Thursday, November 26, 2009


When we buried you, the ground was still just soft enough to break with the shovel, the tip cutting through an inch-hard layer of frost on the surface, winter’s first kiss. The child’s tears flowed as we put your small body, stilled now, wrapped in flannel, on a bed of hay at the bottom of the narrow hole I had chiseled carefully alongside a newly-planted fir tree. Goodbye, sweet guinea, I said, but the child’s body was wracked with grief as she choked on the words, so we left you silently then in stilled dreams.


Poetikat said...

Ah, no, Rachel. That's a shame. I feel for you all. It's so hard to lose an animal friend. You have articulated it so well. Perhaps you will all be united in some eden somewhere some day.

Fireblossom said...

Aw. Poor guinea. And poor you guys. :-(

RachelW said...

Thanks to you both. Henrietta died about a month ago, and I haven't felt able to write about it until now. In the past few months, we have said goodbye to 3 bunnies and one guinea. All the rodents seem to have reached the end of their lifespan at around the same time. We are down to just one bunny and one guinea, and both are elderly. For some reason, the guinea-death was hardest on the children.

Murray said...

I'm so sorry, Rachel. Seeing kids hurting makes it even tougher, and perhaps the frozen ground tougher yet. I know that I won't be able to spread my cat Jasper's ashes until the crocuses brighten up the forest :(

BloggerMouth said...


I never had a pet but I'm VERY attached to all pets my friends have and my favourite Canary - Sunshine just died three weeks ago. I hope they're all with God.

RachelW said...

Thanks Murray. :( I'm sorry you're going through pet losses, too. And yes, the frozen ground does make it challenging for us to go through our rituals.

Bloggermouth-- RIP to your canary, too. That is very sad!

Char said...

So sorry. I lost my 16 year-old Yorkie three years ago, and I'm still not over it. Pets become such a part of your lives its like losing a member of the family.


Rikkij said...

Rach- Maybe the grief of losing out pets prepares us and lessens the hurts sure to come along later. This is the part of love that sorta sucks. Take care~rick

Anonymous said...

Guinea pigs are the only pets I ever really had growing up: one in third grade who we rescued and adopted, another in fourth grade, and then one who was with us for almost seven years. They were the little sisters I never had. I feel ya on this. *hug*

Karen said...

Isn't it an amazing and wonderful thing that we have the capacity to love another species this much? It gives hope.

So sorry, though, that the kids have the grief of their loss.

christopher said...

Holy Moment

Angels have touched us
in this matching of their love,
in this last descent.
It is here we soar
with them most surely,
in loving the tiny ones
with their rapid hearts
and small secret thoughts
who leave us so easily
and so soon.

Woman in a Window said...

I don't mean to be heartless. Really, I'm not. And I will say I'm sorry you lost your pet. That grief is real. But thank god, thank god, I thought it was child being laid to rest. And for that, I am thankful that it was not.


Marie said...


Cherie/ Butterfly Dreamer said...

I love animals so much that I know this pain is as real as any other.*hugs*

Julie said...

I'm so sorry, Rachel. It also made me cry for the little creatures I have buried. Two of our cats died before we moved last year. We were worried about how the move would affect them. One was the mother, and her daughter followed her just three months later. They were very old (the mother was twenty), but I think they knew about the move and decided it was time to go.

I'm very sorry for your loss. Your words are a beautiful tribute.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

We become so close to the animal members in our families. It hurts so much when they die - like a pact with grief. I am sorry for your loss. Your words are like a prayer of love.

Poetikat said...

You need to replenish the group before the last remaining ones pass on. Revitalize everyone - even the elders!

RachelW said...

Char, yes, it does take time, doesn't it?

Rick, I don't know if the ache of it will ever get easier.

Joseph, that is sweet.. I grew up with guineas as well. They are very dear. 7 years! Wow!

Karen, yes, I think it is a beautiful thing.

Christopher, thank you so much...

Erin, I think it would take me more than a month to come to the place where I could write about such a loss!

Cherie, me too.

Julie, that is sad! I wonder, sometimes, if they do just decide it is time to go?

K., thank you.

Kat, maybe you are right about that! :)

Annie said...

We've buried parakeets in cardboard boxes lined with calico fabric. We keep pictures of those parakeets in tiny pewter frames shaped with wings in the glass cabinet in our living room.

Catvibe said...

Oooh... children do not like to lose their little pets. Neither do adults actually, but children take things so hard!