First Heartbreak

So this morning Princess comes downstairs crying–her pet guinea pig (who’s name really is Princess) was acting very, terribly sick.  She’s 12, and she’s smart. . . she knew that this wasn’t good.

My daughter got Princess the guinea pig when she was 7.  She has always been quite attached–unlike many children who sort of get bored with their guinea pigs and after a while ignore them for the most part, “Princess” was a daily part of my daughter’s life.  She would hold her and carry her around frequently–watching TV with the pig snuggled up on her lap, cuddling with her before bedtime, taking her outside to graze in the grass when she was playing.   And that pig knew her, preferred her above all others and I believe loved her back.

Princess in the grass

Our guinea pig this morning wasn’t moving, wouldn’t eat, was sort of panting and lying to her side.

I let my Princess stay home from school this morning to spend some final time with her pet, and “Princess” died in her arms around 8:15.  You say all sorts of comforting things to your child at a time like that, when you can’t make it all better, but I know this one thing was true–the fact that my daughter was there, holding her truly was a comfort to her pet in that last hour.

My Princess of course is grieving and upset.  As my mom pointed out–this is the first true heartbreak of her young life.  And there is nothing that Papa or I (or anyone else) can do to “fix” it.  Some things can’t be fixed–they are just gotten through.

Yes.  I know.  It’s a rodent.  There are many worse tragedies out there, some of which my daughter will have occasion to suffer eventually in her life no matter how much I could wish to protect her.  This is just the first.  But that doesn’t make her pain right this moment any softer or less real to her.

This is her first heartbreak.

We will comfort her and pray with her and be there, and of COURSE she will get through just fine.  But it sucks just the same.

I know this isn’t particularly informative or on topic for a post, but I just felt the need to share today.  Thanks for indulging me.

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  1. Jen says

    Sometimes children can understand better the pain of others when they have been through their own pain. Your daughter will have a different level of compassion now that she’s grieved the loss of a loved one (no matter how small or furry) and will be able to comfort others in a different way. My daughter also owns a guinea pig and will also eventually go through this- I pray the experience will help her be more compassionate and sensitive to the suffering of others.

  2. Amyrlin says

    “Princess” was a lucky animal to have been so well cared for. Your Princess is a lovely young lady to show so much compassion and unfortunately we all are born, live, and die. The circle of life is always a hard lesson to learn, that first heartbreak. For myself I never experienced a loss of an animal until I was 23. The cat was 19. I could not imagine my life without Poko, I still ponder him and his sidekick Goober (my beloved dog) who was 17 when I had to put her down, I was 29. I miss them everyday even though I have moved on. My boys began their lives with these animals even though they were “my” babies. Being there for each other the way you are for your daughter teaches her empathy and compassion. She is lucky to have such a loving supportive family to see her through.

  3. Theresa says

    We have two pigs and our Izzy looks a lot like princess. I don’t look forward to this day as my daughter is attached to her pigs. Your daughter is lucky to have such a great mom who allowed her to spend this time with her friend. Our prayers go out to you and your husband as you help her deal with this tragedy and to her for strength and understanding.

  4. Yankee says

    Big Tough Papa was a wreck today – It’s my job to fix things and this is something I just couldn’t fix…so a small spot in the back yard with some plastic fence, a potted mum, some grass seed and a little solar light was all I could do. Mama said some beautiful words and we all hugged and remembered funny stories about Princess and her “mama’. RIP little pig.

  5. Ellen Reeher says

    What a sad day. Our family also had two guinea pigs over the years – Romeo and Gus – and we all enjoyed their pleasant ways. I still miss their “wee-wee-weeking” in the kitchen in the morning when they heard the refrigerator door open. Please give your daughter a hug from our house. Thanks for letting us know.

  6. says

    Oh, Jenn, your tribute made me a little misty, to, and I’m sending virtual hugs to your daughter. I adored my guinea pigs, too, when I was her age, and remember vividly when my 11year old pig, Ms Nettles, passed and how it crumbled my spirit for awhile. How I missed her shrill squeal when I came home from school. We had other pigs, but there’s nothing quite like the love of a first pet that’s all your own.

  7. Mrs. Waste Not says

    My condolences to your daughter. My daughter’s first pet- a fish – died this week also. She had wanted a fish forever, and she took great care of it, but as we know they are short lived. It was hard as a parent, but I explained these things happen, especially with fish. When the grieving interfered with school, I had to be a tough love mama and say if we cannot deal with this in then we would not be getting other pets (fish being a starter pet.) Ugh, being a parent normally is hard, and in these situations even more trying. I am sorry for what you had to go through as parent, too. It makes us grow as well as them.

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