RIP, Snips Padawan

Our hamster Snips (full name Snips Padawan) died late Friday night. Snips has been the best pet: totally social and playful, falling asleep in laps, riding around on shoulders. She hung out with me so much she learned how to use my BlackBerry and my laptop.

I decided not to tell my children about her death in the morning since we were going to a fun event and I knew they were going to be devastated.

In the afternoon, a bit after we came home, my eldest son went over to Snips' cage to say hello, and he discovered that Snips wasn't breathing.

He cried. My youngest son cried. I cried. My husband went out to the backyard to dig a hole.

We buried her in our backyard in a Trader Joe's organic chamomile tea box. Through their tears my sons filled the dirt back into the hole and then decorated her grave with sea shells they collected the last time we were in Santa Barbara.

Afterwards, we headed to the Griffith Park Observatory to watch the sunset. As the sun sunk below the horizon, I talked to my sons about how nothing lasts forever, not even the beauty of a sunny day. We talked about how that's the way of the world, it's what happens, and it can be a beautiful thing.

Every time we have a pet death I think about how much tougher it's going to be when someone close to us dies, a friend or relative, someone they know. I hope we can always remember through our tears that death is ultimately a beautiful thing.


Mandy (darkzoo) said…

Sorry to hear of the passing of Snips, however I've always felt that the having, loving and inevitable passing of pets is the best way for children to understand about life and death, and prepare them for the big stuff.

I do remember however the passing of my son's first guinea pig, we had tears, and a big talk about dying, and a very solemn and tearful burial ceremony in the garden.

The next day he'd sneaked all his friends into the back garden and dug her up to show them! I couldn't help but see the funny side.

Anonymous said…
You have two lovely sensitive children, they seem so sensible and grounded. The lessons of life are amazingly graceful and full of wonderful learning opportunities. You, and your husband, seem to be discerning, kind and compassionate parents, which has allowed them to grow into fine young citizens of this world - hats off to thoughtful and skillful parenting, oh and the love of animals!
Jen said…
I'm so sorry to hear of Snips's passing. I'm glad she was such a good companion, and that your boys are learning of death in a relatively gentle way.
Liz Dwyer said…
That is really hilarious that your son snuck back to the garden to show his friends. Love it.

I definitely think these pet deaths are a preparation of sorts and a way to teach them that death is a natural, normal thing, even if it's difficult and sometimes sad.

Thank you for saying so. I love my boys very much and I admire them so much for who they are and who they're becoming.

She was a real sweetheart. I was so sad to take apart her cage today. My youngest broached the idea of a bunny this afternoon. I don't think I can deal with a bunny!
1969 said…
Awww. My condolences to the boys. I bet they were heartbroken. I know Snips was truly loved.
Liz Dwyer said…
Yeah, they were pretty sad. Still are. My baby has taken to sleeping with a stuffed animal reindeer because he misses Snips. 1st time in his life he's EVER slept with a stuffed animal.

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