Yesterday we went out into the desert to bury a dead hamster. It felt like the sun was leaning over my shoulder with the breath of a thousand chili peppers, basting me with its molten, searing tongue.
I think we need to revisit the issue of boundaries, the sun and I.
The heat wilted whatever sense of grief might have otherwise accompanied the outing. Rather, the mood was one of dark humor mixed with the girls' flagging resolve to brave the elements one nanosecond beyond what was absolutely necessary.
Needless to say, it was something of a no frills funeral.
Not everyone appreciates the importance of a hamster funeral, dear reader. Indeed the death squad has, on occasion, provided me with numerous less sentimental methods to dispatch a lifeless pet.
But I am of another opinion.
There is no prescribed method for grief, certainly, but I think the experience of loving something, even something that is little and furry and smelly, is somehow less complete if you don't see it through to the very end. And whether we laugh, cry, complain about the heat, struggle to dig the hole, and eventually decorate the grave to look like a WWI internment camp is immaterial to me.
I just want my girls to see this thing through. I just want them to be able to do it.