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Was a "pet funeral" a mistake?

My pet parakeet died suddenly today. He was sick for a few hours, and passed away comfortably in my room. My kids are 5 and 3, so when I told them that he died, they were like "Aww. Poor Lemon" (his name).
So I decided that after dinner, we would have a pet funeral for our little friend. HUGE mistake. I dug the hole, let the kids pet him one last time, we said a little prayer (more like a "thank you" for the time we had with him), and then I laid him in the "grave". That's when the s**t hit the fan.... both of them suddenly realized what it meant for the bird to be dead, and they started bawling. My son cried for a while, and I felt like an idiot for having the pet funeral. I thought it'd be easier than just telling the kids that it died, and then him just disappearing....and certainly better than the ceremonial flush that my first pet got at the hands of my stepdad. I felt so bad that I cried with my son. This was not a shining moment in parenting for me...
Do you think I did the right thing? How did you help your kids let go of a pet?

Answer Question

Asked by brandyj at 3:06 AM on Apr. 14, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 21 (10,228 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • yes, you did. by honoring your pet and teachinhg your kids a valuable lesson in life. Yeah, it was hard, it hurt, but so does would have to be taught sooner or later.....sorry for your loss...RIP Lemon!

    Answer by shivasgirl at 3:28 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • Personally I think it was a great idea.

    Answer by sweetangie79 at 3:46 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • I think what you did was fine. They were probably going to realize he was dead for real and cry at some point anyway, regardless of whether there was a proper burial.
    I'm sorry about your parakeet--I had them as a kid and loved them to pieces. It always broke my little heart when they did. I can honestly say it was my first real experience with loss when my first one died when I was 10. They're such great little pets, but they certainly are fragile.
    Your kiddos will be fine...most children are very resilient. Give 'em some hugs and let them know that you guys will always have fun memories of Lemon.

    Answer by vicesix at 5:15 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • I don't think what you did was wrong at all. They were going to realize it eventually anyhow and now instead of just getting ridd of it you showed them about honoring your pet and it taught the kids a lesson as far as death too.

    Answer by MooNFaeRie30 at 5:47 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • You were completely in the right. Death is a reality and you gave them a way to cope with their feelings. Good job, Mamma.

    Answer by Dr.Donna at 6:36 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • I agree with them, I think it was a good idea. Death is hard, and I think this is the best way you could have dealt with it and very sweet.
    Seeing kids unhappy is never fun, but they will be ok. I say you did the right thing

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 7:45 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • I think you did fine! Let them ask any questions they have over time and be truthful with them. They learned a reality of life.

    Answer by elizabr at 8:00 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • Awww -- reading your post almost made me cry too! I think you did the perfect thing! Your children were saddened by the experience RIGHT NOW, but later on down the line they will truly appreciate you for the caring mother you are. (And I know you are caring because of how upset you got at your children being upset).

    Answer by BaileysMom476 at 5:02 PM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • I think you did the right thing. I regret not acknowledging our dogs death with my eldest. He's autistic and I didn't know how he would react. So when our dog died (my baby for 15 years) my dh and I had my parents come down and tend to him while my dh and I buried him. So when we let the other dogs in my ds asked where "BoBo" was. We avoided the question a while, and finally confessed he had passed. So my ds asked lots of questions like why and how. Looking back, I really feel he should have been part of the process, instead of acting like nothing happened. I definitely think what you did was helpful to them and it honored your pet.

    Answer by Austinsmom35 at 3:26 PM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • i think you did the right thing. death is a reality and the death of a pet is usualy the first time children experience death. all you can do now is comfort them and explain to them that sometimes pets get sick and die and its ok to feel sad and cry.

    Answer by poshkat at 10:08 PM on Apr. 15, 2011

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