23 August 2010

unschool monday :: life lessons

I had intended this week's post to be a round up of some of the awesome science experiments and stuff we did in the last week for science week... Then life happened. On wednesday night, just after Huz had popped out for a bit, I discovered Leslie Feist (the guinea pig) had passed away. Huz came back home and we broke the sad news to the owlets who were soaking in a bubble bath. Immediately upset, sad, worried, they hurried out, into towels and wanted to see her. They spent some time patting her, observing her cold body and eyes still open. They checked on Martha Wainwright (the guinea pig), her sister. Tears rolled. Big owlet didn't quite know what to do, so I suggested drawing a picture - something that always helps focus and calm her. Little owlet helped Huz with the body and joined in with the art, as did I. We chatted about the pictures we'd made and there were a few tears before bedtime. The first pet death can be a big deal, but I think its so important to honour it for them. Big owlet proclaimed it the saddest week of her life...

The owlets have coped with a fair amount of grief in the past eighteen months. They touched their tiny brother, Pippin's hand after his too-early arrival last year. They watched us grieve him and felt it too. Its always been important to us that we are honest and open with the owlets about death, just as we are with birth and life. We don't hide grief from them and support them in expressing their own grief. Its another life process and we've had some really wonderful conversations as a result.

Fortunately, we were reminded of the circle of things with the whale birth and morning of whale watching that followed, the very next morning... which was proclaimed the best day of big owlet's life (she tends towards the dramatic side). We buried Leslie in the garden, under a sapling that grew from a beautiful tree that fell down about two years ago. More reminders on that beautiful circle that life is. We are on the lookout for a new friend for Martha and so it begins again... But they'll always have a spot for Leslie and what she taught them.


  1. oh no! first pet deaths are so sad :( hope the girls are feeling a bit better today.

  2. Big hugs to your little family Lauren, I remember finding my first pet - a guinea pig - dead when I was nine and the stricken grief and sobbing :(

    I'm so glad that the mama whale chose that night to birth.


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