We buried Princess this evening. She was a little white hamster that my daughter chose as her birthday present a few weeks ago. Nobody knows why she died, she was energetic these past few weeks, but in a span of a few hours life slipped away.
Though it was only a little hamster, I cried. I cried because my children's hearts were broken. Kathryn cried herself to sleep that night. Jacob cried as much or more for his sister's pain, than for his own sense of loss.
We had a burial service in our backyard. I dug a hole between two plants near our porch. Bryson, the boy next door, was there with us. The five of us had a quiet moment and then I said a few words. I was about to place the box that held Princess in the ground when my daughter stopped me. "No Dad" she said, "I need to do it." She took the box from me and gently placed it in the ground.
This made me very proud of her. Over the past two days, she had avoided going into the garage, because that was where Princess was in her burial box. It was too painful for her to see and she would start crying again. Still, through her tears, she said that it was her place to lay Princess in the ground. Though she just turned 10, she seemed so grown up to me in that moment.
It was a quiet, intimate time and the five of us share a deeper bond than we had before today.