Perhaps I should be used to this by now.
This was the first time, though, that I really had to try to explain death to my boy. He doesn't really get it. My wife told him Timmy was dead, and that we would bury him in the backyard. This actually kind of excited the boy, simply by being something he got to do that involved the crab.
Our son had always loved that little creature. Any chance he got, he wanted to be the one to feed him, carefully lowering the dish full of veggies onto its spot on the sand. Sometimes he would mention Timmy's name when he so much as saw us cutting up something that the crab liked, like strawberries.
I'd had Timmy over five years. My wife had actually bought him for me after the death of another crab, Hagrid, who was a pity purchase from a pet store. Hagrid had been in rough shape when I bought him, and I knew his chances were slim. I spent about three weeks trying to nurse him back to health before he finally gave up. The next day, I think, my wife came home with a tiny little crab, not any bigger than a marble, who eventually grew into the beast you see above, nearly the size of a mandarin orange.
But all three of us found ourselves in the backyard this morning, crouched around a hole in the dirt saying our goodbyes to the little crab. The boy was the one who shovelled the dirt back over the body. Then he asked if Timmy would wake up tomorrow.
I told him no. For the fourth time.
So long, Timmy. We'll miss you.