Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Where Animals Come to Die

Yesterday, the little boy from across the street rang our bell at around 9 am. There was a squirrel in their yard, injured. He wanted me and Em to come and get it and take care of it. Nevermind that I killed a baby squirrel last year--unintentionally, of course. Somehow, we are now the neighborhood wild animal rescue.

Baroy was annoyed, but I shushed him and sent Em off with a shoebox. She returned with an adult squirrel whose rear legs were all twisted up. We basically repeated last week's scenario, except I didn't hold the squirrel, nor did I permit Em to--they can carry disease, and they will bite.

Rescuing the squirrel reminded Em of Biter, so I had to break the news to her. She cried. No, she sobbed. And sobbed. She kept saying, "I wish that I'd known sooner so I didn't tell everyone that he was with a woman who would take care of him." And then she said, "I wish sometime we could take care of a hurt animal that lives."

(She calmed down a bit eventually, but only after I copied my post about Biter and printed it out. We found some images of opossums online, and made a "book" out of it. It was so sweet.)

That wish didn't come true this time, either. We buried the squirrel this morning; he'd died sometime during the night. He's in the backyard now, near my artichoke plant. Em took the stone I have that says "Paradise" on it, and is using it as his headstone.

I'd say that this is it, that I'm not doing this any more, but I know I will. Actually, it was almost worth it, to hear 6-year-old Em explaining to 3-year-old N what death is.

E: "He doesn't exist in this world any more, N. He's not just sleeping. He doesn't breathe like we do any more. He flew up to be in heaven."

N: "I no can fly up in the sky. I no have wings!"

Em and I giggled. That's one of N's special gifts. He can almost always make us laugh, no matter how somber the moment.

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