Last Thursday, I found our cockatiel, Larry, dead in his cage. We celebrated Paige's birthday that day because she was going to be gone on her actual birthday (last Friday), so we decided to wait to tell Maya. She went all day without noticing that he--and his cage-- were gone from the front room. This is the room we spent most of the day in because we were all playing Guitar Hero II (totally addictive game, btw) there. She even stood right where his cage was only hours before and did not notice its absence.
Regardless of all that, when we finally told her at bedtime, her cries were deep, mournful and enduring. It was heartbreaking; I have never heard her cry like that. He was about 10 or 11 years old, so he lived a long life. I heard him the night before making some weird sounds, but i ignored him. Sometimes he falls off his perch at night, and it wasn't too unlike that sound. I feel bad though, like I should have at least checked in on him. Poor guy.
We buried him on the side of the house where Maya's room is located. She liked that. She wrote him a letter (well, dictated the letter to me because she was crying when she started to write), which we put in with the paper sack we buried him in. For several days, she would go out to his burial site and talk to him. She would say good bye to him every time we left the house and made sure to go say hello to him when we came home. There were many days where we had to answer questions for her, like: "why did Larry have to die?" "Larry was too young to die--he was only eleven! 11 is young!" all in the midst of tears. I would go over and give her a kiss, and she would say, "I miss Larry." It was pretty sucky.
Wayne, of course was upset, too, as it was his bird. I gave it to him for his birthday (I think) in 1997. It's such a bummer to have Maya and Wayne sad.
I didn't really like the bird, but I was used to his presence. It's weird that it is so quiet around here now.
One of the things that Larry really enjoyed was taking a shower with Wayne and Maya. Below is a picture of Maya showering with Larry. I love this picture.