I am lucky enough to have 2 amazing nieces, who at the moment are 20 and 13. I love these kids beyond words, and I revel in being the one that gets the call at 3am, when the older one is drunk, cant get a cab, or getting to hear about the latest crush on whichever boy band from the youngest. This amount of trust has been gained over years of making sure they had the money to take the trip to the movies on their first date, when Dad was short, and telling the truth when asked about why we have boobs and why we have to or should wear a bra.
These questions and soooo many more normally are cringe worthy, but I have found honesty and facts on a level each can understand, refreshing and enables a factual conversation and the girls don’t have to gain incorrect knowledge from their friends whispers. I love that I will the one dressing up as a superhero sidekick to their costume just to attend a comic convention because no one else would go with them (not that I needed much encouragement!)
So RJ, the 13 year old (name changed for privacy), she and I talk about the most amazing things
e.g How big a catapult would we need to build to propel a soccer ball over the house, or what super powers we would have if we could chose. (A topic for a whole other blog lol)
RJ owns a rabbit, which I feel I must point out is a mutant, I bought this rabbit and was assured it was a ‘Dwarf rabbit’…… eeerrrrr HELL NO! this thing grew, and grew, by passing the size of a small dog. The size might be best illustrated when I tell you this thing can climb the stairs 6 at a time!!! oh and if its helpful can kick a Yorkie 4 feet across a room when the Yorkie is bold enough to bark! (Of course causing raucious laughter)
Her rabbit sleeps in her arms, watches TV with her, listens to her secrets and offers no judgement.
Today my bro calls, the rabbit isn’t well can I take her to the vets. My heart sank to my boots. This rabbit, that sleeps, chews hay, poops is oblivious to the status it has.
I arrive to the vets, with the rabbit in her carrier, I already know things are not good, shes not her normal friendly, attention seeking self. Thankfully the vet is a good friend and knows that this bunny couldn’t be more valuable if she were made of gold or platinum.
The look on his face said it all, RJs bunny had a nasty infection that had been doing the rounds and is fatal. The kindest thing is to let her go. I phone my Bro, and share this news, this 6ft, bearded, muscular dude who is her tower of strength couldn’t even speak to me without his voice cracking. He knows that today he has to be the one that will break his childs heart. He would gladly take a bullet instead. So I stay with the bunny and hold her until she takes her last breath, together the vet and I put her back in her carrier and I thank him.
Driving home, I couldn’t take my eyes of the clock, the tick tock was deafening. Just knowing that in 30 minutes my Bro would collect her from school, and words that would cause her precious heart to break. I put the bunny in a shoe box, the age of tradition for animal burials. As I am digging the hole under my rose bushes, my Bro and RJ pull up. The look on her face, her puffy red eyes, even now makes me want to cry. They got out of the car, RJ holding so tightly to her Dads hand. I hugged her, and felt her resolve slip away as the tears fell again. We laid her valuable bunny in the ground and my Bro filled in the hole and tidied it up as I held RJ, explaining that her Bunny wasn’t in pain, and she was the best owner in the world and she lived a long and happy life. Hearing my Bro stifle a sniffle was so hard to hear, knowing that no matter how much male resolve he had, being a Dad negated all that.
We’re drinking tea, the universal salve for all ails, when RJ in a small, quiet voice says ‘My bunny was the first thing that was mine, that I got to love’ Then my big, strapping Bro just held her, at that moment I heard a heart break, his because he was helpless to ‘make it all better’ for his daughter and RJ’s because she had to learn a life lesson and feel a loss that there aren’t words to express.
Should we hide death from kids and use the ‘gone to live on a farm’ rhetoric or just be there with endless cuddles and understanding of temper outbursts. Tonight she stayed with me, and in the middle of the night sleepily climbed into bed beside me, I tell her its going to be ok and hold her until she falls asleep.
Her sobs while she sleeps makes me want to have the super power to take away her hurt……… but I’m not a superhero