Saying Goodbye

November 5, 2014


You spend the morning doing your favorite things together – eating bananas and reading books.  You sit by your rabbit’s cage, rub her velvet ears, rain kisses onto her nose.  Every now and then she grooms her Goose and then she turns back to you again.  She shows you, if you can bear to look, that she’s really ready.  It’s really time.

And then it is time, the clock blinking at you, the appointment written in pen.  You drive to the vet with your rabbit in your lap.  It’s been raining all week now, and a slow, steady headache has been building behind your eyes.  But when you get to the parking lot, the sky lets loose and it pours.  It is exactly how you feel.

You thought you might be able to hold her in the end, but the vet says it’s best this way.  So you say goodbye in the waiting room to your rabbit in your arms.  Ask the nurse to bring Goose for your girl, so she can go with her friend by her side.  The nurse is gentle.  The vet is kind.  You cry anyway.

After, they hand you a box.  It is heavier than you thought it would be.  At the end she was so light.

And you drive home in the rain, put on your boots and walk into the woods.  You dig a hole for her, by one of the biggest trees.  The soil is rich and dark.  She’ll be protected here, close enough to the creek that it will sing her to sleep.  She’ll rest under a canopy of leaves.

yellow fall leaves

Then you pick up your daughter at school during nap time, the room dark and quiet.  You step around sleeping children to find your own.  Carry her in your arms to bring her home.

When you get there, your daughter draws a rainbow on your rabbit’s box.  Your husband draws a bunny.  You write her name and draw a heart.

Don’t be scared, Bunny, your daughter says and you all cry.  And then, together, you take her to the woods.  Lay the box in the ground.  Each of you places a rock on her box, a yellow leaf, an evergreen bough.  And finally, and handful of dirt.

Bunny funeral

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and all of that.  You finally understand why people dig graves, why it’s important to have a place to remember.

At night your daughter sits on the couch and then calls to you.  I looked out the window and saw Bunny, Mommy.  I was so happy.  I was so sad.

It is a season for falling things.  You hope for new seasons.  You hope for new growth.



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