Today marks the first anniversary of Doomsday’s death. An anniversary that I actually never thought would come. I figured she would live until I died and then we would enter the ether together. Like a wizard and their Patronus.
Instead she was handed to me by a heartbroken vet into my openly weeping embrace. I cry just thinking about that feeling. Even though ten minutes later the crying vet came back and was like “How are we doing in here?” and then we cracked a sad joke about never knowing when it’s time to hand back “the body” while we both bawled our faces off. I remember saying “I think 10 minutes is good, otherwise it’s starting to get weird that I’m just sitting here with a dead animal.”
Even though I was thinking it wasn’t THAT weird because we had spent years of ours lives together. What was a few moments of her death to say goodbye forever?
Several things have happened this year that were harder without her, but more odd.
It’s strange to lose a pet. She wasn’t a person, a living breathing human that I could hold conversations with, she never gave me advice, or teased me for being silly, or even laughed with me. But she held such a huge part of my heart and soul that it felt weird to not have her around anymore.
Things you would never think about were really hard without her.
Christmas, mainly. I’m usually the first person up on Christmas just because now I’m the first of three early risers awake in my house on a regular basis and I’m not one for sleeping in unless I’m sick or had a hard week. So when I wake up Christmas morning she was the first creature I would celebrate it with. I would take pictures and let her open her new present of a toy. (She was more concerned about the wrapping paper because she loved to chew, so I made sure to always wrap stuff.)
Filling the corner she lived in was hard. I thought (when she was alive) that decorating the room would be a good thing to move forward, something positive, I would have room for other things and a new space to organize and decorate. I put my writing desk there, it felt weird to sit there and still be able to see the marks that were left on the floor from her cage. I moved a bookshelf there, it hurt to put something there that I’m always looking at.
It felt rude to replace her. That was HER space.
Finally I decided that I would put a chair where I could read and sew. A productive corner where her little ghost could come and chew my patterns and perch on the top of the chair. (Something she liked to do when she was alive.) It still felt weird, but it was a positive weird.
The worst was moving her cage out. I had to empty that out, throw away her litter and anything that wouldn’t be helpful to a future pets life. I moved her cage into the garage so I wouldn’t have to look at it empty. For that first week I would go out into the garage and click her water bottle because I couldn’t sleep without that noise. Or I would try to imagine it as I fell asleep. Sometimes I would even think I really heard it. And then I would remember, and the wound was open once again.
Coming home at the end of the day was bizarre. I always kept my light on, especially in the winter months, so that she would have the light in the room and not always be in the dark. So when I would walk up to the house it was a harsh reminder because my brain would immediately think “Who the hell turned that off? She needs that on.” and I would get so mad. Then my heart would plummet with the realization that the light doesn’t need to be on because she’s no longer there.
My nightly schedule is thrown off. I used to do “lights out” between 8 and 9, which was essentially turning off my laptop and whatever I was watching so that I could read and she could come out and hop around the room for an hour and a half before bed. Now I have no schedule. I don’t even sleep on time anymore. I used to get 8 hours of sleep and now I’m lucky if it’s 6.
My insomniac friends/parent friends want to punch me when I say that.
Her birthday was hard too. I used to go out and get her a new toy in February and she would immediately destroy it. I just loved our little celebrations together of life and love because she was the only creature who was fully mine and I was fully hers and while that’s a little Stockholm syndrome-y, it was a beautiful and ridiculous love.
One of the hardest things is that now I have no idea what to do for my Christmas card this year. Which sounds stupid, but that was one of our traditions in the fall. I would figure out something silly or cute and get ready early for Christmas. I even knit her a little scarf one year for our picture. And last years was so sad to me that I made my piano teacher take it down from his cork board after a few months of staring at my “smiling” face. I knew that I had actually been bawling my face off because I knew this was the last of our pictures like that. I didn’t want to look at my sad face or her tired face anymore. (Thankfully, he complied, and now he has a sarcastically made birthday card from me in its place. Which I appreciate more and helps me not completely lose focus. Or cry.)
I miss her all the time.
Today I feel haunted by her ghost. And not just the ghost of her memory, like legitimately her ghost. Strange things have been happening all day that don’t normally go on.
I know that time heals all wounds, and while this wound doesn’t feel as raw and broken and heart wrenching as it was on this day a year ago, I still hurt from missing her.
And all because I fell in love with a bunny in 2009.