My sad little Possum. He's holding a little Ringtail Possum that had to be euthanized, it was way to young to survive the death of its mother (click here for the full story).
Possum was very sad to hear nothing could be done. He decided to say a few prayers for them, and promptly recited the Peace Prayer in Sanskrit, very very quietly.
Beaver said he did not want the possums to be killed and, very perceptively, noted that "They didn't have much of a life". He too said a prayer so that they may have a good next life.
Doing this work as a Wildlife Carer is certainly introducing the children to Life and Death (apart from such issues as the human impact on our wildlife). I tell the kids in simple terms what happens. I told them that they will go to the vet who will kill them with some very special green medicine that takes all their pain away quickly and then they die.
With Beaver not wanting to go to sleep, I feel I can not use words like "go to sleep" or even "drift off". I don't want him to fear that he's going to go to sleep and die. Besides, I don't really like euphemisms like "pass away" and all that. It seems to negate death, and really, death is such an important part of life, how can we deny it? Without the one, there would not be the other, and dealth, like life, deserves respect. And to be called by its real name.
At the same time, I have to mention to them that it's done with an injection. The stuff the vets use is bright fluo green (hence it's called "Green Dream") and I tell them it's special green medicine. Thankfully most children's medication (cough medicine, paracetamol etc.) is not generally green! And with Beaver's fear of nightmares, I don't use the term "Green Dream" either!
I realised before I started this that parenting would be tricky. But why did no one ever tell me that you need a linguistics degree?