Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Death Becomes Gwin

Poor Reagan.

When we moved into our new house, we got our first pet.  Well, really, Reagan did.  She was a lovely little golden hamster that he named Gwin.  We bought everything that Petco recommended for her and brought her home.

For the last few months, we've watched her grow, faithfully kept her foodbowl full, and changed her water and bedding.  We've had trouble keeping the girls from throwing in extra chew sticks and such.  But she's been really sweet and fun to have around.

Today Reagan found her curled up on her back, quite dead.  I'd looked at her earlier and wondered if she was okay, but she was alive and I saw no signs of trouble.  That was just a few hours before she passed.  Reagan is so sad.

I went to Petco and bought Max.  Max is a boy, and looks different from Gwin.  Reagan thinks he's really cool, and is happy to have him, but misses Gwin.  I told him that's understandable.

It's been interesting to watch how the kids have handled the news of Gwin's death.  Especially since I saw how things were when Sarah died.  Reagan asked a lot of questions and wanted to understand the physical side of death.  Piper became whiny because she didn't understand what was wrong in the house.  Bridget just cuddled a lot, maybe she knew I needed it.

Now, Reagan is using terms like "passed on", while Piper said at bedtime "Mommy, I'm sorry Gwin's dead", and now it's Bridget who sees that people are upset but doesn't understand why.  Gwin's death has also provided an opportunity to talk about Sarah.  Being happy that Max is here but missing Gwin is normal.  I'm happy that Ciaran is here, but I miss Sarah.  It also brought up what we believe about death, how grief is allowed, and the hope of heaven.

I think Reagan will get so much more out of pet stewardship than how to deal with death.  But this was an important lesson as well.

Thank you, Gwin.  We'll miss you.

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