Family Book of Shadows
The Cookie Baking Ritual
Earthwise: Cloth Diapers, by Ember
New to School
Monsters in the Closet, by Crystal
Samhain Dumb Feast Ritual
Spiritual Cleansing 1: Posessions
Watchtowers, Candles and Children
Requiem for a Hamster
Kevin was a hamster. He lived for over 3 years, and was the focus of my daughter's first spell (see Hamster Calling). He was loved by the family (even the cat). I have learned that 3 years is a remarkable lifespan for a hamster. Perhaps the "black bear" variety that he was had something to do with it.
At the end of Kevin's life, he became quite incapacitated. He may have suffered a stroke or something, but he required hand-feeding and cleaning, since he was no longer in control of his body. It really made me think, as we were caring for him. Will I require such ministrations at the end of my own life? Will my loved ones be required to feed me and clean my messes, as if I were an infant? As you approach the Crone, these thoughts occur to you.
This was a slow, prolonged death, so there was time to prepare emotionally. I spoke with my daughter while we cared for him, and we discussed what we would do once Kevin passed on. We talked about pets of my daughter's friends, and what they did when those pets died. We talked about other creatures that had died (like the African albino frogs). She and I planned what we would do at Kevin's funeral.
Kevin passed to the Summerland in November, as I held him in my hand. My daughter was at school at the time. I prepared his body for burial, in accordance to my daughter's wishes. I placed him inside a coffin of paper, and wrapped it with twine. I didn't want my daughter to see his small corpse, because I wanted her to remember him as he was in his prime: vibrant and friendly, and so, so cute.
I took a flat oval stone about 6 inches at it's widest, and scratched a picture of Kevin on it with a metal tool. I also wrote "Kevin, beloved hamster" and the date. Our daughter wanted a grave marker.
I placed his coffin on top of the stone near the door, in preparation of the funeral.
Our daughter carried his body from the house to the gravesite in her flower garden. My husband dug a hole, several feet deep (to keep scavenger animals from digging up the body). We placed Kevin in the grave along with some of his favorite foods, and his favorite toys. Each of us said parting words, and put some earth over the body. We then completed the burial.
We chose not to go run out and get another hamster to replace Kevin. (a cat and 3 ferrets are quite enough to take care of now)