Yesterday, without beating around the bush, we told the kids about Hobbes. That he died when we were in India. That he had gotten really sick and the doctor couldn’t do anything to save him. That we had to let him go. I could see their skin change color. It really took them by surprise and shock. It was a very sad moment for all of us. We had always taken our family count as 7 and now, we wont be able to do that. It was so sad and amazing for me to watch their reaction. They obviously, didn’t take it well but, each of them reacted so differently. It sort of gave me an insight into their personalities. Insight into how they would deal with adverse situations, if they had to.
After we came back from our friends home, I thought they would have overcome their grief playing with their friends. I became busy and house was quite for a while. I just thought maybe the kids were taking a nap. After a while, Neha came up to me and said
“Mama, can you come to the basement and join us to do a prayer for Hobbes?”.
I asked her, “Sure, but, why the basement, why not right here?”
“We’ve made a memorial for Hobbes in the basement”, she answered.
I joined them in their prayers. They had drawn a picture of him, decorated it with whatever their innocent minds told them to. Then, they performed a puja with kumkum and ghanti.
They offered the picture of Hobbes some of his food. Watching all this, my mind was racing, thinking how did they get such ideas. That’s when I recalled that last year, they had also lost a friend from school, who was their neighbor too. That was such a shock to them..I remember Poo asking me,
“Children die too?!!”
They had attended the memorial of that kid and that’s how I think, they thought of all this. Each of them had written a letter to Hobbes, just like they had written to their friend. They didn’t forget to include Richa’s name.
The next day, we spoke of Hobbes again. But when it was time to sleep, Poo came to our room
“Mama, can you come to our room? Ne is starting to cry again remembering Hobbes”, she said.
I went in there and Neha started to bawl. I hugged her and tried to comfort her. They had a lot of questions for me about why he had to be taken to the doctor and his death.
“Why did Papa take him to the hospital?”
“How did he know that he needed to take him to the hospital?”
“He had not been eating for a couple of days and was looking very weak.”, I said.
Then came the question of what happened to him after he was dead. Where did Papa take him? Did he leave him in the hospital itself? I talked to them about cremation and they broke down again. Then, we talked about heaven and ghost etc.
Poo said, “It takes 49 days to get to heaven”.
Kavya asked,”How do you know?”
“T saw his mom’s ghost and she went to heaven after 49 days”, Poo said of a classmate how had lost his mom last year. I suddenly, felt so heavy on my chest when I heard that. How kids deal with so much tragedy? I almost felt weak on my knees at the thought of how that kid must be dealing with the lose of his mom. Every kid needs his/her parents. At such a young age, this kid has had such a tragedy in his life. He must not even know how to deal with his helplessness and frustration. Not being hugged and loved by your parents. OMG! so much sadness for a little kid to endure.
Then, as I was consoling Neha, I didn’t realize what I was blurting out..
“Maybe you can talk to Papa about another puppy when you are older”, I continued telling. I wish I could take those words back.
Immediately, Poo and Kavya were telling Neha, “Don’t worry Neha, we can have another dog when we get older. Its just going to be 2 years more”.
“We should get a Dalmatian”, Poo said.
“Mama, does anybody have a Dalmatian around our home”, Poo asked.
“Dalmatians can be trained very easily”, Neha said.
“Kavya, even if they don’t listen to you the first day, they will listen to you the next day”, Neha continued.
“How do you know?”, Kavya asked.
“H told me, she’s got a Dalmatian at home”, Neha said.
“Oh…nobody is allowed to go to H’s home”, saying this all of them gave a sigh of frustration.
“Mama, we should get a Dalmatian, we can sell it. we can get $2 for each dog”, Poo said.
“Sell?!!!” I asked so surprised. I knew it was all the effect of the 101 Dalmatians they had been watching in the flight.
“Mama, we should have a she dog this time”, Poo said.
“Mama, we should get a he and a she Dalmatian”, Neha says
“Why do you want a he Dalmatian”, Kavya asked.
“Mama, the baby Dalmatian will not be able to get the milk without the she Dalmatian”, Neha said trying to avoid Kavya’s question.
“But, why do you need the he Dalmatian”, Kavya reiterated.
“Mama, can the she Dalmatian have babies, without getting married”, Neha asks me.
“No!”, I say
“That’s why we need to have a he and a she Dalmatian”, Neha concludes.
“I’m going to read the marriage to them”, Kavya continues..
”do you love this dog ….yes, ….then you are both married”, Kavya continued with the narration making a pouted mouth mimicking a kiss.
“Dogs lick each other when they have to kiss”, Kavya says (Another revelation from 101 Dalmatians).
“I’m going to make a scarf and a ribbon to put on the she Dalmatian” Neha said.
“I’m going to make a hat for the he Dalmatian”, Kavya said
as they continued, I started to sneak out of the room and I could hear them continue behind me..
“Lets pick a name for the Dalmatians, I would choose Sam for the boy…”
“Good Night Mama, could you put the lights off”, Poo shouted as I approached the door.
I know I had got ourselves in trouble blurting out something that will not be practical thing to do. But, I also bought us some time to set things right again.