R.I.P. Tuck the Turtle

Under a tree in our backyard lies our beloved Tuck the Turtle. In our house lies a sad little girl who can’t figure out how the animals actually get to heaven – and I have no idea how to explain it to her.

When we returned home last night I thought Tuck looked a little, um…”stiffer” than usual. But I changed his water and hoped for the best – he has pulled that trick before and I thought maybe he really was just sleeping. When we got up this morning and Emma tried to convince me that he was in fact sleeping, I knew that poor little Tuck was gone.

So I proceeded to tell her that he had died and was up in heaven with other pets like Nana & Papa’s puppy, Brandie. We had a similar discussion a few months ago when Brandie had died. She nodded very solemnly and said, “Yeah, Tuck got dead.” And she continued on her morning. I thought I had gotten off easy, she really didn’t seem too upset over it.

So I wrapped Tuck up and put him into the garbage. And about 10 minutes later Emma came out and asked where he was.

Me: “Uh, um….he is up in heaven, remember?”
Em: “Yeah, but where is his cage?”
Me: “Well, I put him aside and we will go out and bury him during Addie’s nap. That way Jesus can come take him up to heaven. (Yes, totally pulling that out of my you-know-what! I just didn’t want her to see that I had tossed him in the trash, so I had to go back and dig him out!)

Again, she was pacified and seemed ok about it all.

Then we had the actual Turtle funeral. I took a spoon outside, dug a little hole, said a few words about Tuck and buried him. Emma picked out the tree to bury him under and chose a nice big one in the middle of the lawn because it was in a very sunny spot and “Tuck liked to sit in the sun in our kitchen”.

Then we were just kind of sitting there – enjoying the sun, thawing out a little from our wintery wonderland vacation and Emma says –

Em: “How many seconds does it take?”
Me: “Does what take?”
Em: “How many seconds until Jesus comes to take Tuck?”
Me: (Ack!) “Um, well. Jesus is kind of like Santa…(I know, blasphemy! I don’t think God will strike me down for the comparison, though. I mean, really how do you explain this to a 3-year old!!)…he is magic. We don’t know when he’ll come down, but he will.
Em: “I miss Tuck, Mama.”
Me: “I know, Em.”

Meanwhile, my heart is breaking for her. Not really about Tuck so much – she seems to be doing pretty well with the whole thing, or maybe she is just kind of oblivious and doesn’t understand it all. But I just got very emotional and sad thinking of the many times she is going to miss someone, or lose someone and there isn’t anything I can do about it, and nothing I can do to take her hurt away.

That breaks my heart. That realization that no matter how hard you try you just can’t protect your children from everything.

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3 Responses to “R.I.P. Tuck the Turtle”


  1. 1 Nickie January 24, 2007 at 2:56 am

    Oh poor Tuck…I am glad you got home safe and it was great seeing you down at Crossroads. So I just read that and got teared up and Dan walked around the corner and wanted to know what was wrong and I told him “Emma’s turtle died” and he thought I was weird for crying over Emma’s turtle…It’s not really so much about the turtle it’s about what you said about loosing someone or the hurt they go through and I know it’s just a matter of time before my kids experience something like that (they haven’t yet) so it will be hard. Try to have a better week!


  1. 1 New Addition to the Family « Barely Controlled Chaos Trackback on May 31, 2007 at 12:38 pm
  2. 2 How do you get to Chaos? « Barely Controlled Chaos Trackback on January 4, 2008 at 12:10 pm

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