Good Night, Diana
Last night, amidst some great news about one of my books, my wife and I came home to some very sad news delivered by my daughter, bless her heart.
Her beloved hamster Diana had suddenly passed away. This was her first hamster ever, whom she fed, cared for, and really loved. Diana was a very busy and playful hamster that loved to run, climb, and rearrange her cage, but she would always let my daughter hold her and snuggle.
Because Diana was so busy running around in her cage, she was too noisy to stay in my daughter’s bedroom over night. So we’d move her cage into my office every night, which worked out nicely. The routine was for everyone to say, “Good night, Diana!” Then in the morning my daughter would greet her with a “Good morning, Diana!” feed her, and bring her back to her room.
We were all sad, and wept with my daughter for Diana. With heavy hearts, we laid her to rest in a nice little box lined with her favorite bedding, and offered some nice words about her before saying a prayer.
As I held my daughter while she wept, I reminded her that we were so blessed to have loved such a wonderful little bundle of love, and that God is good, in the happy times and the sad.
Here are some scriptures that comforted us:
“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
He will give “Beauty for ashes.”
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
To some, it might seem trivial–“It’s just a hamster.” But I admit that I shed some tears when I was alone last night, not just because I loved that cute critter, but that my daughter loved her. And my heart breaks for my little girl. I know she’ll learn that ’tis better to have loved and lost, than not to have loved at all,” and what C.S. Lewis taught:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.”
At a young age, my kids have experienced the loss of two grandmothers, the family cat, a dear friend of the family, all in the last few years. But as Diana was my daughter’s very own hamster, I’m sure it feels like losing a child to her. I’ll have to be strong for her, and hold her hand through the loss of her first own pet. But we’ll get through this, I’m sure. And we’ll learn how to handle death as well as life, sorrows, as well as joy, and hellos as well as goodbyes.
So, for now, “Good night, Diana. We love you, and will never forget you.”
Do you have kids who’ve lost loved ones or pets? How did you comfort them and strengthen them through the experience? I’d love to hear from you.
PS: If you like, please feel free to leave some words of encouragement for my little girl. I think it’ll mean a lot to her.
Joshua Graham is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, winner of the International Book Award and Forward National Literature Award. His thrillers include DARKROOM, LATENT IMAGE and BEYOND JUSTICE, and TERMINUS. Graham's works have been characterized as thought-provoking page-turners.
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