She calls her husband after a day or two and they are just catching up. Most things have been discussed when she asks how the cat is and if he’s taking care of her.
“Oh, cat died,” he says.
She gets upset and, exasperated, tells him, “you can’t just come out and surprise me with it like that. I’ve had that cat since before I met you! I’m not home where I can more easily deal with the emotions of this. You need to let me down easy!”
The husband doesn’t really understand and asks for clarification.
She says, “alright, for example, the first time we talk about it, you say something like the cat is on the roof and we can’t get her down. The next time we talk you tell me you got the cat down but she was up there for awhile and seems the worse for wear – the vet said she’s pretty sick and might not make it. Then, the next conversation, you’d tell me the vet did everything she could but the cat passed on, I’m so sorry. That way, I have some time to prepare myself mentally for what might happen.”
The husband apologizes for his thoughtlessness and says he’ll try not to spring any difficult information on her in the future. They talk a bit more then get off the phone.
A few days later she calls to catch up again. After a few minutes, she asks what’s new.
The husband, remembering she’s still out of town, says, “well, your dad called. Your mom is on the roof and they can’t get her down…”
Edit: my proofreading is terrible.
Thank you u/President_Calhoun !