I remembered Yankee, the old beagle that this man treats like one of his children. He never hesitated, he went by me and out the door, only to return with confirmation a few seconds later that the puppy was indeed dead. I remember feeling, oddly enough, relief at that point. At least she wasn't suffering.
Tears started to come at that point, but I pushed them back, wiped them from my cheeks. I had a job to do. One that I knew wouldn't be easy in any way. I asked Uncle Rob if he would please take her out of the road and put her behind the house. Then I went to tell my son.
I pulled my child into my lap and he smiled at me, anticipating a story or a cuddle session. I didn't know where to begin, so I did it in the simplest way I knew--saying that Tigger had run out onto the road and had been hit by a truck. That she wouldn't be coming back. That she was dead. He got very quiet and his lower lip trembled just the slightest. And then the first words out of his mouth were: "Can we get a new puppy?"
I was shocked. It was like a knife in my gut that my son could be so coldly asking for another pet before we had even buried his first one. But it was then that I realized that Tigger's lesson had just begun.
We say that young children have no concept of death. But I believe that they understand better than we do. Death is a part of life. It exists in every cycle we see around us. Birth, life, death and rebirth. If we get stuck on one part of the cycle the whole system will collapse. I believe small children know this instinctively, and what we perceive as coldness is a willingness to get on with it. They mourn, in their own way, but never too long. There is always something new around the corner. There is always the next step in the cycle.
It wasn't long after that my husband walked through the door and I was able to witness the continuation of Tigger's lesson. After he had been told and his shirt sufficiently wetted by my tears, Chris took his boy's hand and said, "Come on son, let's bury your dog."
I was tempted to hold my son back. To not let him have to experience this. But, I stayed my hand. Chris seemed to know what he was doing, and I trust my mate. I watched them go hand in hand to retrieve the puppy, followed by my lab, Molly, who also seemed to know what was going on. Was I the only one questioning why this had to happen? I winged that thought to Mamma and received only the impression of a warm smile and the sharp cawing of a crow outside the kitchen window in answer.
I stood silently at the window and watched two blond heads shining in the afternoon sunlight as they sat beside the puppy and talked for a long while. Finally I saw Nathaniel reach out his hand and stroke Tigger for the last time, saying Good-bye--for now. I walked away from the window when I saw Chris start to dig the hole.
When they came back in they washed their hands and then Chris suggested to Nathaniel that he might like to tell Mommy what they had talked about. We sat on the hallway stair and my son very solemnly told me that Tigger was dead. I nodded and he patted me on the shoulder. "But she's not gone for good Mommy. It's like Simba's dad told him in 'The Lion King,' the envelopes eat the grass ('envelope, for those of you who've lost your four-year-oldese dictionary, is 'antelope'), and the lions eat the envelopes. Only we don't have no envelopes around here. So the cows will eat the grass and then we drink the milk and Tigger will be a part of us. It's the Circle of Life." I could only bow my head and agree. When Mamma answers you through the mouth of your child, sometimes the radiance is to much to gaze on.
And so tonight my son sleeps without sorrow and without nightmares. He knows that his beloved Tigger is resting in the arms of "Mommy Moon," and tomorrow "Daddy Sun" will help the grass grow to start the cycle on it's way. And I sit here writing this, glancing every once in a while at my altar where I have place one small red collar, to remind me that sometimes the biggest, and hardest, lessons come in the smallest of packages.

Lilith Silverhair, 1995

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