It’s no secret that Daughter is completely amazing. I always try to tell people that I don’t think that just because I’m her mom. I’m a teacher, too, so I know a heck of a lot of kids. Daughter is a special person, way down deep in her soul. She sees things in people that no one else does. She laughs harder, gets madder, loves more, and, unfortunately, grieves bigger than anyone I know.
The loss of our old dog has been especially hard on her. She doesn’t always show her pain, but it comes out from time to time. Me? I’m an open crier. I stare at the spot Dog slept in and weep. Daughter, though, does other things. She fights about other things and talks back and gets upset and then breaks and shouts, “I just want my dog back and for everything to be ok again!” As upsetting as it is, it’s one of the glorious and powerful reasons I love her. She feels everything so deeply that I am proud of her heart every day.
Daughter chose to be with us as Dog passed away, and it was incredibly painful. I will not go into the details of our experience; they’re an extraordinarily intimate family moment which I will some day treasure in an odd sort of way. What I will say about the experience is this: Daughter is one of the bravest people I know. She fought every instinct in her body to be in that room, and she blew me away. When it was all over and we asked her if she was all right she responded with one of the most heart wrenching and astute statements I’ve ever heard from a ten year old.
“How are you doing?” we asked. “Are you ok?”
“It hurts to the end of the universe,” she said.
I’ll never forget that. I’ll never forget that she hurt enough to say it or that she was mature enough to realize it. I’ll never forget that she pushed through that incredible hurt, the biggest she’s ever felt, and stayed with Dog as she breathed her last breath. I’ll never forget feeling like Daughter will some day be even stronger and braver than the toughest I know, my mom, because she hurt all the way to the end of the universe and made it out the other side.