Two weeks ago today our cat had kittens. Four. One was still-born, which my husband disposed of into the garbage can. 24 hours later another kitten died. This time, mother cat, Phillie, had taken the lifeless body and hidden it under a part of her blanket. Grandma and my eldest son made the discovery, while visiting the new brood.
Grandpa became the undertaker and pulled the corpse (not sure if this is the appropriate term for a deceased cat body) out from under the blanket. He then laid it into some kleenex from his pocket, and allowed my boy to carry the kitten out of the shed.
"We've got to have a funeral," my 5 year-old said, and came to gather the rest of the family - which included myself, grandma, grandpa, and the 2 boys.
As we determined to bury the kitten under a tree, along the fence-line, the "processional" began. The undertaker and his assistant were already armed with shovels for the task at hand.
Once the hole was dug, my eldest carefully wrapped the cat in the kleenex. It was interesting how the recent focus on the Easter story gave him an understanding of how to wrap a dead body.
The cat was laid to rest. Dirt was returned to its place and the grave was marked with a paint stir-stick found laying nearby.
"We have to sing and pray," were the next words from my son's mouth, "and he needs a name."
So we named the kitten BJ - Bandit Jr. after the father. The first song (sung to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb) went something like
BJ was a little cat, little cat, little cat
BJ was a little cat, who lived for just a day...
I can't remember the other verses, but the mournful song seemed to strangely amuse and comfort my boy.
Next came a prayer - thankfulness to God for his creation, etc.etc.
And then we had to hurry on our way. This whole incident had interjected our plans, as we were getting ready to go to the library and run some errands.
"So, let's get going," mommy urged, "you can get your marker and write BJ on the stick when we get back."
I thought the incident was literally "laid to rest", but stay tuned for part 2.