When I was a child, I was surrounded by pets.
Losing a pet was incredibly hard, but I look back on the experience and am grateful I had the chance from an early age to love, lose and experience death.
Master S had a pet rat.
His name was Charlie.
He was a beautiful rat and for the past few months, both he and Charlie became best mates.
On Friday afternoon, I gave Charlie a pat, and noticed he'd been looking depressed.
He had a companion named Amelia, and since discovering Charlie was actually a boy,
we had to separate him and Amelia.
He did not take too well to the loss, and unless he was being played with by Master S, he seemed quite lonely.
Half an hour after my pat, Master S asked to play with "Charry" [as he called him].
As I've gone to grab him, I noticed he'd gone on to the grand beyond.
I took the cage outside, where Hubby buried him, I cried and was stuck as to what to do.
Explain to my nearly three year old that his best mate was dead?
Or replace him with a look alike my Mum has and hope he wouldn't notice?
I replaced the rat.
I didn't tell Master S the new rat was Charlie.
But when he asked to play with "Charry" the next day, he knew that the new rat was not "Charry".
He put his hands on his hips and looked me square in the face.
"Mum, where's Charry?"
As his speech has been quite delayed due to hearing loss,
I was so proud of the grown up way he asked me where Charlie was, that I decided to tackle the truth with him and try to help him understand.
I told him we needed to sit down and have a talk.
He sat with me, looked me in the eyes and listened to my speech about Charlie going to sleep and being in Heaven, where Poppa was up there looking after him forever.
After I was done I told him he had a new rat whom he could give a name, and hopefully he could love her as much as he'd loved Charlie.
He looked serious, then brightened, and said "Okay Mum" gave me a kiss and grabbed his new friend out of her cage.
He didn't cry.
He accepted death as it is.
A fact of life.
I appreciated the opportunity to love and lose as a child,
and hope my kids will feel the same,
but bloody hell, it sucks!