Goodbye Mog is one of a lengthy series of children’s books by Judith Kerr. We’ve been using it when talking to Little Man about our fur baby, Oscar, passing away. LM is nearly five years old, so enough to notice and ask questions, yet he’s still young enough to have a limited ability to actually grasp the subject fully.
I’m quite open about the fact I’m not of any religion and, in particular to this topic, I don’t believe in heaven or hell. I’m quite happy with living my life this way and I’m respectful of what others believe and practice. My philosophy is and always has been, if you’re a good person then I’ll be your friend. Hubby was raised as Catholic but you’d be best to ask him directly about his views, I’m not going to speak for him. I won’t be teaching my children about a God, I’ll leave it up to Michael to pass on what he thinks/feels. Our plan is to leave it up to the kids to decide what they want to believe when they’re old enough to make an informed decision.
I didn’t set out to discuss religion in this post because my blog isn’t about that, however it is something that needs to be said because it does come into how we all individually talk to our children about these kinds of things. Each one to their own and all that.
Little Man came with me to the animal hospital with Oscar, so he knew he was sick. We had a friend watch the kids while Michael and I actually said our goodbyes and put him to sleep though. When we arrived home, LM was naturally full of questions. As Hubby dug the grave, Oscar lay in a calico bag in his carry basket and our son asked to see him.
What followed was a day of crying, some hysterics and repeated questions about what had happened. We handled it to the best of our ability and, I reckon, we did okay.
The Mothership reminded me of this book over Skype. I refamiliarised myself with it and thought it was pretty perfect for our situation and how we wanted to explain it all further.
The thing I like most about this book, is that it addresses death without any religious or atheist connotations. It’s simply a nice story that, I think, is a gentle introduction for children – especially in regards to losing a pet.
The illustrations are lovely and the plot has an easy flow to it. Basically Mog decides she’s tired, dead tired and decides she wants to sleep forever, but a bit of her stays awake. The family mourn but are unaware Mog is still watching over them because they can’t see her. One day they get a new kitten (coincidentally for us, a ginger kitten!) and Mog helps it become the new family pet. Finally knowing that everything has settled she flies off into the sun.
I knew it,” thought Mog. “I knew they’d never manage without me. They’ve got themselves the wrong sort of stupid kitten…”
The only con in my eyes, is the use of the word “stupid” when describing the new kitten. I change this to silly when I’m reading to the kids. I also change Mog to Oscar and the other characters to our names to make it more personal.
I highly recommend this book, especially if your feline friend has departed. I think it’s a good way to broach the subject of death regardless if you want to teach your children about heaven or not.
Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr can be purchased here (I may earn a teeny tiny commission if you click on this link). This is also not a sponsored post in any capacity. I’m just all for sharing things that I think can help other parents.
Have you had to have a talk of this nature? How did you handle it? Do you know of any other tools or books out there like this? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts.