Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Over the Rainbow Bridge

There are some things about being a mom that truly, truly suck great big gopher guts. Cleaning up puke, wiping diarrhea-crusted butts, saying "no" when you really wish you could say "yes," and picking up and burying dead pets while your daughter cries until she can't breathe any more.

Ribit the Rabbit died yesterday afternoon. In Wild's arms. I wasn't there, I wish I could have been, but I wasn't. I just wanted to hold her and wipe away her tears and wave my magic wand to make everything all better again. But I couldn't. I think the poor thing died from heat stroke. It's fall, dammit, it's October, and yesterday our temperature soared to a record 94 degrees. With her winter fur coat already in place and just not enough shade around her hutch, Ribit couldn't take it. I had to pick up her body, already stiff and cold with rigor mortis, when I got home from work, wrap her in a bit of purple and gold cloth, and try to find a place to bury her. Did I mention we haven't had rain for weeks? And that we live where the ground is almost solid clay? Yeah. Well, I tried digging in four separate spots until I found one a little less hard than concrete to dig a hole. I broke my shovel and only managed to dig it about 2 feet deep. The girls picked wildflowers for Ribit and told her how much they will miss her and I buried her. I put a couple of paving stones on top, to discourage grave robbing by marauding coyotes or other animals.

That part of being a mom sucked. Big time. I can deal with my own grief over my own lost pets. I felt so inadequate helping Wild in her grief, but did the best I could do, holding her, hugging her, ensuring her she did nothing wrong. Unruly understands that Ribit hopped over the Rainbow Bridge and is now munching on sweet clover and endless carrots alongside Star, Kabuki, Goliath, Jade, Sunny, Heidi, Bandit, Gus, Stripe and all the pets that have gone before us. She likes to talk about Star up in the clouds, galloping along the rainbow as fast as she can, eating lots of green grass and waiting for the day when she can be with us again. I think she understands death in a way a lot of us are still trying to figure out, and I think it comforts her to know that nothing is ever sick or hurting or sad or in pain on the other side.

Unruly hugged her sister and told her not to be sad, that Ribit was hopping with all her new rabbit friends and watching us, just waiting.

I cried.

It's wonderful being a mom.

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