There is nothing parents less want to do than find themselves in a situation where you have to explain to a child that a loved pet has died.
And there I was this past weekend. Here's how the conversation went:
Brenna asked if Luna was still lost.
I said, no he wasn't lost but he would not be coming home because he had died.
B: How he die?
M: He was trying to cross the street and didn't look both ways (always a teachable moment) and had an accident with a car.
B: He got a boo-boo?
B: Where? Here? (pointing to her arm)
M: I don't know, sweetie.
B: Here? (pointing to her other arm)
M: Probably here. (I pointed to her ribs)
B: Does it hurt?
M: No. That the good thing about being dead - boo-boos dont' hurt when you're dead. (well, it's true!)
B: Oh. Where he is?
M: I think he is in kitty heaven where he can play, and chase squirrels, and do all the fun kitty things.
Then we had a long discussion about how we can remember Luna and look at pictures of him and even make something to put in the garden to remind us of him.
B: I need to tell daddy that Luna died.
[Given that daddy was the one who got the news, I'm pretty sure he was aware of this fact but who am I to quash her sense of control?]
B goes running into the family room where Michael is watching TV.
B: Daddy! Luna died!
D: Yes. I know. I am so sorry. I'm sad. Are you sad?
B: No. He happy.
Mommy score! I managed to talk to my child about death and not freak her out. I guess sometimes I manage to do this parenting thing right.