Of course, people do react differently to their personal mishaps, depending on their ability or inability to confront evil or death. For sure, life and death bring out strong emotional responses from us all, but we must “live and learn” by them. At any given moment, we all do what we think is the right thing to do, often learning if it was right or wrong only by the opinions of others that cause us to take another rear-view look. But, for Ava, this event piled more emotions on top of earlier losses. Still acutely aware of the harsh impact of not being allowed to say good-bye to those she loved dearly, she absorbed her personal loss and tried to move on; however, the residue of her earliest harsh experiences pressed indelibly upon her psyche, not all to the bad. She found herself better prepared not only for self-preservation but also to face and help children confront the horrendous possibility, or reality, of their animals and pets turning sick and dying, or having to be put down. She vowed to make at least a part of her life’s mission the enabling of parents to be more aware of this kind of loss effect upon their children. Facing possible euthanasia for a sick or dying pet, she discussed with them from her perspective and experience how they could help their child work through terrible losses, which she knew only too well they would experience.
“There was a “place” where I would go when it was time to talk to a family about helping their kids to say good-bye. Not a place in this universe … an area within myself, an inner cosmos maybe. Without sharing my experiences directly, I merely told them that I knew in the future, it would be necessary for their children to have the opportunity to say good-bye, in whatever way they may want. And that this moment should not be made light of or overlooked. It might be the night before, explaining what was about to happen and, while sitting with their pet, talk about what fun they had or a special event in the past that they shared. And if one chose to be quiet, that was OK, too. They may want to draw a picture, or make a time capsule and put a remembrance from every one of the family into it, and then at the right time have a little ceremony and bury the time capsule in the yard with the ashes or near a place where the pet liked to sit and sunbathe. But, above all, they would need the ability to say the last good-bye.
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