Death of a hermit crab II

Lila has gone to hermit crab heaven. Last year her "brother" (it's impossible to tell a crab's gender with the naked eye, let alone familial relations) passed on, which I wrote about at length here. I only discovered Lila in the corner of her cage, slipping out of her shell, about an hour ago, and once again am putting off telling Edie. June might actually care as well, now that she's older. I'm not sure how they're going to react--I'm continually surprised by what they take in stride and what sets them screaming. This morning it was not having time to put braids in her hair that got Edie into whirling dervish mode--James had to carry her down the street to school, and I could still hear her howling a block away. The news about Lila will most likely make her sad, but may not set off a fit--considering that Jed stayed in his Ziploc bag in the freezer for over a year until I secretly threw him away, never giving him a proper burial, Lila may too end up becoming a casualty of the out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality of the young.

One difference from last year though is that there has been quite a bit of death talk in the house lately--Edie has been coming out of her room almost nightly saying she's afraid of dying, whereas June likes to kill off her dolls: "now you dead," "ok, now you not dead anymo." I don't know if the news will be received calmly like it was last go-round, or if it will bring out a slew of new fears for Edie, which will rub off on June. Lila was our last crustacean and I don't want to get more--I fear I'm somewhat responsible for her demise given that I didn't fill her water bowl regularly. And another poor crab sitting in a cage would be too much for me. It's such a sad existence to witness, with little reward. These days Lila was never taken out and played with like she was in the beginning--she was more of a pleasant thing to talk about on playdates; Edie enjoyed describing her more than she actually liked interacting with her. We'll see if her absence is noted a lot or a little.

It's dark out so I have no pictures; I'm going to try to get some tomorrow when there's ample daylight.

Comments

gosh, you really are a great writer (as well as photographer, but to me, about you, that is kinda a given at that point).

we have been thinking about introducing pets through fish, but all the friend responses have been, "so you wanna teach your kid about death?"... and now i have your more poignant thoughts to consider. photos or not, I sure like seeing and reading what you post.
Wow, thanks Alisha. Someday maybe I'll get around to that novel...

Pets and death, I suppose it's inevitable, at least with the easily-killable ones. It's going to be an awful day when our dog goes.

My only advice is that animals in cages are a pain to take care of. I'm lazy like that.

Thanks again for such nice comments.
JMS said…
When I was four I set my brother's hermit crabs free, and no one was ever able to find them again, apparently they can move faster than people think. Still, I think the loss of a dog would probably hurt more--I guess because they are more involved in the family activities than a crab or fish can ever be.
We almost lost them a couple of times, they really are fast little buggers. We always found them stuck in a corner under something...

Our dog Frida is really part of the family, we're crazy about her and she's 1000 times more important to us than poor neglected Lila. It's not so sad to lose a crab, I have to say, because it's true like you say they weren't really involved in family activities.

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