As you may know already, Jamaica is pretty rugged. Life and weather arrive and disappear in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it’s rough. Sometimes it’s sad. And most of the time it’s not easy for children to grasp the concept of people, pets and plants going back to the earth. Or as we say in modern times, death.
Yesterday, we lost our cherished, little friend Mylo (pronounced My yo in our household as we are still working on annunciating l’s). Mylo was a survivor and lived through the tumultuous storms and floods of 2010. You may remember we were trapped (by rain) up in the hills and could not get to the GPs to protect them. We finally arrived home to find Mylo, shaking, hungry and terrified but her sister, Spot, and babies, weren’t as lucky. We nursed our beloved, last remaining Guinea Pig back to health and she’s been fine ever since. Until, just the other day when she became a little sluggish. Mylo died at home yesterday morning. The transition appeared peaceful. Ultimately, we think it was a heart attack.
Living in Jamaica, the children have become excellent grievers. Over the years, they have lost three grandparents, a couple of close aquaintances, fish, guinea pigs and their best friend, Cree Dawg. As parents we have discovered how crucial it is to provide opportunities for them to participate in the ritual and celebration of life and it’s passing. And so, we have fabricated several funerals.
Mylo’s celebration and burial was particularly heart warming. The children gathered flowers, made a heart and Iz (6) wrote out the head stone himself. We buried Mylo early in the day and returned after nap to decorate the grave site. Beautiful songs were sung. Memories laughed about and many, many, tears were shed. It almost broke my heart. Mylo was “such a pretty yady” (lady). “We yoved her so much.”
I think it’s important to help children through rites of passage. Allowing them to guide a ceremony for lost loved ones is empowering and healing. In some ways, I am sad that they have witnessed so much loss. At the same time, I realize how spiritually connected they are to life and nature. Gratitude.
Yesterday evening, as the babes headed outside for a sunset, ackee picking session, I overheard Izra say to his little sister,
“Miwi (meely), life comes and it passes. It’s alright, baby, that’s just how it goes.”
One Love, walk good, RIP Dear Mylo…