Last week, Elmo my 7 year old bunny died.
I know. A morbid subject to write about, now being Chinese New Year and all. But c’est la vie, eh? You tell it as it is.
For a few months prior, she had had hind legs paralysis that wouldn’t go away. The vet had prescribed a course of antibiotics to treat the suspected nerve inflammation, but told us that she might not recover. Apparently it is pretty common in bunnies, and on the positive side, Elmo was an old bunny. She’s had a lot of carrot-nibbling and wall-gnawing years behind her. Not to mention all the cables, electrical appliances she had destroyed. So I would say that she has lived well. We took good care of her! And all things, living or unliving, they come to an end eventually.
But if I can be a bit philosophical about it, there is a kind of symbolism about her death – an inexplicable sense of closure. Remember what I said about the end of an era? Things around me had been slowly crumbling down. Now almost everything in my life that could possibly die, has already died. A clean slate, metaphorically speaking, should not be too difficult. Is it too much to hope that things would get easier from here?
I came back from Japan on Friday evening and went to take a look at her once I got home. She was still alive, just looked sleepy. Yet, there was an unmistakable frigidity about her which was not usual. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that I could almost sense life literally draining out, like sand slowly trickling down in an hourglass. And then a few hours later, she was gone.
While I was not particularly upset about Elmo per se, death as an occurrence in itself always has a way of messing with my head. There is such a brutal finality to it which I find unsettling.
I wonder how did it feel like to die that way? When life is slowly leaving you, would you be able to feel it? The slow graduation from mortality to absolute lifelessness – would you be able to stop it if you so choose? Would you be able to sense its onset? Like a button that could be pressed?
It would be nice to know. I imagine that the awareness would be comforting. To know when to say “This is it, so long…”