Several people have wondered how Huck took the news that Scoot died. The simple answer is, he took it well. But that's a pretty boring blog post, so I'll elaborate.
Unfortunately, Huck is not completely unfamiliar with death. One of our cats died when Huck was almost 2, his Nana (Stephen's Mom) died when he was 2 1/2 and his Aunt Gretchen earlier this month. Plus, we live in the country so he's also seen lots of dead deer, snakes, birds, mice and other little critters, some up close and personal.
Our explanation of death so far has been to say that your body stops working. Your body can't walk or run or see or talk anymore. It happens when you are very ,very old or very, very sick (as opposed to sick with a cold) or your body gets hurt very badly in an accident. This all makes sense to him in the context of what he's seen with animals.
Huck knew our trip to Texas was because his Aunt Gretchen died. When we told him the news he asked, for the first time, "Where did she die to?" Heavy. We said simply, "We don't know." Our thoughts about the afterlife are murky at best and our spiritual beliefs are very non-dogmatic so this felt right and honest to us. The main thing we tried to convey was a sense of normalcy about it. People and animals die sometimes. It just happens. We will always be able to look at pictures and remember them. Yes, it's sad but it's okay to be sad.
My wonderful sister-in-law Gretchen
when she met Jemima on our big April road trip
Huck tried acting sad for a minute and then asked for a snack. There. Discuss death with 3 year old? Check. Sorry to be flip, but what else can you do? You do your best, and move on. I happen to think details and euphemisms are scary for this age. I say keep it simple, easy-going, brief and honest.
Then we came home from Texas. And we found Scoot. You could say it was really piling on for the poor guy but, on the other hand, it might have allowed him to process his feelings a little bit, too. See, Huck did not go to Gretchen's funeral or see anyone crying uncontrollably at any family events. Even so, he did mention her a few times. He'd say, "But Aunt Gretchen won't be there because she died, right?" And we'd tell him, "That's right," and reassure him of all the other people who would be there. I mean let's face, he's 3. He doesn't really understand. But you can't just pretend she went to Paris.
He asked if he could look at Scoot. So we looked at him. We talked about the way he didn't move. Huck wanted to get his magnifying glass. I let him.
Yes, the nest may have been clean, but the floor? Not so much.
"Goodbye, Scoot. You were a good little bird."
Then Huck was off to play again.