Thursday, May 03, 2007

Play Misty - For Kathryn

I've never heard her scream before so perhaps that's why I didn't recognize it at first. Besides, it wasn't really a scream, it was more like a muffled squeal. She'll tell me later that she doesn't know how to scream. I hear her coming down the stairs and I flash to something that's been bothering me for a few days. I really should clean that contraption. It's been quite a while and It's probably my turn. But man, it's such a pain, pulling all that plastic apart, dealing with all that mess, trying to put all the pieces back together again. She's standing at the top of the steps into the kitchen with the little green wheel in her hands and I can see in an instant that my instincts were correct and my heart breaks. Not so much for the life of a small hamster named Misty, but for Kathryn.

Misty was HER pet. Unlike Holli and Tigger who are family pets, Misty was hers. Misty was her responsibility to care for. She lovingly provided food and water for Misty and played with her constantly. The cage cleaning thing required a lot of parental interaction and we weren't very good about that.

Misty was a good sport but Holli was an even better sport when it came to playing with Misty. Kathryn and Jon taught Holli this trick. Holli would literally quiver while standing with a hamster on her head. I think she was afraid of hurting the hamster. Jon always thought she was afraid she would eat the hamster and then get in trouble. Kathryn would roar with laughter.

We spent the better part of last night and all through the night going through all seven stages of the grieving process. I keep wishing I had found Misty and maybe taken a little bit of the pain away - she keeps seeing her tiny dead body.She's worried that it hurt her to die because Misty looked scared. I tell her it didn't. I tell her that animals instinctively go to a comfortable place (her green exercise wheel) to lay down and die and that they die peacefully. Nature then takes over with their bodies. She asks what we will do with Misty. I tell her Daddy put Misty in a safe place and we can bury her and have funeral or whatever she wants. No, she says, I don't want a funeral. That sounds babyish. Maybe I'll just bury her by myself. Now I'm choking back my own sobs.

It's morning. We've each had about three hours of sleep. Jon got more. It seems fair though. He usually has to clean up barf. I'll take the emotional clean-up. This morning over breakfast she's thinking of names for the new hamster. Bubbles,she says. Welcome to stage eight.

April 2006 - May 2007