Puzzle, I miss you more than I could ever have imagined. Trite words, I know, but your loss has left me without thought or reason. I cry for you every day…grief has me so tightly wound that I feel little else.
Sometimes, I call your name in the sing-songy voice that made your awesome ears flip to-and-fro: “Where are you mamma?” “Are you watching me?” “Are there PELLETS?” At night I whisper your name to myself like lullaby and recite the alphabet, one letter for each friend passed, until I drop to sleep exhausted and lonely.
Baaa-by….are you kissing Ande’s eyes and telling him (my sweetest Poke-a-roo) I nearly died when he left me, too? Is he snuggled beneath you, nearly squished by your soft hugeness, comforted at last without me there to hold and love him? Please…please let it be so. I could not bear for either of you to be alone.
I remember so clearly the first moment I saw you on that cold and damp December day. You were huddled at the back of that huge tan carrier, wet, cold, filthy, bloated and nearly bald….and you were only 4 weeks old!
My heart actually hurt when I saw you. I knew right then, This is what is meant by “love at first sight!” My heart filled for you, and as you nestled in my arms in that scraggly dry towel, I felt your little body fill with love for me, and I knew that you would live.
Please come back. I miss our morning snuggles and your thundering paws to get to the pellets before they’d even left the spoon; the clink of your teeth when you grabbed the spoon and tossed it at our little Poke-a-roo. I think he loved you more than I do, and it was really better that he went away first, just before his ninth birthday.
How can you both be gone? I ask myself over and over… I know that Ande was nine – lost to congestive heart failure – but you were only four years old! My big beautiful diggy bunny, how could I know that a plastic hidey toy in the yard would be the villain that took you away from me? How could I know that lurking beneath that innocent child’s toy, where you loved to snooze and dig, would be the sickness that took you away. Mold? In my yard? Everyday, before I let you out to play (because even house rabbits like a little sunshine and grass), I checked the yard for anything out of place or dangerous: the rotten oranges tossed over the fence by bratty neighborhood kids, yucky sticks or a ‘surprise’ left by that sneaky pooch we call Maisie. Yet still it was not enough.
How could you be gone because of me?
I remember the days you came to work with me, slept on my lap between getting the special feedings and medications to make you well. You would not eat without me. And finally, when you were getting well, your hair nearly grown back (and we knew for sure that you were a rex!), the late night play times when your baby energy could not be contained. Smart and spoiled, that was you! Hopping and thumping until I woke and brought you into the bathroom for a pre-dawn ‘Bunny 500!’ And when you were done, you would hop into my lap and fall asleep. What was my sleep compared to that?!
I knew from the moment I saw you that you would be my special love, just like Ande Oakley…and Napkin. He was so lonely and angry since he’d lost his bunny-love, Napkin (little angel, with us such a short short time)—and then you came into our lives. He was so jealous of you at first because he had to share me with yet another bunny. But when you were old enough and fixed, and it was finally time to let you be together for the first time, you kissed him right away and I saw him melt. I am lonely and angry too, little koala nose, my special Puzzle-o, won’t you come and kiss me too?
Please come back, baby, and shake your gorgeous head with glee when I catch you peeing on my couch! Do your little hoppy-dance when I tell you NO! you may not go beneath the tv table, no matter how cute you are, no matter how sneaky and clever. Please come back and chew on our shoes and sneak into the kitchen to rile Puck and Mousey. Please come back. I promise it is safe.
Come back my naughty bunny, my baby love.