Talking about parenting: When a child experiences a loss

Published 3:27 pm Thursday, January 23, 2020

Chris Kovatch

This week brought a new experience to my role as a parent. 

Wednesday evening, we arrived at home after church to find our new kitten behaving rather strangely. He was not able walk well and was having difficulty breathing. 

Jackson and I quickly loaded him up and left for the emergency animal hospital in Beaumont. 

After being checked out it was quickly determined that there were serious issues and they were ones that could not be remedied. We were then faced with the difficult decision of what to do. 

Jackson’s pets mean everything to him. They are family members to him, and the emotional attachment is very strong. 

This is somewhat foreign to me as I have never really become attached in that way to a pet. 

I made the decision that it was in Willy’s best interest that he be put to sleep. He was experiencing a lot of pain and would continue to do so. 

To say Jackson was distraught was an understatement. 

It was at this point that it hit me. My kids haven’t experienced loss. 

Christi’s dad, Ken, passed away when Jackson was 6, Rosie was 4, and Thayer was a newborn. The type of loss didn’t register then.

 I then began to think of how fortunate they are to have made it so long in their lives and not have had to experience loss. 

Seeing one of my kids in pain is torture, but experiencing loss is something that we will all encounter multiple times in our lives. I count it as a blessing that my kids love something enough that they feel loss like they do. 

I know that sounds harsh, but it also shows me that they are thinking about something other than themselves. 

I hope they continue to love people and things as fiercely as they do now. I hope they take full advantage of experiences because we are not guaranteed tomorrow. I hope they have the compassion to see others when they are feeling the pain of a loss.  

As every parent does, I have many hopes and dreams for my kids. 

But overall, I want them to be a good person. If they can pull that off, then whatever else they do will be the icing on the cake for me. 

Being good and being kind doesn’t really take much effort, but the impact it has can be life-changing. 


Chris Kovatch is a resident of Orange County. You can reach him at