To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
In Blackwater Woods
As a child, I loved two things above all else. Art and animals. My parents weren’t really animal lovers but we did have a dog and briefly, a cat. For a couple of years I was allowed to have a hamster. Then 11 year old me got an unpaid Saturday job at a riding school.
So from 7am till 4pm I volunteered. I bought in and turned out the horses; made up feeds and hay nets; groomed them and cleaned their tack. Whenever I smell cucumber even to this day, I am taken back to eating a cucumber on white bread sandwich sitting on top of a hay bale. The lucky kids who had riding lessons would finish, hand me the reins and I’d hose and rub down their horse, remove tack and turn out while they climbed into a waiting Range Rover. After several months of this my parents sensibly put an end to it.
Why am I telling you this?
Because you probably know making art is still a huge part of my life today. What you may or may not know is that animals are also a huge part. Since the day I left home I have had many, many animals share my life. Most have been rescues/adoptions and I’ve loved each and every one deeply.
2018 we lost both the rats, Rory and Atlas. Now comes the bit I dread typing. A few days ago Bunnyking passed away. As I read that back it still doesn’t make sense. And yes, that’s right, he was a rabbit. ‘Just’ a rabbit. Not a person, not even a dog.
But he lived in the house, uncaged and roaming freely. Every bit as much a part of the family as our dog and cat are. He came into the house in summer 2014 and was christened Basil. Within a short time he became Bunnyking, a kind of lost-in-translation situation with my daughter’s French boyfriend, and it just stuck. He has also left behind his heartbroken companion Virginia. As if losing him isn’t bad enough it twists the knife to watch her loneliness.
I saw it coming and I didn’t. Worried, yet I put my faith in the vet. I told myself he was trained to spot anything life threatening. If only I’d insisted on more examinations. If only, if only…
In any case, he probably wouldn’t have survived an anaesthetic.
With hindsight it would seem he had a congenital heart problem that had gone undiagnosed and there was nothing at all I could have done differently. It was written in the stars his life would be a short, but happy and loved one.
Rabbits are such sociable little things, I can’t let Virgina be alone for too long. I know I’ll have to get her a new pal soon, which will be hard to deal with but I have to put her well-being first. If you live with and love animals you will understand my pain. The grief we feel after a pet’s passing is agony and all we can do is wait patiently for time to do it’s thing.
Bunnyking | May 2014 – Dec 2018