Losing a family member is never an easy thing to do.  It's just as hard when the family member that you're saying goodbye to is a pet.  Then try to explain that loss to your kids!  Good luck!!

That's exactly what happened in our family today.  My daughter had a hamster named Cinnamon who lived a pretty long life for a hamster.  However, as pets do, Cinnamon passed away in the fall. 

It was miserable having to tell her that she didn't do anything wrong and that hamsters just don't live all that long.  She cared for that pet like I've never seen a kid of her age do.  She fed it, and changed it's bedding and water.  She held it, and genuinely LOVED that hamster.  So when Cinnamon died she knew exactly what she wanted for Christmas.  She wanted Santa to bring her another hamster.

She was good from the fall right straight through Christmas week hoping that Santa would see her good deeds and grant her wish. 

She was ecstatic when she woke up on Christmas morning and found out that he did!

Peanut was the new hamster and my daughter was just as good with this one.  She did everything she could to care for that animal.  But this past weekend must have been Peanut's last day to run on that wheel.  I discovered that she passed away early this morning and sat Madelynn down for "the talk."

So I sat her down and told her straight out, "Honey, Peanut is gone.  She died." 

Her face turned red and her eyes got big and I prepped myself for the tears.  But this time, they didn't come.  She said, "well, I guess that's just what happens.  I'll miss her.  Can you bury her dad?"

And that was it.  No sobs, no screams, just a quick bout of sadness that I wasn't about to dwell on.  I respectfully said goodbye to Peanut and gave her a permanent spot in our backyard.  I guess she may have learned a little bit from Cinnamon.  While I never want my kids to disregard life, it sure was nice to have her understand that sometimes, that's just part of life.

It wasn't long before Madelynn was already thinking about what color the next one might be.

If you happen to lose a pet and you need some advice of how to break it to your children, try out some of these suggestions from Kids Health.org.

[Photo Courtesy of Flickr user mascht_i]