Gracie recently celebrated her first year with us. We even baked a hamster friendly cake - honey not sugar and full of the nuts she loved. We had been treating her for an eye infection and she had been quite lethargic as of late. We noticed because she was always so full of life. Even when we were giving her eye drops she never complained or nipped. And she seemed to be pulling through, but yesterday Sharon noticed that she seemed to be getting worse again. She passed away in her sleep, the girls found her in the morning. She looked so peaceful curled up.
I found an appropriately sized box which the girls decorated. We all wrote messages for Gracie on the box and placed her in there with lots of shavings, just the way she liked to sleep. We also gave her her salt lick and a wooden heart she had for chewing. I dug a deep hole in the garden (about 2.5 feet) and we spent some time sharing the things we liked most about Gracie, good memories. I loved the way she would crawl all over my arms in the evenings. We capped the burial site with some stones the girls had painted at a vacation bible school they attended this summer. I think they were supposed to make images of Jesus or the cross - but my kids never do what you expect, they had both made pictures of Gracie. So these serve as a fitting reminder of the hamster we loved so much.
It is a good opportunity to learn how to grieve together. Hard as that is I think it is an important part of life. Life is fragile. My youngest asked me if I thought Gracie would go to heaven. I asked her if she believed that God loved and cared for all God created. She said she did and I told her that was her answer. I am really aware that what we say about the dead is always for the living - her final words to Gracie were about being happy in heaven. Many, many tears were shed today, and I imagine more will come tonight.
Rest in peace Gracie, you will be greatly missed.