I think it must have been about 6 years ago since I was a new momma to my rabbit post-Batmizvah in 7th grade. During December of my 7th grade year, my pet dog who I had for basically my whole life (since about age four) passed away from kidney failure. I was heartbroken without a pet, but my parents didn’t particularly want another dog and my dad is allergic to cats. So I decided to get a pet rabbit for my Batmitzvah present in April. She was absolutely wonderful. She was a gray mini rex named Lulu. She was soft, cuddly, small, sweet, affectionate, but she had a little sassy side. She reminded me a lot of my dog, Sporty actually, who was a mini schnauzer, Sporty. He was also small, gray, sweet, with a little sassy side! At this time, 6 years ago, I was buying Lulu new toys and learning how to care for my tiny creature. Her head was still probably smaller than my palm and she was still adjusting to me and my mom.
It has now been a little over 3 months since she passed away and whenever I visit home it still doesn’t feel entirely real. That’s the thing I’m noticing about losing a loved one, whether a person, or a pet. It never 100% feels real for me. There’s always that tiny unrealistic ounce of hope that they’ll walk in the door even when they’re long gone. Sometimes when I drop food on the floor, I almost want to call my dog, Sporty, over to come eat the food, but of course he can’t. When someone (even a pet, not a person) is in your life for almost 6 years, it’s odd when they’re not anymore. For a while, I avoided my room because my bunny was no longer there. There remains an empty space where she stayed and I keep feeling like she’s in a different room and hasn’t come back yet. It feels less real when I’m at college.
I notice this is how I feel about people passing away too. My grandpa passed away from terminal pancreatic cancer almost a month ago (on St. Patricks’ Day)…I’m just now mentioning him in my post because it’s easier to talk about losing a pet than a person. It’s still a fresh wound in my heart even though his death came as zero surprise, we knew when it was coming and he lived a long, happy life with the love of his life (who he had been together with for nearly 60 years, since they were sophomores in high school!). I don’t see him unless I’m visiting home for college so his terminal illness didn’t feel 100% real, it still doesn’t feel completely like he’s gone forever. I still catch myself saying “grandma and grandpa’s house” when I now mean “grandma’s house”. But I now realize, maybe this is my way of keeping lost loved ones in my memory. I’m typing this as I look at two stuffed animals on my desk–a mini schnauzer and a gray rabbit. My pets, along with any people I lose in my life, will always be in my memory.
You probably wonder why I’m talking about something so serious (death) on my new blog. Well, I feel like before I experienced loss in my life, I rarely thought about death. I think it’s an important thing to talk about because it can be so difficult to talk about losing loved ones but it’s something everyone will go through at some point and talking through it is a good way to cope. I found it uncomfortable to talk to my friends about my grandpa being ill, because no one knows what to say. But that goes without saying, because there is no right thing to say. I also realize that writing is one of my favorite emotional outlets. Whenever a boy would hurt me I would write sad poems about him and now this is what I do with grief too, or any hardship really. I just want my readers to know that it’s so okay to talk about death. And also that grief is not like pulling off a band-aid. It’s a gradual process, it’s not a wound that heals and disappears. It’s a pain that leaves a scar, but that scar strengthens you in the long run.