This has been one of the hardest weeks for our family. Our sweet golden retriever, Huckleberry, went to doggie heaven and the loss we feel is immeasurable. Huck brought so much joy to thousands of people around the world as Huck The Roof Dog. The outpouring of love and support has been so grand. This week has really made me look at how we handle grief and death with our children. My son is 6 and my daughter is 3. Navigating this has been challenging but I feel really good about how we are doing it.
On Sunday night, we brought the kids to the emergency vet to say their final goodbyes. They each told Huck their favorite story about him and gave him so much love. My husband then brought them home while I stayed with Huck for his final moments. I think this was the best decision. Their last moments with Huck were filled with snuggles and doggie kisses and I am so happy that this is what they will remember. At their ages, my dear friend advised me not to keep them in the room at the very end, and I am personally so glad they were not there for that part. When I came home without Huck, I allowed my kids to see me sobbing. I told them Mommy's heart is broken but that we will all be ok. I believe there is so much value in teaching our kids that we have many different emotions and they are all valid and normal to feel, BUT that we all have such resilience.
As the days have followed we have talked about Heaven and what we think Huck is doing and who we think he is with. We have the book "Dog Heaven" and I highly suggest this book if you are going through a similar time. My three year old keeps talking about how Huck died, which I know she doesn't know what that means, and we are allowing her to express it however she needs to. My six year old did a share about Huck at school and read his book that we wrote about Huck. His teacher and classmates then all spoke about times that they too had lost someone important to them. It was really special for my son to have this experience and I am so grateful. When Huck's ashes come back, we will have a little ceremony with the kids.
Death and grief are never easy to explain or navigate with our children but I feel really grateful that we are able to give our babies the tools to heal and grieve in a healthy way. If you have any other recommendations that have worked for your family, please send them my way.