To Love and Lose a Lizard: In which I blather on and on and then turn strangely serious.

May 16, 2011

Tragedy struck the home of one Utah family tonight with the 2nd loss of a beloved pet.

Well, maybe not beloved.  I certainly didn't belove it. But Richard and Harrison went camping on Friday night and when they got home on Saturday Harrison walked into the house sporting a GIANT grin and carrying a very tiny lizard.  Cute, for a lizard, but I couldn't get quite as excited as he was.  Oh, he loved it.  He named it Chris.  We made a little home for it in a jar, but all Harrison wanted to do was hold it.  All the time. Which made me nervous because I didn't want him to lose it somewhere in the house.  I may have all kinds of critters living in my nooks and crannies, but I don't care for the idea of a lizard setting up shop under my settee.

So, about an hour later, Harrison told me that he lost his friend.  He "walk, walk, walked outside and, gasp!  It was gone".  I was just glad it was outside.  We tried to tell him that Chris was now happily living it up in the back yard, but Harrison was convinced that a hornet got him.  He was very upset and kept insisting that we find him.  We mostly distracted him, but he never really let it go.  Aw.

Yesterday we went to my parent's house and, as per the norm, Harrison was walked along the piano keys and looking at the small Christus my mom has on her piano.  I ran over to tell him to stop before he broke something but before I got there he gave the statue a very gentle hug.

I went and picked him up and said, "Do you know who that is a statue of?"  He said "Yes.  Me ask Jesus to bring my lizard back."  We all gave a very sympathetic "Ohh!"  and Harrison told everyone about how he found a lizard when they went camping and then it got lost.  Very heart wrenching.

But guess who Harrison and I saw today?  CHRIS, running across the floor in the office! We both yelled and dove for him.  There were plenty of toys for him to hide behind and under as he ran for it but I eventually trapped him under a hard hat.  I didn't want to touch him, so I slid this pumpkin coloring book under the hat and flipped the whole thing over and dumped it into an empty bin.  But there was nothing there.  He wasn't in the hat and he wasn't in the bin and we couldn't see him anywhere on the floor.   I worried that Harrison's heart would be broken all over again cuz he had been SO HAPPY to see him only to have his hopes dashed.  I kept asking if he was ok and he said yes.  I guess most of childhood is full of such ecstatic expectations and heart breaking disappointments.  He is probably used to it.  And NOW I had a little lizard running amuck through my office!

So (yes, I'm STILL talking about this) I told Richard about it when he got home.  He went into the office and came back holding a rather flat and very dead little lizard.  Darn it.  I'm not sure just how it happened, but we managed to smash him instead of grab him.  So we showed Harrison.  We almost flushed him down the toilet without saying anything to him, but I decided to just tell him.  He wasn't as upset as I thought he would be.  Still just wanted to keep holding him and holding him.  So we told him he needed to bury Chris the Lizard in the backyard.  He seemed kind of excited about that so his dad went out and dug a little hole and they took care of business.  In lieu of a eulogy, Harrison said "Bye Chris.  Sorry we mooshed you."

Then he came in saying "Two guys got buried.  Chris and Boo."  Ok, prepare yourself, cuz it is about to get depressing in here.

Boo is his Grandpa, my father-in-law, Robin, who died just a few months ago. And Harrison had a hard time with it. (We ALL did, but I guess that goes without saying.) I didn't expect that I would have to teach him about death when he is so young.  The day after it happened Harrison and I were driving home and talking about it and I was telling Harrison that eventually everyone dies, and their spirits go up to heaven to be with Heavenly Father and their bodies go into the ground to keep them safe, and it is OK. And he angrily said, "It NOT ok!  It SAD!"

Well, yeah.  It is.

And I was worried about telling him his lizard died because of his Grandpa.  I know it was just a lizard that he had for about 4 hours, but still.

Cuz when someone dies, it is not just their death you deal with.  It is the death of everyone you have lost before, and the death of those you have yet to lose.  It is your own mortality, staring you right in the face.  It is the loss and pain of all those around you.  And you think you will never get over it.

But Harrison seemed to be ok with his lizard's funeral.  He still says he wants Boo to come back alive whenever he sees his Grandpa's picture, but the pain of it is not what it once was.  (Though I cannot write a post in his honor, or tell you the details or really talk about it in any more specifics than this.  I just can't.)

I've had a horrible time at funerals ever since my little sister Gaea died, though of course the old wounds don't hurt like they used to, like they are still supposed to.  Even Robin's funeral wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Not for his sake but for hers.  Certainly not as hard as I thought it should be.  There are some things we should never get over, you know?  But we do.  Curse you, Time.  You heal even those wounds we don't want  you to heal.