He dropped Zach off at child care, then picked Bessie up from the vet, brought her home and dug a hole for her to be buried. He didn't want Zach to see Bessie dead. Zach was nearly four.
Four years later Zach still asks about Bessie whenever the topic of death comes up. I told Zach that Bessie was dead, explained as best I could, he didn't understand until a year later when both guinea pigs Sophie and Louise died. When he saw what dead was, and that they were being buried, he wanted to know where Bessie was buried. A few times he tried to dig her up, he wanted to see her. He never tried to dig up Sophie or Louise, I think because he saw them dead, he saw them buried, case closed.
Friday night I discovered Inky the Siamese fighter was dead, sunk at the bottom of his bowl. Zach howled and wanted me to call the fish hospital. We left Inky in his bowl that night. That night we talked about what happens at funerals. I said people say prayers and talk about the person who died, usually nice things are said. Zach liked that.
Saturday morning, we found a little box, put in some cotton wool, a bit of fabric, laid Inky inside, then another bit if fabric on top off him. We were having visitors that morning, so the funeral would have to wait until the afternoon. Zach took pride in showing a dead Inky in his coffin to our visitors. Zach wanted a tombstone, so I found a big flat Pebble from the garden and wrote Inky with red nail polish on it. Zach wanted numbers on it, but no room for dates.
He choose a spot under some flowers for the burial site, daisies.
He said "Dear God, Inky was a good pet, in Jesus name, Amen." I like it, he combined eulogy and prayer, Mr Efficient.
The next day he asked again about Bessie dying. I asked him if he would feel better if we gave Bessie and the guinea pigs tombstones, yes he would. So I found a few more stones and wrote their names on them. First to the area by the front door "Dear God, Bessie was a good pet, in Jesus name, Amen"
I asked Zach if he felt better because we gave our pets tombstones
"Yes" then he went off to play in the toyroomI think the ritual of a funeral and saying good bye is needed, sometimes even for a fish named Inky