Today was an unexpectedly difficult day, with very little warning. I guess life just happens some days and there’s nothing you can do about it but roll with the punches. This is especially true when you have little kids.
In this case, Craig received a phone call from the local pound, informing us that our first pet together, our little grey kitty Rafi, was struck and killed my a car earlier this afternoon. Turns out it was right in front of our house, likely by a speeding driver, since many fly down our residential street, going like forty miles per hour.
Rafi was named after one of my beloved Red Wing players, Rafalski, about a decade ago. He was a rescue that instantly loved having a whole house to himself, having a plentiful amount of food and snuggles, specifically from me. He HATED all the house projects Craig forced him to endure, especially anytime his brother Chris showed up with some power tools, such as new windows and doors in our first house, and when he overcame that obstacle, we got a dog. It took barely any time for him to warm up to our other cat, Rory, and they became fast friends and stayed that way through the years. He was less than impressed at our promotion to triplet parents, even less impressed when that reduced his snuggles and our minimal sitting still for YEARS. Only in the last six months or so have either cat decided it is safe to go near the kids and that sometimes results in petting and snuggles. I’m glad I got a good evening snuggle with him last night, full of purring before I drifted off to sleep.
We decided to be upfront with the girls tonight and tell them the truth. We took them outside with our loved kitty and told them about the accident, that his injury was too bad to fix (even with a bandaid- to their disbelief), and that he was already in heaven. They doubted this until Craig pulled him out and set him on a blanket in a hole in the ground, and then stressed a bit more at a new reality they don’t quite yet understand, especially seeing a bit of blood from the hit. Don’t worry, it wasn’t very graphic or we wouldn’t have shown the girls; and it showed us that it was an instantaneous incident and he didn’t suffer, which is a relief.
Everyone absolutely wanted to put flowers all over him and picked from around the garden (sorry Grandma), laying them gently down and putting handfuls of dirt on him. I have to say, for their age, they did a great job asking questions, trying to understand it and being respectful. Craig did a great job coaching and explaining through it.
The rest of the evening produced a bunch of complicated life questions. Harper keeps repeating that she doesn’t want Rafi to go to heaven; she wants him to stay here. Reagan keeps asking why did my grey kitty die? All three are very concerned about him sleeping outside in the dirt and want him to feel better, questioning why a bandaid can’t fix it. Reagan and Emerie are still asking questions but seem to be okay, while Harper is a bit more sad about the idea and needed a good momma cuddle. At bedtime Reagan kept asking where Rafi went and why. They all want to know where heaven is…and that’s a bit harder to answer off the cuff! When I explained it’s a place full of happiness and no pain, Reagan asked me if it was in Juneau. I’m pretty sure that’s because happiness equals Grandma Sue for her 🙂
It’s a tough reality knowing you can’t permanently protect your kids from some of life’s harsh realities, such as losing a pet or a loved one. Realities no one wants to go through but no one can escape from. I hope we made the right call in our explanations and that the girls will remember our beloved kitty and all our fun times with him.
Prayers for our household tonight as we miss our kitty and learn to work through life without his snuggles and meows.
Rest In Peace Rafi, we will miss you. ❤