Friday, June 29, 2007

3 Year Old Grief

The IL's dog, Josie, died a few weeks ago and when we told Caroline, she was obviously confused and worried. She asked a lot of questions about why Josie died and how Josie died. We also talked about how Nana and Big Dad were sad about their dog dying and how they missed her. Caroline expressed a little bit of sadness, but for the most part it was a lot of questions as you would expect from a 3 year old dealing with death for the first time. (Well, I guess the death of something real and not like an ant or other bug that she takes pride in "killing.")

When I got home from work yesterday and was up in her room getting her overnight bag together, we were talking about how she was going to have fun at the IL's and how she'd get to see all their cats. Of course, this made her remark that Josie wouldn't be there. And then it started:

"I don't miss Josie. She was a naughty dog. She had to stay in her crate because she was wild. I wanted her to die. I didn't like her."

WH-WH-WHAT????? I told her that I know that wasn't true since I know she liked her a lot. But that was all I said because I knew that this was not how she really felt. Then after thinking about it a little bit I realized that this is part of her grieving process and this is probably a lot like the anger phase of grief that adults and older children experience. Kind of like, "Well, I don't care that you died b/c I didn't even like you anyway....."

She never shed any tears about it and I know that she really did like Josie, but it was kind of sad to hear her say that. This morning when I called up to the ILs to see how everyone was, Kelly said that all Caroline had said regarding Josie was that "Hey, what happened to the crate?" And then later on she didn't understand why she didn't get to go on "poop patrol" with Big Dad in the back yard like they used to do. (For some reason she enjoyed that!)

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