I lost my sweet Riddle kitty about a year and a half ago. It was, of course, horrible. That’s how it is. These companions crawl into our hearts and leave these holes when they leave.
Selam was remarkably unaffected at the time. She went with me to the vet–it couldn’t be avoided. I worried it would be traumatic for her. It wasn’t.
A few weeks later she asked me when Riddle was coming back. We talked. I’m not sure whether it was me who came up with the phrase, or her, but what she came away with was “Riddle’s body died, but now I remember her in my heart.”
Every once in a while, she’ll say it again, referring to Riddle, her birth mother, and even to other people who have died–those that she knew only tangentially or only knew their family members.
I asked her once about it. “When you say that you remember this person (a family friend’s mother) in your heart, what do you mean?” ‘Well, I think that if I did know them they would live in my heart and I know they are in (our friend’s) heart, so they are in mine, too.”
“Oh, so is it the same as, well, Riddle or your birth mother?”
“Oh no. The special people have really big places to remember in my heart. The others are just little places. But they are places.”
Today, we found out that a friend’s dog died. She had met and played with this dog once. I told Selam. “Write her a letter and tell her that I will remember him in my heart and that she will remember him bigger in her heart,” she said.
It’s fascinating to me, really, how she makes sense of these things. I’m amazed at how she understands that the words that give her comfort might give comfort to others that are suffering. I’m also surprised that she’s able to sort out that what she feels is different than what someone else who is closer might feel–and yet from the same thread. I know I didn’t teach her that. I wouldn’t begin to know how.
I do love that sweet heart of hers.
Tonight, as she was drifting off to sleep she asked me if I wrote the letter for her, “on the computer or facebook.” “Yes I did.” “Are you sure? Because it’s going to be very sad for her to sleep tonight, and I want her to know that I remember….”
She was asleep by then, snoring lightly under the yellow blankets, her arm tucked around a stuffed dolphin.
You, my sweet girl, you live in my heart now and always. now and always.