This year, our Valentine’s Day celebration is soured by the harsh reality that one of our dogs is nearing death. It has become time to talk to the kids as they also have to deal with a reality that they are not completely capable of handling. Clara has been a constant through very tough times for these kids, including their grandmothers divorce, their parents divorce, and having to come to terms with their parents each falling in love with others.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change anything, even if I could. Death is something that every healthy person has the displeasure of learning to deal with. It says a lot about the emotional fortitude of both children to be able to take so much in stride. Yes, there are tears, fears, and a sadness that fills the house right now.
However, I think it is important for us all to recognize how this kind of loss can help young people appreciate the span of time we have with others. There is such a strength that loss can give someone, especially if they have compassionate, loving people surrounding them as they go through these crises.
I encourage everyone to keep your loved ones close. If you have a mental illness, the people who surround you can make all the difference, and if you don’t have a mental illness, then it is no less critical to have a good support network.