Sunday, September 14, 2008

Of Turtles & Honor

Leaving the beach was especially hard for my husband and my daughter. The two of them hail from a long line of 'Beach People'... You know, those folks whose spirits are energized by the ocean... I call them 'Water People.' My husband often laments over the fear that he will live his entire life never having the chance to "live on the water." I'd simply hate for him to work hard his entire life and never know the joy of living near the ocean. I hope it's written somewhere in the stars his wish comes to fruition.

As for my son and I, we're homebodies... Give us air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter, a place to create and a light to work by and we'll be forever content. So it's no surprise the boy and I are happy to be home. However, not all was as it should be once we unloaded the car and set about putting things back in their respective places.

It started with the hurried footsteps down the stairs, a tear stained face and sobs as my daughter buried her face in my chest... "Neville is dead!" At that point the whole family stopped what they were doing. My husband walked over and put his arm around her, my son stepped in and caressed his sisters shoulder, all of us saying how sorry we were stood there in place for a good 5 minutes as my daughter sobbed uncontrollably. Eventually we all sat together in the family room, searching for the right words to comfort her. If this were our dog we would've been on equal standing with our grief but Sarah & Neville had their own special bond. Because It's difficult for me to sit and watch my child so upset, I attempted to speed up the grieving process by letting her cry for 10 minutes and then asking what it is she wanted to do first. I'm sorry, I was just getting a bit squeamish thinking about a decomposing turtle floating around in the tank in my daughters bedroom. My husband gently reminded me she didn't need to make any decisions right away. Eventually she was ready to discuss burial plans and together we found the perfect box and a soft cloth. I was relieved to see Neville hadn't been dead for too long and appeared to be sleeping. I could've mentioned a taxidermy opportunity lay in hand but imagined it would be especially difficult to turn a dear friend into a first project, so I held my tongue. Once Neville was placed lovingly into his box my husband accompanied my daughter to our newly planted landscaping, dug a small hole, placed the box within and without ceremony, filled in the hole and added a small resin headstone. It was a sad evening for my daughter and the pain was still fresh when she awoke this morning to a tank void of turtle yet still teaming with the four goldfish he hadn't eaten. Does this mean we now have 4 pet fish? Gosh, I hope not.

A deceased turtle wasn't the only unsettling thing awaiting our return however. While going through the mail I noticed an official looking letter for my son, my son who rarely gets mail. Upon opening the letter he informed me it was a 'Selective Service Registration Form' and together we tried to determine what that meant because there's something rather ominous and threatening about the pressure to sign a government form which states 'Failure to comply is subject to a fine and/or imprisonment.' However, through discussion and subtle jokes to relieve the tension, as in, 'Please Print Clearly'... Son said, "Well, so sorry for you." in regards to his atrocious penmanship... My son signed the form and prepared it for Monday's mail. At that point I told him about his grandpa who memorized the eye chart because he knew he wouldn't pass the visual exam to get into the army. Is the world so different from that time to present? I know there isn't a mandatory draft. I don't know if there ever will be. It's difficult for me to look at this boy of mine and think of him as a man. A man who might one day be called upon.

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Blogger santamaker said...

My condolences on Neville's passing. It sounds like he had a very good life...
So, are you ready for HOtlana?
Could you email me your flight info again. I'm sorry that I can't find it .

7:43 PM, September 14, 2008  
Blogger EmBee said...

Hey Santa,
Hotlanta is in my sights... Won't be long now! How 'bout I grace you with a phone call in the morn'... We can catch up a bit and I can give you my flight info... Which I'll have to search out... I know it's around her somewhere in this mess!

8:27 PM, September 14, 2008  
Blogger Blog Stalker said...

sorry to hear about your turtle. Any pet can be a devastating loss to a child. how cool for you guys to treat her so good and allow her to cry.

Good luck with the four new pet fish.

And I agree it is never easy to realize that your kids are old enough to not only make decisions on their own but old enough to carry a nations hopes and freedoms on his back.
I know it is not easy.

Have a great day!

2:25 PM, September 15, 2008  
Blogger lime said...

aww, sorry to hear about neville. :(

as for the contrast between the worlds our grandfathers and our sons are in ..yes, i think it is significant. and that saddens me in some ways.

3:03 PM, September 15, 2008  
Blogger WheresMyAngels said...

Poor Turtle! Glad you didn't mention anything about stuffing it ;)

That letter would of brought tears to my eyes. It is odd, because I don't remember my son getting one, when he was 18. Hope he signed it and sent it off.

6:54 PM, September 15, 2008  
Blogger Stacie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Neville. Losing a pet is never easy. I will keep your daughter in my thoughts.

when that letter came for my son, I was so taken aback. I wasn't prepared for that..though there are days I think boot camp would do him some good, I sure don't want to see him going off to war! YIKES! Thankfully kids these days have the choice our Grandfathers didn't have..


3:44 PM, September 16, 2008  

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