Life and Death

It had been a couple days since I had heard or seen Jackson’s girl hamster named Marvin.  The last time was when we had cleaned her cage.  But usually we see her at bedtime, poking her nose out and having a snack.

I got concerned.  Concerned that she may have escaped.  It was the only logical answer as Marvin was only 6 months old.  I have busted many a neighbourhood child, as well as Easty, opening the hamster habitat to get a closer look at the fast, moving, dwarf hamster. My biggest fear was that I would have a dead, rotting, hamster in the duct work.

I got a little frantic.  I questioned Jackson and Easton about Marvin but little kids’ memories are not the most reliable and they didn’t crack after my interrogating questions about cages opening and possible hamster escapees.

I opened the cage.  I hoped that little rodent would pop her sniffly face out of her home but she didn’t.  So, I started to take apart her little hiding space to find this…

…I didn’t think that I would find Marvin all paws up rigor mortus or I wouldn’t have searched for her while the kids were watching.  Unfortunately, I did and my sweet, sensitive boy was a wreck whilest his little sister was not.

As I tried to smooth over Marvin’s death with Jackson, Easty proceeded to become all smiley and hyper, declaring that her fish Rainbow was alive because she takes care of it.  I was a little perturbed, as basically Easty was also directing that little dig at me, who is in charge of directing the care for the fuzzy little rodent.

Jackson started declaring his love for Marvin and how wonderful a hamster she was.  He was extremely upset and couldn’t believe that she had died because he had loved her so much.  This happened, all while Easty was shouting enthusiastically that “Marvin is dead!” over and over again, as only a little annoying sister could.

The Man tried to console Jackson the best he could, saying we would get another hamster, a Marvin the second.  My sensitive boy didn’t want another hamster, because there is ‘ONLY one Marvin’.  You can’t replace Marvin.

Jackson wanted me to take a picture of Marvin.  As we could never get him to sit still for one, I obliged, hoping to ease Jackson’s pain a little.  I took a picture of Marvin (see above) then I took a picture of Jackson with Marvin in the box.  Easton also wanted to be in the shot.

 Notice anything interesting here? Minus that box that I had to take away, as they both started kissing it. The box that is.

The next day we buried Marvin in the secret spot in the garden and said a few heartfelt words about Marvin.  The Man of course was so sensitive to this, that he kept reciting words from his favourite mob movie Casino, about a “lot of holes in the dessert” and that you should already have the hole dug “or you may be there all night, digging holes”.

I wasn’t quick enough to stop Jackson from kissing Marvin before she was put in her plot and just dropped the lecture about kissing dead hamsters, while my mind went yuck, ew, and gross.  Jackson got all choked up again, saying a few words.  My sensitive little man.

The day after we buried Marvin, I found Easty holding a shovel standing over her grave, just wanting to ‘look at her’ one more time.  I may have to *ahem* exhume the body and dispose of it in another way, to keep curious eyes from viewing her.  I find it’s great that I have children willing to rescue worms from drowning in the rain, find snails and snakes for school science projects BUT  I draw the line at observing dead animals.

What was your first pet? How did you handle the first time one of your pets died?  What do you remember about death as a child?


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