Monday, October 17, 2011

Five Little Reasons and a Funeral.

Joshua spent 12 months asking for a pet bird.  He wanted to be a pirate.  For his 5th birthday, after lots of thinking, we decided to grant his wish.

The week before his birthday, we took him on a special trip up to Brisbane to a breeder of Cockatiels.  We picked up his 8 week old white baby bird.

Joshua was in heaven.

He called him "Mario".

We purchased a great big cage, and lots of toys.  We filled his cage with old branches we had found in the bush.

Mario would whistle to us every morning and "talked" to me through the kitchen window.  He would sit on our shoulders and nibble at our ears.

It was a big shock this afternoon, when Brett went out to give him some fresh seed and water.

We panicked and I quickly put him in a box and shoved him in the garage.  The kids were happily playing in the lounge room, while Brett and I discussed how to proceed.

"Just leave the cage door open and we will say he flew away" was Brett's first reaction.

I wasn't so sure.  Firstly, I had a feeling Hayden had already seen him.  Secondly, I though it would be a good time to introduce death to the Five Little Reasons.

I called on my best friend, who agreed with Brett in the "flying away" option.  At least it would give us a little time to come up with a better answer.... right?

We could replace the bird in a couple of days and say he "came back".  Only problem... he was a rare WHITE cockatiel.

There was also this feeling in my gut that Hayden had seen Mario lying in the bottom of the cage.

After a little bit more discussion, we decided to keep it real with the Five Little Reasons.  Either way, they were going to be upset... I would rather tell them the truth.

 I found a small box (empty) and we walked into the lounge room.

I didn't know how to start.  I looked at Brett and said, "How do we start?"

Brett told the kids about the circle of life.  Everyone is born, everyone lives and one day, everyone will die.  People eventually die, dogs eventually die and unfortunately, Mario got really sick today and he fell asleep and will not wake up again.

Hayden (8) piped up "Is that why he was on the bottom of the cage?"  I looked at Brett {I KNEW he had seen him}.

The tears started pooling in Lucy's (7) eyes.

Joshua (5) crumbled.  His heart broke in half.  He ran to me and wouldn't let go.  "No mummy, he isn't gone.  Wake him up".

Tears streamed down my cheeks.

We just tore our children's hearts out!

I handed Joshua the empty little box and told him we would write Mario's name on it, and they could all write their names on the box and love hearts to show him how much we loved him.

Joshua then asked to see Mario.  I looked at Brett.  We agreed, knowing that he just looked asleep and thought it would make them understand a little better seeing him.

I asked the kids to wait and I brought back Mario in the little box.  Joshua said he looked like he was sleeping and Oliver (almost 3) looked inside too.  He didn't know what was going on at all.

I closed the box and asked Lucy if she would like to say a little prayer when we buried Mario.

We went out the front and Joshua showed us where he would like Mario to be buried.  We dug a deep hole, and Joshua placed the box into the ground.  Lucy said a prayer as we started placing the dirt back over the box.

At this point... the penny dropped with Oliver.  He burst into tears.  He knew.

After our prayers, we took the Five Little Reasons inside for ice-cream.  Hayden stayed outside for a little longer.  He is a private boy and I could hear his sobs from inside.  He hadn't cried before now.

He finally came inside and I asked if he was ok.  I told him it was ok to be upset and to cry.  We hugged and he had his ice cream.

I am anticipating more questions and tears in the coming days.  We have told Joshua that when he is ready, we will go and get another bird.

He has said he will call him "Mario".

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  1. This bought tears to my eyes. RIP Mario.

    For the record, I think you did the right thing in telling the truth. I think some of the value in pets is getting kids used to the idea of death and loss, and moving forward from that.

  2. Oh this is just devastating! So hard for them to understand!

    Poor Mario. :(

  3. So sad... :( I wonder what caused him to die so suddenly though? But I guess with birds you can never really know. They're so fragile.

    Jenny |


I am a Mama of Five. A wife to one. I believe in documenting life using stories. I love telling you mine and would love to hear yours.

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