A Hamster in Heaven

HamsterMy daughter’s eighth birthday was approaching and I had the perfect idea for a gift. A hamster. I suggested it to my husband and he wasn’t so sure. “The kids are so young,” he pointed out. “What will they do when it dies?”

“That’s part of life,” I answered. “They have to learn about it sometime.” That might sound calloused, but I didn’t mean it that way. I just remembered that some of the deepest things I learned about life and love were intertwined with loss or death. Maybe because it’s times like those that we realize how deep love really is … and how enduring.

We got the hamster. Jessica named him Buttercup because at first she thought it was a girl. (Well, at first it was a girl but that’s another story.) Her birthday gift was a winner and it took a few days for her brain to wrap around the fact that she had a little pet to care for and love.

Buttercup became a part of our family. His bright, inquisitive nature fit in just perfectly. He was very friendly for a hamster and the kids had a lot of fun with him.

You probably noticed I’m writing in past tense referring to the little critter. Buttercup died last night. You know how it is when you know something is bound to happen eventually yet you assume it never will? Yeah, me too.

Jessica was doing homework in my room while I was in their room at the computer. While I was editing, I heard a strange recurring noise somewhere behind me. Finally I tuned into it and realized it was coming from the hamster’s cage. I peeked inside his little sleeping spot and he was breathing hard, labored. His body was unresponsive when I picked him up.

I called Jessica and she cried as she asked me if we could take him to a vet. I knew there was no hope for such a little thing so obviously taking his last breaths, but I wrapped him in a warm cloth and tried giving him water and then ground-up pellet-porridge with an eye dropper. I held him until he stopped breathing less than half an hour later.

Then I held Jessica as she said goodbye to her little pet. I told her about a hamster I had when I was 12, and that I cried when it died. She asked what we should do with the body and I told her we could bury him in the backyard. Then she asked if she could sleep with me, and I said sure.

We prayed for the night and Jessica fell asleep quickly, waking up from her half-asleep state to say something about Buttercup with angels and happy in Heaven. I told her I’m sure he is.

Life on earth. Followed by death. That part of existence we feel will never come and often live as if it won’t, yet still it does. Death. Another beginning, yet so often seen as the final act. The end.

But nothing truly loved is forever lost. And though we cannot see it, the end is the beginning.

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About Bonita Jewel

Bonita Jewel is an author and blogger who writes on a variety of themes, including: Literature & poetry https://danielandbonita.wordpress.com Writing https://awordfitlywritten.wordpress.com Parenting https://positiveparentingblog.wordpress.com Purpose https://apurposedlife.wordpress.com After living in India from the age of 16 to 28, she returned to California with her husband and three children. She is pursuing a Degree at Fresno State University. Bonita teaches community education at Clovis Adult. Her courses include Blogging Basics, Power Editing, Creative Writing, and Working from Home. She also freelances as an editor, ghostwriter, and writing coach. Her greatest passions are her family, her faith, writing, and reading. Bonita Jewel has been reading since she was 2 ½. Thirty years later, she still loves the magic and mystery of the written word. She is slowly breathing life into roughly 50 novels and nearly as many nonfiction works, depending on which plot or character seizes her interest at any given time. Please connect with Bonita at: https://www.facebook.com/BonitaJewelAuthor

Posted on October 23, 2013, in Faith, Pets, Work-at-Home Parents and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. When my oldest was around 5 or 6, she was talking confidently about death and heaven, and what happens when people die. A friend commented to me that she didn’t know any young children who were so comfortable talking about what happens when people die. She said most parents try to shield their kids from the idea of death and that ends up making them more shocked when it does happen. I realized that it was probably in part due to the fact that she always had animals around and at some point, some of them did die. Having pets teaches them about responsibility but also helps with some of these bigger issues. I found I discussed deep things like this more with my kids based on real-life events more than anything else.

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