“Go look along the road in the ditches,” I told my younger daughter. Periodically, she'd walk outside to call Luna. She asked the neighbors to be on the lookout. The kids checked the basement and searched the barn.
Right before supper, the younger children set off on yet another road search. Just as I was setting the bowl of pasta on the table, I heard loud crying and ran outside. There was Luna, very dead, in my (also very dead) flower garden.
“She's frozen,” my son sobbed. 'She was in the neighbor's driveway and she's frozen!”
How traumatic to find your pet dead by the side of the road and then to carry her home in your bare hands. The poor boy. (Mercifully, there were no bloody injuries, and no one witnessed the accident.)
Supper grew cold on the table while I went from room to room cuddling with each tearful child and my husband put Luna in a box. The children didn't want supper and only picked at their food. My younger son popped up from his chair to make a sign for Luna. Sobbing punctuated everything.
After the meal, I whispered to my husband, “I am so glad I don't have to be here tonight. Good luck.” And then I added, “You better not watch any Dr. Pol episodes tonight. Animals are always dying in that show. It will set them off.”
“Yeah,” he said. “I think we'll start off the evening by reading Old Yeller, followed up by Sounder, and then we'll finish off with Where The Red Fern Grows.”
Dobby (and Luna)
When I returned home, my husband reported that they had buried Luna and then watched a mindless, funny little video. It hadn't been too bad.
But then at four o'clock this morning, both of the younger children relocated to our bedroom floor—with “I miss Luna” sniffles—where they tossed about and whispered to each other for a couple of hours, at which point I lost my compassion and ordered them back to their room.
This same time, years previous: what will I wish I had done differently?, all by himself, dunging out, and let's talk.