Yesterday was a long, hard day. The AC's heart is broken and he may never really recover the childhood that he had, and whilst in some ways that's no bad thing because growing up and maturing is good, in other ways his grief was so painful to watch and feel.
After the events of Monday, Lightning had had a good night. He was reasonably chipper yesterday morning, but when I returned home at lunchtime he was curled up. I had to go back to school to get something that had not been returned to me and therefore was in the wrong place, and therefore hadn't come home with me, and when I got back to the house again R was sitting on the sofa, stroking Lightning, who was curled in his hand.
It was clear that he was on his way out. Within 10 minutes of my return home he had passed on, and R and I were both very sad, because he was family, he was entertaining, he was a lovely little chap.
When the AC returned from his father's house, I told him that Lightning hadn't been well, that he had gone down to the Vet on Monday, that the Vet had given him medicine, but that, unfortunately it hadn't worked, and Lightning had died. He roared in anger and grief and pain for over half an hour. He stomped and threw himself as he let his grief out. He questioned his own care of Lightning, he questioned his faith, he questioned my faith, he expressed his feelings ("Mummy I am so angry I want to break all things.") he took himself alone upstairs for a while ("Mummy I just want to have a few minutes on my own to be sad and angry." and he was, literally, distraught.
R was out at a Gov's meeting, so I was dealing with him. Over the next hour we cuddled, we talked through our feelings, he looked at and stroked Lightning, and I let him lead the discussion, the behaviours, because it was his grief.
Ours has always been a family that takes the care of it's animals very, very, seriously. They all see the Vet, even the small ones. They all have the biggest cages we can get them, the best food we can get them, plenty of love and affection, each to his or her need. When we hear about people abandoning animals when they move, it infuriates us. When we hear about mistreatment or neglect, or the belief that they know better than a vet, it distresses us to think of the animal in pain. We firmly believe that we chose to have the animals in our lives, therefore the responsibility to care for them is ours. It is not a right to own an animal, it is a privilege to share your life with one. As such, the AC doesn't see animals as things which can be replaced whenever he or we feel like it, or got rid of when they don't suit our needs or lifestyle or they annoy us. He sees them as family, and his grief was as real for him as the loss of my Grandmother was for me.
I put him to bed and he came down again, and ended up lying on the sofa behind me whilst I marked a couple of books. I told him to try and sleep, and R would carry him up to bed if he did. R came home about 20 minutes later, AC was still awake, but immediately shut his eyes and when I whispered, "Shall I ask him to carry you anyway?" he nodded a really small nod.
R took him up, and they spent a while chatting, and in the end AC went to sleep quite swiftly after that (around 9pm). He just wanted R to share his feelings with, and to talk about what happens next. AC isn't overly bothered about the shell of a body that is left, he wanted to talk souls. Now he knows what I think, and he knows what R thinks, and he knows that they are two different things, but he's fine with that. We're not about railroading him to think a certain way, we're about letting him come to his own conclusions.
We'll see what today brings.
The books aren't marked, he's had a good night's sleep, and Lightning is going to work with R this morning.
There is other news, but it's not important - I can't be bothered with the attitude.