This morning, Abigail’s little pet gerbil, Muffin (named for the golden brown color of her fur) passed away. It has been a hard day for my girlie in many ways. The gerbils are the first pets she has had almost sole responsibility for: their cage was in her room, and other than occasional help from her Daddy cleaning the little gerbil house, she has been Muffin and Mitten’s “mommy” and done a great job caring for them for 2 1/2 years!
Here is Abigail in June 2007, soon after she and Jay brought home Muffin and Mittens – I love this shot of her and Muffin:
Here are the gerbil sisters together:
After Muffin died, Abigail and I looked at the verses in Matthew 10 where we are told that God cares for each little creature that falls:
29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
Those verses brought some comfort to her in the midst of her sorrow, but there were tears aplenty all day long.
Jay arrived home early from work so he could dig Muffin’s grave before it was too dark. Abigail carefully chose a casket in which to bury her little fallen pet – this is a box which she loves, it was a gift from her Grammy:
Our whole family assembled to have a small graveside service, and through tears, each of the children choked out a remembrance of little Muffin:
Abigail remembered that when she and Jay went to the pet store to look at gerbils, that she didn’t choose Muffin; Muffin chose her! by climbing into her open hand and resting there happily as if to say, “I’m yours…please take me home!”
Nicolas mentioned that he always loved Muffin because when he would try to hold her, she wouldn’t run away from him (like Mittens does!).
Jonathan, trying to be brave through his tears, shared the encouraging and wise, “It is very hard when things like this happen, but we must always trust God in what He does, even when we don’t understand.”
For my part, I am not a gerbil lover…but even someone who finds gerbils somewhat icky is moved to tears when their children hurt. So instead of sharing the notion that while I wasn’t a huge Muffin fan, I did actually prefer Muffin to her sister Mittens because to me, Muffin with her golden-honey coloring looked less like a rat…..I reminded Abigail that she helped a tiny creature have a warm, loving, and happy life here on this earth, and that we knew God was pleased with how she loved and cared for one of his smallest parts of creation. And that though it hurt so much, to draw comfort from the precious times she shared with little Muffin and to be thankful she had such a sweet little pet.
Jay prayed, and we buried Muffin.
I cannot believe I am sitting here sobbing as I write this…I will close with this last picture of Abigail at Muffin’s graveside. I love that sitting right next to her is another faithful pet.
Shasha and Lucy stayed near to Abigail all day long in her grief, clearly sensing something was very wrong. As sad as this picture is, it also makes me thankful, because it reminds me of the goodness God showers upon us when he gives us animals to love and share our lives with.