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Guinea pig has died, advice please

(14 Posts)
welshbyrd Thu 28-Jul-11 14:39:07

Not an AIBU... need pretty quick replies

DS 7yos guinea pig has died.
Im terrified of telling him, he has dyspraxia, also he is very very emotional

We have a terminally ill relative,DS is aware of her condition, he sometimes [every few months] cries uncontrollably about this relative. If relevant she is an aunt, 45yo, who does not live locally, however, she is guardian to her grandson, and we/she visits very very regularly [not so much this year, as she is struggling with her chemo]

Quite recently he has been telling me, he does not want to die [get old, and die], so feel he has already issues with death sad

DS is going to the cinema with my sisters DCs at 4pm, DH will be back from work at 5pm.
Oh god I do not know what to tell him, Im not going to do it until DH is here, and he has enjoyed his cinema trip
Advice anyone please on best way of telling him
Thanks x

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Thu 28-Jul-11 14:44:30

Oh no, poor DS. Normally I would say just be to the point but it sounds like your DS is having a hard time with death at the moment anyway!

I dont know, unless you can nip out now and get an identical guinea pig (my BIL did that years ago when his kids were young - and then that one died he told them it went down the bottom of the garden and married the hamster hmm ) maybe just sit him down and tell him that the guinea pig was very very old and just went to sleep and up into heaven).

My DS had real issues with death a few years ago. He saw a video at school (in reception) of Jesus on the cross..quite graphic and it really bothered him. He was worrying about me and his dad dying, worried about being alone etc etc. Thankfully he is ok now but it was horrid at the time so you have my sympathy. Just tell him but make it as soft/painless as possible.

Kids are resillient - when our cat died, DS sobbed his heart out for 5 minutes, picked himself up, went to play and was fine. Hopefully your DS will be the same.

bibbitybobbityhat Thu 28-Jul-11 14:47:12

How old was the guinea pig? Was it unexpected?

welshbyrd Thu 28-Jul-11 14:48:27

Impossible to replace a replica guinea. DS picked this guinea, and chosen the scruffiest thing your will ever see, he had cows licks all the way down his fur.

DS nanny has just offered to buy him a new one [his birthday is a few weeks] Im worried about what happens when that one dies, back to this again

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Thu 28-Jul-11 14:49:57

Well sadly it is part and parcel of life for kids to learn about death and dying so I wouldnt worry about the new Guinea Pig. Hopefully you will get a good few years out of him/her and by that time your DS will be coping better with the whole death thing.

diyqueen Thu 28-Jul-11 14:50:25

Just do it as sensitively as possible and let him grieve. It will be hard, but there's no way round it really. Give the guinea pig a 'funeral' - put them in a box with their favourite toys/food, bury them in the garden in a special ceremony and put a stone or plant a shrub to mark the spot - ds can help do all of this. He'll be distraught but it will help him to know the guinea pig's had a proper send-off. And let him ask questions and talk about his pet - it will help him come to terms with it. Good luck!

faverolles Thu 28-Jul-11 14:50:45

Oh I'm sorry sad
It sounds like the guinea pig was very old.
I think I would be honest. He may be more resilient than you think.
Death is inevitable, I don't think avoiding the issue helps in the long run.

welshbyrd Thu 28-Jul-11 14:51:54

He had the guinea as a birthday present last year[ DS birthday 16th August]
He had £100 birthday money from friends/family, and chose to spend the full £100 on a massive [hotel for guinea pigs] hutch for this guinea pig, rather than buy a modest £40 hutch, and spend the rest on toys/clothes . His nan bought him the guinea pig

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 28-Jul-11 14:51:57

I think it's best to be honest and also let him see that the guinea pig is peaceful and looks as though it is sleeping. Explain why the guinea pig died... e.g. it was very old in guinea-pig years or very sick or whatever. And then have a goodbye ceremony and bury it in the garden. Also explain that it's OK to be very sad because we are always sad when we lose someone or something we love. My DS appreciated the 'pet heaven' version of events - which was a little dishonest of me because I'm not religious - but I think the idea of a happy place where pets go to play was a white lie I can live with.

Finally... if it leads to discussions about you or him or anyone else dying then break it to him gently that everyone dies eventually and that, if we're lucky and we look after ourselves, it won't happen until we're very, very old indeed. Good luck

harassedandherbug Thu 28-Jul-11 14:53:34

Can you get a replacement? I wouldn't normally, but sounds like he's struggling to deal with death anyway. Rotten, rotten timing!

I do however agree with Betty that kids are very resilient. Although I'm slightly concerned that dd (just 5) is becoming almost blase about death. 2.5 yrs ago with had our much loved dog pts, and she was ok with that although she still mentions him pretty much every day. So a while later we got a cat. But she was run over on NYE and then I mc'd our baby. She's really quite blase about it, tells anyone! I'm preg again, and yesterday out of the blue she said she hopes this baby won't die. I was shock!

LostMyIdentityAlongTheWay Thu 28-Jul-11 14:55:27

Ah, bummer.... I'd offer to take him to a garden center to buy a nice plant and bury said gp underneath it? Then buy him cake and a drink in the cafe (which they'll have. They always do). Make it all a bit of a talking point and be extremely open about it all, if i were you. I have a oldest of three son who was a bit weird when his first guinea pig died - he looked at me to see how I reacted and took it from there. I was incredibly matter of fact about it, which is now how he responds to things like that as well - pets, anyway...

I'm sticking my neck out here... 'death issues'?? I'm sorry, that's a bit extreme?

In any case, good luck, and I@m sure he'll be more resilient than you're anticipating.

bibbitybobbityhat Thu 28-Jul-11 14:56:14

Oh that's difficult, the guinea pig wasn't old sad. Any idea why it died?

Pippaandpolly Thu 28-Jul-11 15:11:23

Find somewhere nice and neutral to tell him (bottom of the garden) so he doesn't have to remember a place he's in every day (like on this bed) as where he found out; be totally honest and show him you're feeling sad too; find a nice way of honouring the guinea pig (funeral type 'service' is good for little children) and wait until either he brings it up or at least a few weeks before you ask whether he'd like another pet. He will probably be very upset for a few days, it will be a chance for him to ask lots of questions about death, and then hopefully he'll be fine again. (The place you tell him is advice usually given for telling children a relative/loved one has died but I figure it can't hurt to be ultra sensitive, especially given his sadness about his aunt.)

amothersplaceisinthewrong Thu 28-Jul-11 15:15:06

When my dd guinea died, she and my Ds did a "funeral" . DS even made a cross to cover the burial place! DH was the one that had to handle the dead GP into a box though.

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