Saying Goodbye to Bunny

Last week, while I was staying with my family and finalizing wedding plans, I received a heartbreaking phone call from my fiance: our little deaf rabbit, Niels, had passed away in the night.

My heart sank to my stomach as I heard about how peaceful he looked in the morning, and how unexpected this had been – my fiance hadn’t noticed any difference in his behavior over the weekend, and Niels had certainly not indicated that he was having any troubles before then.

He’d always been a sickly rabbit (he was deaf and had recovered from a broken back), but he was a happy rabbit. He ate well and loved to snuggle with his “husbun” Rorschach after long days they spent exploring outside of their cage. So while it was unexpected, it made sense. But it didn’t make it any easier.

Niels, celebrating his first Easter.

Niels, celebrating his first Easter four years ago.

Closure: What I realized

When I drove back home the next day, I resolved to see Niels one last time. My fiance had put him in a shoebox so that we could bury him back on my parent’s land, and I needed to see his beautiful black fur. When I saw him and reached out to touch him, I realized that it wasn’t actually the still and silent body in front of me that I had loved.

It was the life he had, the life he brought to our little family every day, that I most loved and will most miss. But when I saw his tiny body, I knew that it was time to send it off – just like the other possessions I’ve been slowly passing on through my life.

The memories and happiness that his life brought me still remain, and the hole I thought he would permanently leave has already started to fill up with help from my other rabbit, my fiance, and my dear friends. I look back at pictures fondly, knowing that Niels was my little source of consistency through a period of great changes in my life.

I miss the little guy, but I feel I’ve come away from this sadness with a heart full of gratitude for the nearly five years he was with me, lighting up my darkest days with the rare, pure joy that sometimes only pets can bring.

It was a reminder to always pay attention to the littlest and simplest things, even when there are loud, big distractions trying to disconnect you from them. It was a reminder to always say a fond goodbye to your loved ones, even if you’re only gone a day. And even if they’re rabbits.


5 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to Bunny

  1. This was such a perfect post to come across.

    I had a bit of a breakdown in 2010 as a result of overload and anxiety. It reached a point where I couldn’t commit to anything or see anyone because my energy levels were so low. My husband was worried about me, and wanted to do something that would be soothing and bring some comfort into my life, so he rescued me a kitten (I had always wanted a kitten). Stroking her fur made me feel calm and peaceful; when I was angry, she would help me see the bigger picture. When I was sad or fed up, she would made me smile. Over the course of the past four years, I started to get better, stronger and return to myself again.

    On 11th of April (nearly four weeks ago) she was hit by a car and died. It was like losing part of myself. I had appreciated her all the time, but I hadn’t realised how central she had been to my recovery and how grateful I was for that until she was gone. I wouldn’t be the person I am now if she hadn’t walked part of the way with me. What you said about the rare, pure joy is so true. She gave so much, and took virtually nothing in return.

    Thank you for writing this. It helps give me closure to have these thoughts and feelings affirmed.

    • Hey Sian! My apologies for the ridiculously late response to this. Pets really do that for you – today I miss my bun more than ever, I’m so grateful I still have the other one (who is actually sitting right beside me as I write this). But all pets are so different and fill a different part of our hearts, so losses like that do seem to take a bit of yourself. I am so sorry to hear about your little kitten, what a sudden loss. I hope you’ve been able to gain some more closure and comfort through the past several weeks. Thank you for reading, and I’m glad I could connect with you on this. Wish you the best!

  2. Pingback: Pet Project: Living Simply with Animals | Minimal Millennial

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