Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Strength and Vulnerability

When it was time to put Lulu down a couple of weeks ago, you can probably imagine the pain I felt about Ella having to deal with the loss of her best friend since birth. Most things Ella does on a day to day basis are all about puppies. She acts like one as she crawls around pretending to fetch a ball. She draws one in almost every picture she does, and she sleeps with almost a dozen stuffed animal puppies every night. Of course, they all stem from her love of Lulu. Half of them are named Lulu, she pretends to be Lulu and she draws Lulu.

It has been difficult watching Ella mourn the loss of her dog. She was terribly sad when we told her Lulu needed to go up to heaven and be with Jesus. We had been telling her for a week or so that Lulu was really sick and she had been with me to the vet several times. Ella got to be with Lulu for almost 2 hours before we put her down. They layed on the floor together as she watched cartoons for most of that time. Ella laying behind Lulu with her arm around her neck and her head on Lulu's ear. An hour or so after Keith took Lulu away Ella was bouncing off the walls as if nothing had happened. I was a little thrown off, but needed to roll with it.


Since then, the way she expresses her grief is to continue to draw pictures of her dog while adding “I love you Lulu” on each picture. She mentions her several times a day, whether it be that she says she misses her or something like, “good thing Lulu’s not here to be scared of the squeaky dryer” or “good thing we don’t have any Lulu hair on the carpet anymore”. She knows it’s ok to cry and miss her. She also knows that she is not coming back, but that she will be in our hearts forever.

It has been an interesting experience watching how strong Ella can be, yet still be just a 5 year old little girl that I don’t think can grasp the situation fully. The innocence she exudes while coping on a day to day basis is amplified by her sorrow. Keith and I also had a really hard time with Lulu's death, but watching Ella persevere, whether she is conscious of it or not, gives me strength. She is my strong and beautiful, but vulnerable and innocent little girl. I wish I could make everything better for her.


  1. Joanna,

    I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Lulu. We went through a similar loss last year and it was incredibly hard. It will take a while but the pain will eventually subside. Violet talks about Pepper a lot, which is her way of dealing with the loss. Hang in there! We're praying for you guys.


  2. Lovely words of expression Joanna.

  3. Wow... That is a difficult thing. I am assuming Lulu was before kids and she was your first baby (if you well). When we lost our girl- Abby (weimaraner) my heart broke.
    Almost 4 years later I love when the kids talk about her as if she was here yesterday.

  4. Your post made me sob. We have an older dog and I know we will be confronted with this situation soon. My heart breaks for you guys. Ella is such a strong little girl. I am glad she has found her own way to mourn your loss.

  5. *blinking away tears* over here. I don't know what else to say. :(

  6. Oh wow. We already knew how beautiful and vibrant and special Ella is...but also so very understanding and mature beyond her years. Oh sweet girl! how it must hurt to see her missing her buddy. It's been about 4 months since our kitty Blackie dissapeared, and Nadia still talks about her all the time too. she was a picture of her today and burst into tears. Poor girlies. :o(

  7. Oh no. Poor baby. She will one day know that part of loving and living is also losing. It will make her much stronger. She will learn it one day. But I know it hurts to see her hurt. We would be terribly sad, too! Our dogs are such an important part of our families! (Look at those sweet angel eyes.)