Little Marshmallow died yesterday morning, slipping away quietly and peacefully. I had gone up to check on him about every 10-15 minutes all morning, talking to him and stroking his head. I think he knew someone was there because after each stroke he moved his head slightly.
Princess didn’t find out until after school, and wept when I told her the news. She couldn’t go alone to see him so I went with her, holding her hand. Marshmallow looked very peaceful wrapped in the washcloth, and I reminded her that he knew how much he was loved. Princess wanted something soft, with bright and cheerful colors to bury him in, so we looked through my flannels. She chose “Funny Frogs” and there was just enough for Marshmallow, plus a few extra pieces for his scrapbook and for Princess to keep.
Teacher dug a hole near the old cement sink that the girls fill with flowers each summer. They cut some of their flowers to lay around Marshmallow and for on top of the grave. Eventually Princess plans to paint a rock as a memorial and grave marker, but for now there’s a brick covered with flowers. We asked her if she wanted a new hamster, and at first she wanted one Friday night. But when it was time to go she changed her mind and wanted to wait until today.
She thought that she was ready today, but couldn’t bring herself to clean out Marshmallow’s cage. Late this afternoon Teacher cleaned the cage for her and we packed the family into the car for a trip to the pet store. We knew that getting a new hamster for Princess to love would help her to heal.
Princess oooh’d and aaah’d at all of the hamsters in the pet store, but her heart was stolen by a little black and white one. Before we left the small animal area she’d named him Oreo and was giggling at his little pink nose poking through the box’s air holes. When we got home the first thing Princess did was take Oreo out to visit Marshmallow. She came in the house sad, but eager to play with Oreo. He’s adorable, soft, sleek, and amazingly full of energy!
Marshmallow will never be forgotten, but we’re happy to have Oreo in our family now.