My children never cease to amaze me. I mean, I almost feel guilty writing this particular post because all four of them are constantly making me proud, but this one was a first and I think it definitely deserves a mention.
Dealing with death is not something you wish on any child, is it? C lost her granny a couple of years ago and she really felt the loss for the very first time. Actually, my heart went out to her then if only because I think she was the only one who particularly grieved. Not to put a finer point on things, but Granny wasn’t the No. 1 Favourite – nor was she any good with children – but she had a special place for C which is not to be mocked or left unsaid. Points for that one, Mum.
But I digress, because it’s not about my mother that I want to talk. In fact, it’s about a very little animal that I’ve been jesting about in a previous post – and if C ever reads this, she needs to know that my mockery was certainly not about her, her situation OR her little hamster, Tribble. I’ve already praised her for looking after him so well. I never once had to tell her to feed him, water him or clean his cage. It was always already done, so full marks there, C. She looked after him and she loved him. Her first pet of her very own.
But even first pet’s die and I was amazed at how well she handled it and I’m so proud that she’s so mature and grown-up, in a situation where she really didn’t have to be. She could have stamped her feet, roared, refused to go to school, demanded a replacement … all of those things. But no! Instead, after 24 hours of wondering if he was dead or hibernating (see previous post on the evolution of hamsters) she admitted all of her own accord that he was in fact, dead and there was little point in taking him to a vet for confirmation. Not only that, but she insisted on burying him herself. She dug the earth, laid him very gently in a snug pile of hamster bedding, covered him up and simply stayed with him for a little while to say goodbye.
So it was only a hamster? I don’t agree with that at all, because it wasn’t about the hamster. Not really. It was about one child’s very personal experience with loss, with the inevitable guilt that comes with it, with the sadness and the ‘shortness’ of life.
I know it’s not the same as losing a close relative, but it was a very big deal and I am truly proud!