Last week our Nike passed away. It was time to let him go. Nike’s health had been declining in the last few months, but a couple Sundays ago we realized it was time. Both the kid and I had not done any hospice so to speak in our home before. Both Richard and Zoe’s passing had been unexpected. This time we went through it all with Nike.
When husband passed away in 2012, I had to figure out a way to help my kid go through it, find a way to make it bearable for him. I knew I didn’t want his dad’s passing to be this traumatic dark cloud over his head. I wanted my kid to continue being a happy child. I found something online that helped me figure out how to get my kid through it. It is hard for a toddler to grasp the notion that dad died and went to heaven, but then I told him that if he wanted to see his dad, all we had to do was to go outside and look at the moon, because his dad was watching over him from the moon. From then on, if he asked what happened to his dad, my answer was: “well, your dad’s heart stopped working, so he went to heaven but he can watch over you from the moon.” That was somewhat helpful and comforting for my kid at the time, and just going out and looking at the moon was a comforting thing to do for both of us.
When our Beagle Zoe passed away unexpectedly in 2016, trying to get Nike to snap out of his depression took priority over us grieving and missing Zoe. The kid didn’t have time to process what happened to Zoe because we needed Nike to move and eat. We got an insane Siberian Husky female dog. Good grief, that dog made us forget everything after she managed to poop, pee and puke several times everywhere in the house. She ran out of the backyard then came back on her own, drove Nike crazy, pulled food out of our table and countertops and chewed my bench outside. That dog lasted 36 hours in our house because I re-homed her after that.
After cleaning and sanitizing the house, we agreed it would be best if it was just the 3 of us. End of story. Needless to say, our bond grew tighter. Sam would play with Nike all the time. They would chase each other, they spent hours in the backyard, just sitting out on the lawn, the kid and his dog. The kid learned to be more careful as Nike got more and more fragile. We discussed how his health was changing and what we would have to eventually do. We talked about Nike’s dying plenty of times, I wanted him to be aware of what was coming. Then that Sunday, when we realized it was time, the kid refused to let Nike go ‘too.’
To help him understand how the next days would go, I rented Marley & Me. I needed him to learn about another dog’s life, and what and how it was at the end. I told him we wouldn’t bury Nike in our yard because if we moved away, we wouldn’t be able to see him again if we wanted to, which is why we had Zoe cremated, just like Richard was cremated before her. He cried and cried of course, asked plenty of questions, said he wanted a Labrador but not as crazy as Marley. I told him we would stick to Beagles, smaller and just as happy as a Labrador. Since the kid insisted in being there when it ended, I wanted him to be prepared, to be aware of what was about to happen.
The next couple nights were rough for him. He went back and forth with knowing that we had to let him go, and with not letting him go at all. He said he couldn’t deal with losing his brother after losing his sister and his dad. He cried, said it was too much already. He said he wanted Nike’s ashes along with Zoe’s and his dad’s by him. I hugged my baby and I let him go through all the emotions, I held him while he cried it all out, night after night. I said to him that deep down he knew letting Nike go was the right thing to do, even though it was too painful to do so. It was a Wednesday, when we both hugged Nike as he left us. There were a lot of tears, but it was a peaceful departure for Nike. As I had promised, we went and got a couple fish afterwards, and told him eventually we would get another couple Beagles and I would train them both to be as awesome as Nike & Zoe were to him.
In just a few years, we went from a party of 5 to a party of 2. I don’t know other kids that have had these many losses. I do know my kid has lost Richard, Nike, Zoe and the 2 fish we got right after Nike. We got a second pair of fish and these ones are still alive, thank God. In my defense, I forgot about the water conditioner drops. Anyways, he’s happy to see Mallory and Jake swimming around every morning. He runs downstairs after waking up to check up on them and to feed them. Jake and Mallory are his responsibility now. I don’t know if other kids take it better or worse than others, but I do pray every day for God to help me help my kid go through it all.
I love my kid more than anything in the world, and to see him in pain is really hard, but I also know my kid is the strongest and most awesome kid because God made him and then gave him to me. I know God has a plan for both my kid and myself, and while it’s hard to go through this, I know my kid can pull it off because he’s my son. I knew he would be alright after he said: “mama, I’ll miss Nike with all my heart and it hurts so much but he needs to go to heaven to dad and Zoe.”
We prayed for God to bring peace to our hearts and to help us go through Nike’s passing. Matthew 5:4 says: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” We pray every day and every night, we put ourselves in God’s hands, for Him to show us His will, for Him to guide us. God has brought comfort and peace to our hearts once again. God has been with us through many storms and through losing our loved ones. We know God has a plan for us, and we’ll wait for Him to lead our way. Psalms 27:14 says: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord.”
Meanwhile, we’re trying to keep the fish alive, and we’ve been going out every evening to see the moon and the stars around it.