“He was definitely alive yesterday,” I said to the husband as we both looked down upon the rictus corpse of Messi, the 2 year old gerbil who had mysteriously perished overnight. Next to Messi, curled on the floor sobbing heartily was my 9 year old son who had just discovered the tiny motionless body of his first ever pet. He had found him sleeping forever in front of the coconut shell house that my son had used his pocket money to pay for.
Hearing the commotion little sister ran upstairs and burst into her brother’s room. “Has Messi died?” She asked incredulously. Death has been a popular conversation topic for my 6yr old lately. As I was kissing her goodbye before I went to a wedding in Italy a few weeks ago she looked at me intensely and said: “Don’t die Mummy.” Fortunately I made it, but here we were facing an actual death in the household.
My six year old erupted into tears (which were more theatrical and ten times louder than her brother’s): “You never let me play with him and now he is dead,” she yelled and then held her head in her hands as she let the feelings of self pity and injustice wash over her.
I took the hands of both children and suggested that they both say something nice to Messi.”He might not have got to heaven yet so he might still be able to hear you,” I said. The 9 yr old told Messi how brave he was, especially when he had escaped certain death following the sustained attack from his domineering cannibalistic brother Ronaldo. The six year old said she wished she had played with him more, while shooting a dirty look at her heartbroken brother.
Meanwhile the 9yr old had dried his eyes and had begun creating a coffin for his little pet. His rugby boot box was tipped open and gerbil bedding was lovingly spread around. Messi’s red ceramic food bowl was placed next to his corpse. The box was then gently carried into the garden while we began a discussion about where he would be buried.
As we sat around the table the six year old marched into the kitchen wearing her Doc McStuffins medical kit. “I’m going to fix him and make him alive again.” she declared brandishing a pretend blood pressure monitor that was going to “puff air back into him”
I could see where she was coming from. Messi in eternal life did look a bit deflated. We gently explained that this would not work, so she turned her attention to Grandpa instead and started fixing him.
After much consideration Messi’s final resting place is now a large ceramic pot containing a white and orange Port Sunlight rose bush, which Messi will feed as he decomposes. He was also white and orange so my son declared this most appropriate. Messi may be dead but the circle of life continues.