Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Angel hamster

Megan found 1 of her 2 hamsters dead yesterday and she was inconsolable. This was her 1st experience in dealing with death and my 1st lesson in teaching her about death. Grief was however not her first reaction. She was more curious and excited rather than sad. I was quite alarmed by that but realised that that's because she hadn't grasped the concept of death yet.

Megan saw the hamster lying uncharacteristically still in the cage and hurriedly called for me to come. After I pronounced the hamster dead and gingerly wrapped it in tissues to be placed in a box, she insisted on examining the rigor mortis body. Thereafter she looked at me doubtfully and questioned how would I know that it's dead and not just sleeping. I assured her that I knew my stuff. And to be doubly sure she understood, I informed her that she will never see her hamster again. She seemed surprise at this revelation even though I knew she knows that the dead will never come back.

It's awful having to explain death to someone so young. It's really difficult to explain why does the dead stay dead and why do people die. Since her school taught her a lot about God and Jesus, I thought it best to tell her that hamster had gone to heaven to be with God. She then asked why does God want her hamster to die. (She's been asking a lot of, why does God want certain things to happen, kind of questions recently.) I told her as best as I can that God loves her hamster and wants to give him the best playground ever. He will have so many exercise wheels to choose from and as many hamster treats too.

She seemed satisfied with my answer and was about to let it go when it dawned on her to ask how does the hamster come alive in heaven again. Oh tricky ......... How does one go about defining souls to a 5 year old? I had to resort to using cartoons to illustrate. "Did the hamster grow wings then?" She asked. "Yup" I replied "You now have an angel hamster to look over you now."
Pleased, she flounced off happily to play, forgetting all about the hamster till it came bedtime. She lies in bed sobbing and told me in between tears that she misses her hamster 'didi' (translates: brother). She tells everyone that she has 3 'didi' - Woofie and the 2 hamsters. Poor girl.

Sadly though, angel hamster doesn't have a name. Meg had given him so many names that we're at a lost as to what is really his name. It's most likely 'Bappy' or 'Bippy'. Or perhaps I should call him ANGEL.

I read from Miko's blog that Desmond's faithful dog, Lucky, had just passed away. I truly feel for them.

May our beloved pets rest in peace and they will always live in our memories.

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