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Matt and I are still a bit fried from our week of sinus hell. His having a work all-nighter Wednesday night didn’t help any, either, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

So Friday night when Simon brought up death, I was tired and not terribly excited about being engaged in such a potentially draining conversation. Tristan died seven months ago Friday; Percy seven months Sunday. But he surprised me. Many of the same old tropes came up, but with none of the old emotional distress. He looked and sounded very much like a boy who had achieved understanding and acceptance. Here’s how the conversation flowed:

“I wish Percy and Tristan had the force.

“The force?

“Yeah, so they could come back.

“Oh, I see now. [that would be The Force from Star Wars; it allowed Yoda and Obi Wan to make post-death appearances.] Yeah, that would be nice. But it doesn’t work that way in real life.

“Yeah, they can’t come back.

“No honey, they can’t. But you know what the best way to remember them is? And to honor them? It’s to love Cambria.

“Cambria is young.

“He is. And Percy and Tristan, when they died, were both old. But when I brought Percy home, he was in a shelter living in a cage. And a year later, when we brought Tristan home, he was in a shelter living in a cage, too.

“[excited now] And you brought Tristan home and held him up to Percy, and Percy loved him right away.

“That’s right! You remember! Percy did love him right away. It was so sweet. And they lived long, happy lives. We’ll always miss them, but they’d want us to give another cat that needs a home a turn. So we have Cambria now. Remember his cage?

“Yeah, we have Cambria now. He’s young. Mommy, does he love us a whole bunch?

“He does, Simon. We’re his family now, he’s settled in, and he loves us all.

“That’s good, Mommy. I’m happy we have Cambria.

And that was that. The easiest, least fraught conversation yet about Percy and Tristan’s death. Interesting timing, too, as I spent part of Friday deciding which color crape myrtle I want to plant in my back yard as a memorial to them. And just in case I worried his understanding might be temporary, Sunday the topic came up again and Simon offered this:

“When Percy and Tristan died, Cambria was at the shelter in a cage waiting his turn to have a family.”

By George, I think he’s really got it.

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