Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Little Oreo

Just a few weeks ago for Brady's Birthday he got a new little hamster named Oreo. We named him Oreo because he was all black with one white stipe in the middle of his body. He was one of Brady's favorite things and he loved him so much. (I am not sure the feelings were mutual, but Brady never knew!) All the kids loved him. Well, last night after I got off the computer and headed to bed I went to find Oreo, who had been rolling around the house in his little ball all evening, and put him in his cage for the night. I found Oreo's ball, but no Oreo. Saving all the details of the story, I'll just say that sadly little Oreo is no longer with us. The worst part about it is that all the kids were asleep and I was the only one to witness the tragic find. I guess in a way that was better, but I was so distressed over what to do, and what I was going to tell the kids. I frantically called Bob, and he told me that I should tell the kids the the truth, at least the fact that Oreo had passed. I'll let you in on a clue in telling you that we have a sweet golden retriever Maggie that has always wanted to play with Oreo. (that is the part Bob said would be ok to leave out) He also said that I should let the kids bury him in the yard.
Oh Lord help me! I was kind of thinking maybe I could just play dumb and act like I didn't know where he went!!! Ok, I knew that wasn't really possible, but I just didn't think this was something I was going to be able to handle. I knew I had to do it, so I just went to bed and prayed that in the morning God would give me the ability and the words to break the news to the kids.
Brady was up bright and early and of course looking for Oreo. I had to hold him off the best I could until I could get the other 2 up so I would only have to do this once. I called a family meeting on the couch at 7:00. After I told them that Oreo had died, they were all sad, but then the boys threw me off by asking if they could see him!! Bob had not told me this was going to happen, nor had I thought about what to do! Well, I prayed real quick in my head, and then decided that maybe they should see little Oreo and have closure. So, I took them out to the garage and showed them the empty fabric softener box I had turned in to a hamster casket. They both took a look and then Brady said...."it's ok mom, we can just pray and maybe God will make him back alive!" Where does a mom go with that one??? So many questions and so much to explain. All so fast, and with out warning or preparation. I am thankful that God got me through it. It made me realize that anything can happen in life that will just throw you off guard.
Although I was just as sad as anybody to see little Oreo gone, I am thankful for the lesson that I was able to teach my kids today about death. It is something that I was never really able to learn as a kid, and I think that might be why I fear it when I should not. I explained to my kids that the reason we were burying Oreo's body in the earth, is because our body's here on earth are of no use to God. He is only interested in our souls and our spirit which is His. I told them that when we get to heaven, He will give us a new body better than the one we have now. That led the kids to wonder if maybe Oreo would get to heaven and God would give him an elephants body instead or a tiger or something bigger and more powerful. They all giggled and laughed as they thought about what kid of body Oreo might rather have. After breakfast they all made a made a picture with markers for Oreo. I was amazed at how cute they all came out!
I can still tell that Brady doesn't get it. I had read once that 4 was the age that kids realize that death is permanent, but in Brady's case, he still doesn't understand. When I told him after dinner that it was going to be time for us to say good bye to Oreo he again said...."but mom....he is going to come back alive in a few days"
After dinner we went in the back yard and the kids picked a spot in the corner of the fence. We held hands and prayed and thanked God for the time we had with Oreo and asked Him to help us not to be sad. Then we put little Oreo in the ground, and the kids stuck in a little "head stone" that they made with a paint stick. It was painted by them and said OREO with a little cross underneath. It looks so cute back there in the corner.
I am such a planner, and started to get a little out of sorts when this lesson came up that was not in the lesson plan! I am thankful that God got me through it. This probably wouldn't have been a lesson I would have wanted to intetionally plan anyway. Glad He did it for me. God does know me well! :-)

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