Thursday, 13 March 2014

Life and Death through the eyes of a child

Seems like a very dark topic to start the morning with its not something that everyone like to think about or even talk about, but sadly last night we lost a dear part of our family my sons pet rat, now we have had 2 other rats pass over the last 2 years unfortunately they only live on average for 3 or so years but they make the most amazing pets, they are so intelligent and great for teaching your children how to be gentle as well as responsible, their upkeep is also relatively cheap so in general and all round amazing animal to have in the home.

In any case the two rats that passed a while ago 'thankfully' passed away while my boys were at their dad.... this time however I woke up went to feed the animals (we also have 2 cats) and poor Bonnie just wasn’t looking good at all she had been sick for a while but I just knew today was her day, I changed her cage gave her some love and sure enough when I returned from work she had passed away, I didn’t say anything instead when the kids went to bed we buried her alongside her parents in our garden and said nothing to the boys.

Then after bedtime last night I slipped out to the store quick and came home to a very distressed looking husband as well as a hysterical child my eldest who as I have said before is my most sensitive had asked where Bonnie was and my husband had told him now as soft hearted as my husband is he is not generally very good at expressing these types of things he is also not English by birth so he struggles in general to explain, the more he tried the more upset my son became. I sat on the bed and explained that she had been sick and was also old he looked at me and said but then Gambit and Kali will get sick to cause they are old and what about you and uncle and and and...... he was so upset he has not had to deal with death at all in his life thankfully, so I explained to him that unfortunately rats are small animals with small hearts and they don’t live very long, cats live a bit longer and we as people generally tend to live for many years to come but that unfortunately sometimes things happen we get sick or hurt and that is life, he asked me where they go and I said they go to sleep they are free from pain and they are happy together with everyone else who has passed on, it may not have been the best explanation some might think that I was too harsh in explaining that it is life and it will happen to everyone one day it was a very heart-breaking thing to see my son crying his little heart out, in general I find myself to be very cold in these situations I prefer to grieve in private but there I sat crying with my son not because of poor Bonnie the rat but simply because the innocence of his heart had just broken a little more, I do not believe in heaven however my son does and that is fine I explained that they have gone onto a special place he asked if it was heaven and I said yes, death is a fact of life I am not going to tell my child some fictitious made up bull however I do believe that he needed to make some sort of picture in his own mind so that he could grieve properly and move forward and if he wants to believe in heaven and that helps him then that is ok.

Children are innocent but as they grow older the life lessons they learn break this innocence down in an attempt to survive and protect ourselves we tend to build a wall against emotions and empathy and prefer to keep to ourselves not letting anyone in. Gabriel on the other hand I have to say didn’t seem in the least bit phased at all and in a way I am glad because that means that for him the time hasn’t come yet to learn this life lesson..... Everything dies everything is dying from the moment we are born we are dying it’s the circle of life it cannot be changed

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