We buried Rhubarb today. He was long gone, but his little body needed a place to go, so we buried him next to Fuzz Bucket in my parents garden. Mum and Dad picked him up from the vet on friday (Mum paid for the entire vet bill, nearly $300), and the lovely Jane came across town to say a final goodbye.
This is what I wrote to say at his graveside.
Rhubarb never lived a moment in fear, never doubted himself, never had a moment of insecurity, never troubled himself over something he couldn’t control. He lived every moment of his life with vitality, joy, and love. He was a rabbit who knew how to enjoy himself, who knew how to celebrate life, and knew how to fully relax after a hard day of adventuring. He never met a treat jar he couldn’t open, a parsley plant he couldn’t devour, or a human whose heart he couldn’t melt – even the ones he bit.
Rhubarb has taught me many things, most of all that life needs to be tasted, and savoured, explored and devoured. A life lived in fear is a life not properly lived. Rhubarb came into my life at a time of great sadness, two days after losing Fuzz Bucket, my heart bunny, to cancer. Instantly there was joy in my home again, Rhu would never replace Fuzz Bucket in my heart but it took him very little time to carve out his own place, and make himself at home.
On being introduced to his new condo, he did a quick lap, and settled down comfortably in what had been Fuzz Bucket’s favourite place to relax. Custard, on the other hand, took a little while to understand and appreciate his charms. Rhubarb was once seen in his outside exercise pen sitting calmly in the middle of a whirlwind of activity – Custard running laps around him as he washed himself. Each time Custard would slow down to catch a breath, Rhu would lunge out to nip him, and the dervish would begin again. Sooner or later though, as the hormones died down after his neutering, Rhubarb decided that he didn’t mind Custard being the boss bunny. He was much happier relaxing and enjoying life, rather than struggling to be on top of the rat race. He was stoic whenever Custard needed to assert his dominance with an energetic humping session.
Soon they were best buddies, and would be seen on the webcam lying side by side as the sun traced it’s arc across the sky. Grasshopper would be a few feet away, not wanting to intrude on the cool kids, but not wanting to be left out either.
From the day I met him, till the day he died in my arms, I dreaded losing him. His was such a vital spirit, that his absence is felt very keenly. Our large house seems empty and barren because it is missing not just 2 kilos of rabbit, but a vibrant and passionate spirit, whose loss I will feel to the end of my days.
If you have a rabbit in your life, you know the joy I speak of, and you will also, one day, know the pain. And the more joy they give us, the sharper the pain we feel when they leave. Pain in some way, defines the love we have shared.