I am so torn. Even as a grown woman I am rocked when someone or something I love has any sort of tragedy. I am a softy. There, I said it. I love hard and I hurt so bad when people or pets die. This makes explaining tragedy to my 11 year old very hard. In a way I feel like I can only cave in and be emotional in private because I don't want to encourage the dramatics that teenhood has already bestowed on us. And in another way I truly feel like there's a healthy dose of reality in seeing your parents be real and even vulnerable. I know I am not weak because I cry when my heart hurts or when I feel sympathy for someone else. Being strong is just as important as having enough compassion for your fellow man to feel their pain too.
But. This morning when my teeny tiny rooster died of an illness he has been fighting, I cried so hard my chest hurt. Like it was the very first fish I ever had to flush down the toilet. I know the reason that I was mourning the tiny rooster. Because just yesterday we found out my dad had a mild heart attack he hadn't told anyone about and had been rushed by ambulance to the hospital. And again, my father is not invincible. I kept it together. I stayed perfectly calm to explain to the kids that grandpa was having some health problems. I stayed logical and levelheaded and didn't cry when I told my husband about it. And then when I found my tiny rooster calmly quietly asleep forever, I caved in. I sobbed for everything.
Explaining all of this with kid gloves to a child who lives part of her life in an extremely sterile and emotionless environment is very hard. At our house we cry. At our house when we are angry or upset we talk about it together. It must be tough to turn your feelings off and on based on what weekend it is. She has a heart of gold and she's extremely tender so when she feels things she feels about 10% more than the rest of us. It's hard to balance the line between sending her over the edge into a dramatic tween crying sobbing the world going to end episode, and just telling her everything is A-OK. Neither is appropriate in this instance. Thankfully she took my father's heart attack very seriously and held it together and asked me how I was doing which is an amazing amount of compassion for an 11-year-old. We went out to water the garden together and talked about life and death while discussing the rooster this morning. She has a very good head on her shoulders and enormous heart for her age. It amazes me every time we have to have a serious moment. Then we did the usual and she asked about God, I talk about creation and the way that I understand it and we shared feelings about love and loss in very logical terms. And I caught myself just kind of going through the motions because I am really hurting over the last couple days happenings. So at one point I caught myself crying again and feeling the feelings inside of my body I haven't felt since I was a little kid. It's the feeling of fuck this it's all garbage why the hell do people have to die life is unfair. Though I didn't say it out loud and she didn't say those exact words, I know we share the same heartache about it. I've lost a lot of close loved ones. She has lost a few distant relatives she barely knew and one great gram. I think the hurt is the same when you have big sensitive hearts.
I know in my heart of hearts the reason I'm so emotional about this tiny rooster isn't because he was just simply wonderful loving and kind. I know it's because my dad's getting old and with every rush to the emergency room I feel him slipping away from me. I also know that I'm not invincible and someday I will die. A little too much real life tends to get under my skin. I like to pretend these things will never happen because I don't know how to deal with it. In those ways I am in fact too soft.