We found the dead bird on the front veranda.
He looked like he was just having a rest; eyes open, beautifully speckled feathers lying smooth and velvety.
Callum thought he must have hit his head on the post; Lucie wondered if he had seen the dog and died from a heart attack.
We dug a hole and carefully placed our feathered friend in the cool earth. After covering the hole with dirt, the children decided to mark the ‘grave’ with some carefully chosen stones, and a pink ribbon.
Then they thought it would be appropriate to each say a prayer – Callum’s went “Dear bird, we miss you. I hope you have a good time. Good-bye”.
Children learn from an early age that rituals are used to mark special moments in time, from blowing out the candles on a birthday cake to opening the windows on the advent calendar. On this occasion, the children needed to perform their own little ritual in order to make sense of what had happened to the bird.
They were able to express their thoughts and feelings about death, and seemed perfectly satisfied afterwards that everything had been done properly. They were quite content to know that the little bird was now fluttering around happily in birdy heaven.