5 YO still grieving loss of pet after 6 months - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 06-15-2014, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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5 YO still grieving loss of pet after 6 months

My DS (5) got a hamster that lived for only 5 months. He liked the hamster, and played with it a 10 or 15 minutes once a day about 4 to 5 days a week. I didn't think he was all that attached. There were days we were so busy, he didn't even mention the hamster.

So the hamster died after just 5 months. It's now been 6 months since this hamster died, and DS is still having at least 1 to 2 crying spells a week over the hamster's death. He sings him songs asking for him to come back, cries that he will never see him again, he is very depressed and inconsolable during these times.

He asked for another hamster the same color and wanted to give it the same name. I didn't think that was healthy, so about 2 months ago, we did get another - although she has a different name and color. He likes her, but still cries over the first hamster.

Is this an unusual amount of grief? It's been 6 months. He doesn't seem to be processing this well and getting over it.

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#2 of 8 Old 06-15-2014, 11:40 AM
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Some kids are just very sensitive. For that age, especially, I would not say it's too unusual. My 6 yo does the same about our 13 year old cat who died last year. Heck, even I cry a lot about it still.

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#3 of 8 Old 06-16-2014, 10:26 PM
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We had an orange tabby cat named Red growing up. Red died of FIV when my brother was about 3, and for months, MONTHS, my brother would not acknowledge the existence of anything red. Wouldn't eat a red apple, color with a red crayon, wear a red shirt, nothing. The reason was always "Red is dead."
He was a sensitive kid, much more so than me, and it took him a long time to get over, but he did.
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#4 of 8 Old 06-17-2014, 11:49 AM
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I think its normal. My girls still go on & on about the beta fish they had, even though we've had other pets, and those too have died (16 year old cats and an 11 year old dog). Still….the memory of "THEIR" pets (rather than the ones my husband and I picked), still brings drama.

Now we are moving and the idea of leaving these pets here (buried in the ground) is bothering them.

Eventually maturity & time will take care of it.

So, I think its normal that the kids were so attached and they still miss and grieve their pets. We just try to not bring up the subject and live life focused on other things.
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#5 of 8 Old 06-18-2014, 03:17 AM
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I have no personal experience to offer, but just wanted to say this sounds in the range of healthy to me. I'm someone who's experienced quite some loss and grief (as an adult) and am personally interested in the topic, have read a lot about it and am about to start a hospice training. Grief is a very very personal experience, every one is different. And especially with kids, there is so much else going on in their emotional world I think lines can get crossed between emotions and it could be this grief is also his way of letting out other painful emotions. I agree with others that time and his own development will fade this away, most likely. Hang in there, it sounds like you're doing what's best.

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#6 of 8 Old 06-29-2014, 10:57 PM
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I agree with the other mamas that this seems ok to me. My LO still gets misty over her beloved cat Kitty Pearl who died 3 years ago.

A loss is a loss and I think it is eye opening for little ones in a way that is startling for them.
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#7 of 8 Old 04-14-2016, 08:45 AM
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<<Now we are moving and the idea of leaving these pets here (buried in the ground) is bothering them.>>

I know this is an old post, but I'd like to address this concern.

It may help to realize and to tell children that when an animal is buried that their pet becomes part of the earth again. No matter where we go we're always on the earth, so if we need to remember or honor our special animals who have died they are still with us in the earth beneath our feet. The place they were buried was just the entry point.

Or that we can set up a spot at our new house with a special marker, a special remembering spot.
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#8 of 8 Old 04-18-2016, 03:23 AM
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I think this amount of sensitivity is a gift. Some people are blessed with a gift of empathy, and it is not to be dismissed. Rather, other social and emotional skills will compensate it later. Grief is a hard lesson, but a valuable on.
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