Thursday, December 13, 2012
Good-bye Little Terrapin
F had to say good-bye to one of the dear little terrapins (turtles) that our friend generously gave her for her birthday.
She had named him Dylan. Sadly, he stopped moving about and the whole tank got a bit stinky.
Then we realized he had met the end of his little turtle days. (KP, don't hate us! I really did feed them every day and change their water!)
F has been home from school for the last several days sick. Already feeling slightly tender probably didn't help her emotionally. There were a few tears.
Last night, I had talked to my friend at Feisty Blue Gecko (amazing blog: check it out!) about mortality and ritual around death. It wasn't as morbid as it seems...but perhaps that conversation, in particular discussing the helpful Tibetan Buddhist rituals around death, helped me make sure to pay a little more attention to the little terrapin's death.
I asked F if she wanted to put the turtle in the pond to let it go, but that upset her; she didn't want the catfish to eat it. Burying it was what she decided. So we dug a hole under the hanging orchids.
F decided she wanted to paint some rocks and place them over Dylan the Turtle so she could remember where he was.
She did this and then had a few quiet moments saying something to Dylan. She refused to let me listen. I was told to walk away, not look, and plug my ears. Of course, I unplugged my ears to try and hear what she was saying, but unfortunately, she was just whispering away. I don't know what she said, but ohhh, how I wish I did.
She told me I had to say something, too. I told Dylan it was nice he was our turtle for a month and wished him well.
This is only the second time F has really had to encounter death. The first was with my mom's sweet Dachshund, Turbo. That was some time ago and F knew Turbo well. She didn't know the turtle as well and thankfully didn't have the time to get super attached.
Perhaps that's why she's been quite satisfied and seemingly at peace the rest of the day. I also like to think that acknowledging Dylan with a small ritual helped in some way, too.
Have any of your pets died? How have you handled that with your kids?