Klaus: Gone But Not Forgotten

>> Friday, June 8, 2007

Three months ago, we lost our “first born cat”, Klaus, of 15 years. (Good Lord, this hasn’t been a good year for cats at our house.) Explaining his death to our very small children has not been easy, as demonstrated in the following exchanges. My husband and I have taken the straightforward, death-is-death path without referencing an afterlife. Grandma has presented the “higher” path to the girls which leads to heaven, reincarnation, and sometimes even ghosts.

Who said you have to give your kids only one viewpoint?


Me: “Honey, Klaus has died. He’s not at the vet’s or anywhere else. He’s gone and is not coming back.”

Elizabeth: “Well, can I call him on the telephone?”


“If I catch a mouse, I’m going to bring it to Exene or Meg... or I’ll get in my car and drive to heaven and give it to Klaus.”
Ms. Elizabeth


“I miss Klaus. He’s my friend.”
Ms. Samantha


Elizabeth: “Where’s Klaus?”

Grandma: “He’s passed on, but he’ll always be with us. He’s probably here right now, watching us.”

Elizabeth, with scared look in her eyes: “Where?!”


“I think we should have my birthday party in Heaven. Klaus needs us.”
Ms. Elizabeth


Elizabeth: “I want to die, too, so I can be with Klaus.”

Me (shudder, deep breath): “No, you do not want to die. It’s no fun. When you die, that’s it. You can’t play; you can’t eat your favorite foods; you can’t have any more birthday parties or watch your favorite tv shows. There’s no more Elmo and no more Sesame Street. You can’t run or jump or go down a slide. You can’t do anything.”

Elizabeth: “So you just sit there?”

Me: “Yea...basically.”

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