And then it happened (Marcus Bayiates late 2013 – April 22, 2017)

You burst into my room in tears on a Saturday morning. “Daddy! Marcus is dead! He died!”

“Oh, baby!” I found myself blurting before I had even opened my eyes. This was the second time in my life I’ve been woken up to the sound of a fresh death lament.  I threw off my CPAP, jumped out of bed and followed you into your room. Marcus was very obviously dead, stuck with rigor mortis into a permanent stretch.  We surmised that he must have died in his sleep. Or rather woke up, crawled away from his den and died.

You were crushed, of course, and we hugged. You pulled him out of his cage. After I ran downstairs to get mom, we came back into the room to find you cradling him in your lap, petting him. We eventually got you to put Marcus on some Kleenex on top of a pillow on the floor of your room (like he was having a wake), and we closed the door to keep the dogs out while you worked on a coffin.

All that worry and anxiety (which by the way, has not subsided one bit since I mentioned it in a previous post–if anything it just increased) did not in any way compare to the simple, brief, absoluteness of his passing. You recognized it yourself. You had trouble putting it into words but essentially communicated that the worry was much bigger than the mourning.  That’s life, right?

We put him in his coffin. We put his coffin in a bag. We dug a hole outside by your rose of Sharon that you and I both helped dig. We said a few words, and we buried him.

That day we talked about a new pet, maybe some more gerbils after Teddy passes, maybe even a kitten. The jury is still out. And we have to see how Teddy does on his own. You brightened up by the end of the day. As they say, you took it like a champ.

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