Saturday, January 27, 2007
This past summer, one of our cats got sick, and, after surgery didn't improve her condition, we had to put her down. Chloe had been in the family since Chris and I first got married, and she was a sweet old soul. It was really hard for both of us.
Because we're not religious, it was hard to think of how to explain to Artemis what had happened to Chloe. We ended up saying something like "Chloe was sick, and now she's gone, but the important thing is she's not hurt anymore - we will always remember her as a good friend". I think we might have mentioned death, but I'm not sure what that means to a two-year old; when her markers don't work anymore, they're "dead", but beyond that I don't think we'd used the word before. I wanted to avoid saying that Chloe was in a "better place", because, while that would have been easier to say, I really don't believe it's true.
I thought that Artemis would forget about Chloe after a couple months. Sometimes she doesn't remember people she hasn't seen for a while until she spends time with them again. Chloe must have been a better friend than I had thought, though, because Artemis still talks about her. You see, "Chloe's coming back some day."
I mention this not only because it's something that causes a little bit of heartbreak on a regular basis (no matter what I say, Artemis thinks that Chloe is around somewhere), but also because I have a recurring miserable thought that, if something goes wrong with Demeter's surgery, I will have to explain to Artemis that Demeter, like Chloe, is gone and is not coming back. And that, more than anything, is something I cannot bear to think about...but somehow often do.