Lucy has been thinking about death since the guy down the road told her his cat, Himilay, died. I didn't know this until she told me her story about death: when things die, they are very sad because they can never see us again but they are happy because they are with their Mummy who gives them lots of pats and cuddles. That's Lu's take on one of the great mysteries of our human condition. I like it.
I told Lu Puss was dead when she wondered why he wasn't at the back door on Saturday morning. She curled in a ball, cried, told me the story of death and cried a little bit more. Then she said "Is there bacon for breakfast?". There was, and the storm passed. Later, I told Lu that Puss could now eat on the table (verboten in our home) and she was so scandalized and tickled, she completely forgot the 'dead' part of the topic under discussion. She hasn't mentioned Puss since.
But here's the thing. She now lugs around the cat carrier, and inside she's placed a sterling silver hip flask (who knows where we got it from - we're not really a sneaky nip kind of a family), the lid separate from the vessel. She she tells me she is looking after Himilay and Lala (Himilay's surviving mate) and no one is to touch them. The connections are obvious in the broad sense but the details - the specific meanings for Lu - are obscure. It's one of those times when I am struck by the complexity and mystery of my children, and reminded that they possess depths I will never visit.
Thanks to all for your kind words - they were very much like lots of pats. We were lucky to have Puss for so long, and to be able to give him a passing that was not distressing; he was lucky to have a family who loved and cared for him for so long and with such generosity. I'm very much aware of this as I read all the ads in the newspapers trying to find new homes for animals, and when I see those sad, sad RSPCA spots on telly. I'm hoping that one day I will happen across a new animal who needs a place to belong and who will fit into our home.