My rabbit, Willow, died yesterday. After being attacked by a rat on Sunday night and surviving an anesthetic operation at the vet to assess the damage (though nothing could be done) I had to make the decision to have her put to sleep as overnight fly lava had hatched under her skin. Her chances of survival would have been minimal at best and the discomfort would have been tremendous.
But it was no easy decision. I wanted to fight for her and was looking forward to having her home and giving her intensive care. I was also not prepared to have to sign a euthanasia consent form. And even after the injection she didn't give up the fight for life quickly, which made me feel worse. My friend Cheryl accompanied me to the vet and even came in the room as Willow was put down, which was a great strength.
It was a different type of death from Roo, my previous rabbit who died February last year. Hers was a sudden shocking moment, while Willow slipped away. But in both cases I was privileged to be there.
And so it hurts; the pain of death is never easy. But never does it make me not want to love again. The joyful reward of rescuing a scared timid creature and encouraging them to become loving happy pets is worth the pain of loss.
Grief is the final chapter in life, and for me one of the most important. The fact that humans (and other animals) have this sense of love and loss is a beautiful thing. I'd go so far as to say it is one of God's gifts. And strangely I celebrate the process of grief - it provides time to be sad, time to remember and be thankful for the good and ask forgiveness for the bad, time to complete the journey of that relationship. For me it is a precious thing.
As for new life - I planted out the seedlings that have been germinating on my windowsill.