It’s with a heavy heart that…

These are the first photo Christmas cards I have ever ordered

These are the first photo Christmas cards I have ever ordered

...I have to report the sudden illness (read: death, but tell no one) of Luka’s favourite bunny, Lizzie. Just Sunday night Luka was carrying her around the living room, saying things like “Isn’t she the perfect size?” “Don’t you think she is so beautiful?” “She is the softest thing I ever felt.” “Doesn’t she look comfortable on me?” and yes, she did look beautiful, perfect size, soft fur and all.

And Monday morning she was stretched out at one end of her large hutch, with her sister on the shelf across from her at the opposite end of the space. Tessa came round the corner first, said good morning to both of them and knew in a flash it was lights-out time when Lizzie didn’t pop right up.

She mouthed the words over Luka’s head, right in the hallway beside the living room, “I think Lizzie’s dead.”

And she was. She was so pretty stretched out, with her white belly fur peeking out. But she was gone.

In a carefully choreographed series of moves, we got Luka through breakfast, changed and out the door without visiting the bunnies, a very unusual morning for him since he always stops to say hello to them on his way through to the kitchen. I googled around to find out what to do, Graydon picked her up and put her in a Holt Renfrew shopping bag (personally I would like to go out in a Chanel or Tiffany or Louboutin bag) and Tessa, Graydon, Clover and I drove Lizzie to the pet crematorium. It was very, very sad.

Now, the big question? When to tell Luka? I’ve been feeling oddly lighthearted recently, and decided to, for the first time, order photo cards for Christmas this year. You can see the card, above. And that’s Luka and Lizzie on the front. I also made a little photo desk calendar for relatives, with this same photo on the cover. Do I tell Luka that his special bunny bit it and have him looking at these cards on all the mantels of our friends and relatives over the holidays? Do I make a public announcement that Lizzie is sick, and we’ll see how she is after the holidays, then we find out she’s terminal and dies soon after? Right now we’ve told him Lizzie’s eyes were all puffy and runny and she had to go to the small animal vet, where she’ll be staying for maybe a long time until the vet finds out what’s wrong with her.

I know, you’re asking yourself what’s wrong with me, mom blogger? Pets die, kids find out, life goes on. Luka has had fish die, his much-mourned Crabby died, and countless hamsters have died. He cried after every hamster, and after Crabby. Sucker Fish, Froggie, Sir Poops a Lot, they died and he didn’t cry. But his big, warm, loved-to-be-hugged Lizzie? I can’t bear to tell him now, not just before his birthday and Christmas and with the card all over the place.

I’m opting for telling him after Christmas.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: what would you do? what’s the harm in waiting two weeks? how have your seven-year-olds taken the death of a well-loved pet? Please weigh-in, I need all the help I can get.

Thanks, and see you tomorrow!

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3 Responses

  1. First off let me say I’m so sorry for your loss of this beloved pet. It is not easy to say goodbye to our furry family members. However in this case you & Tessa & Graydon all had a chance to say your goodbyes don’t cheat Luka out of his. To wait until after Christmas might seem like a good idea but it is too far away to help you.
    I just can’t imagine how you can hide this for that long and not have it make matters worse.
    You might consider giving Luka one of the photo cards and let him know that you have some sad news to share with him. Tell him that Lizzie being a bunny they tend to have short lives compared with other pets but she had the best life with you (Luka & your whole family) and that no one could ever have loved her more than he did. Let him ask any questions he may have and answer him as honestly as you can. Yes he will be sad. But I think he’d be more upset to find out you knew this news & held it from him for so long.
    He does have you & Tessa & Graydon to lean on & he has your other pets to love on in her absence.

  2. Anne has said it beautifully. How sad to lose such a lovely pet. I agree that you should tell him sooner rather than later. You really won’t want to do it right after Christmas either and maybe ruin those fun family days for him. Sometimes kids get a bit down after all the excitement of Christmas. So, it will just end up being something you put off until well after New Years.

  3. It is so hard to lose a family pet. We’ve all been through it at some time and as much as we will always remember that aching feeling, we all move on. But being lied to … by your mom and siblings … I think that has to be worse over the long haul.
    I can tell from your writing that you will tell Luka the truth with genuine empathy. And the truth will sound more honest the sooner you do it.
    Good luck … Let us know how it goes.

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