Saturday, April 24, 2010
There has been a death
Desperate tears cloud my vision as I write to you today. Two hours ago, Flora, one of the new baby Angora bunnies was put to sleep. I don't understand how things went so wrong so fast. And went so terribly wrong they couldn't be rectified except in death.
So much died with her today. So much more than that tiny pound of fluff we called Flora. So many of my hopes and dreams went with her. She was It. My first doe. The one that I would breed and who would kindle and who's kits would become the official start of our rabbitry. The rabbitry that would help us pay for the bunnies and perhaps put a little money into the farm. The one I was planning to make business cards for, advertising wool and kit sales.
But she was sick. We (the vet and I) don't know what happened or why. They wouldn't do an autopsy, there was no reason to do more tests, she wasn't pulling through. Her heart rate was down terribly low, she had some nasal discharge and a distended belly, the x-ray showed her backed up from her esophogas to her intestines, her temp was low and she wasn't eating, drinking or going to the bathroom. It was time to let her go.
I spent a few minutes saying good bye. I plucked a little of her fur as a rememberance. Maybe someday I'll spin it into a special something. They treated her with respect and compassion and took her away.
I take what I can from her passage. I learned a little more about how rabbits tick so maybe next time I can identify a problem before it becomes fatal. It will take time for me to grieve and get the nerve up to buy another young rabbit. Right now, I'm skittish, checking obsessively on my two bucks with a skeptical, morbid eye. I'm afraid and sad.
It was hard, even knowing her so little a time. I feel the agonizing weight of failure and regret pushing me down with the heartache of her loss. But part of farm life is farm death.
We're not a farm yet, I know. But we will be someday. Animals will get sick or hurt, they will die in birth and of old age. Some will even be chosen to die by our own hands. It's not easy. It's not meant to be. A part of me wants to grow thicker skin, be better able to handle the death of our animals, be professional and sever my feelings cleanly. Having an enlightened sense of the circle of life and our places in the universe.
The rest of me hopes I never do. That I greet each death with my sorrow and tears, giving my offering of grief to the life that is no more. That the sanctity of that life remains close to my heart and felt with each raggedy breath I take as I cry.
Only time will tell which I will become. I don't think one is better than the other, they both just are. As life is. As death will always be.