It's 3 AM, and as I sit here writing, my ex-wife is here in my home, upstairs talking to my children in their room.

Tonight was my night to have the kids... I put them to bed, puttered around, and went to sleep myself.  Nights when I have them, I need to get up extra early in the morning to get myself ready for work so we can be out the door by 7 AM.  So I bring my cell phone up and set an extra alarm on it.  Around 1 AM, the phone rings.  It was H.  Her cat, Amos, was having heart failure and she was calling from the vet.  He's 14.  She's had him since he was a kitten.  We were trying to decide what to do about the kids... have them come say good-bye first, or let Amos go, as he didn't have much time.  H. wanted to come over, wake them up, and take them to the vet so they could say good-bye to their pet one last time.  Totally fine, of course, with me, but I did say that I wanted to wake them up so they weren't completely confused.  She didn't seem too happy with that, but I was firm.  Kind, but firm.  Anyway, H. came over around 2 AM, declined my offer of tea, called the vet, and after the call sat on the floor, head down, legs crossed, crying.  I came and sat next to her and put my arm around her.  I didn't say anything.  We sat there for a few minutes.  Without saying anything else or looking at me, she got up and asked to go upstairs and sit in their room to gather herself.   After a little bit, I came up and brought her tea, and asked her to let me know when she wanted me to wake up the kids.

She was up there for about 10 minutes or so.  Came downstairs again without looking at me, and asked to use the computer.  She looked up some Bible verses, then said, "ok," and looked expectantly towards the stairs.  I first woke S., our 5-year old, and told her that Mommy was here and wanted to talk to her and her brother.  H. came in and sat on the bed with S. while I attempted to rouse G., our 3-year old.  It's not easy to wake a 3-year old from a dead sleep.  I left while H. talked with them.  They came downstairs and S. explained that the only reason that she was out of bed was because Amos was going to heaven (now I am crying as I type this) and they were going to go say good-bye to him.  I cannot describe the look on her face.  A look of sadness and bravery with maturity that I might not expect a 5-year old to be capable of.  S. is a extraordinary child.  She was trying so hard, so hard, to be brave, for her pet, and for her mother.  My son, 3 year olds being who they are, was more matter-of-fact about it... in his first breath, telling me that Amos was going to heaven and in the second, talking excitedly about our weekend plans to go to the "ICE place."

The jackets H. had sent them over with weren't warm enough for a 3 AM December excursion to the vet, so I got them something a little warmer, and hats.  I hugged S. and whispered to her that Mommy was going to be very sad for the next couple of days, and to take really good care of her.  I helped buckle the kids in the car and asked them all to take care of each other, and to call me if they needed anything.  I kissed both kids and squeezed my wife's ex-wife's hand, to which she said, "thanks..." and off they drove.  It felt wrong not coming, and H. would never ask.  She doesn't ask for my help with things.  I called her a couple minutes later and asked if she wanted me to come, if she needed support, but she said she didn't, that she would be OK.  It's hard when someone you care about is in pain, and they will not allow you to help.

I remember when her father gave her away at the altar, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Take care of her."  I'm still trying to.  Perhaps that's not realistic anymore.  I'm going back to bed now.  I'll bring my cell phone with me, just in case.


I suppose as we 'change' there are some parts that get even stronger, like our nurturing side. It has to be very difficult to be prevented by circumstance from nurturing those we still love.

Thank you for a sad, beautiful post Faline.


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