Grieving with Ari

I dreaded telling Ari that Pharaoh was gone. He knew we had been trying to find someone to adopt Pharaoh, but Ari did not know the lady was coming Tuesday afternoon. Ari had lost so much this last year. His dad had died, his Mom disappeared. And we are getting ready to move back to Kansas—the main reason we had to find a home for Pharaoh. So this summer Ari will lose a house and his friends.

I said, “Ari the lady from Creswell came to get Pharaoh today.” For a second, he was angry and groaned, “Paaa!” He then frowned and said, “I will miss him.”  When we came into the house, Ari went to the back porch to see if his dog was really gone.

The sun was shining, and it was about 56 out, so Ari and I went outside to play basketball. The gentle breeze carried the slight fragrance of early spring. We were playing horse, but Ari paused for moment and just dribbled the ball slowly while looking around. Then he stopped and quietly said, “I am happy, except for Pharaoh.”

The wise and gentle calm on his face and in his voice startled me. With grace and elegance, he showed me how to grieve without letting go of the beauty and goodness of life. Yes, it is true that after my “except” I have a longer list than just losing Pharaoh. Nonetheless, Ari’s approach to grief is right. It is, I am sure, a more profound insight into life than he realizes.

Nothing has healed my heart more than his winsome smile and wise words. And, of course, Ari made his shot.

About Mark

I live in Myrtle Point, Oregon with my wife Teckla and am the father of four boys. Currently I teach writing and literature at Southwest Oregon Community College. I am a graduate of Myrtle Point High School, Northwest Nazarene College, and have a Masters in English from Washington State University.
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