I have put off writing this post for as long as I could. I recently turned twenty, but I was incredibly blessed not to have lost close loved ones to death - until recently. Many of you have seen my (slightly spoiled) rabbit on my social media and blog. Mümi was with us for over ten years, meaning she was with me for over half of my life.
She was always there for me. My parents' divorce made some of my middle school years quite hard for me, but I always had her. I laughed with her and played with her and I also cried into her fur on many occasions. I was never an 'animal person' who just wanted to play with pets of others, but Mümi and I were a team. It is crazy how close you can get to a creature who cannot even talk to you. But over time, we knew that when she put her ears down, she was relaxed. And that the 'I'm such an underfed rabbit' look was just show because she was always on the hunt for snacks. And that you had to proceed with caution if she put her ears up and declared a carpet or mattress her territory of the day. She gave my mother and me so much joy and I can still not imagine going back home in the next break and not immediately running downstairs to say hello to her.
I have cried a lot over the past few weeks. Grief is a process and I already notice that it gets easier, but I am also sure that I will always miss her. She was so special - she loved cuddling, craved human contact, had an awful lot of terrible ideas like biting through our telephone cables (leaving us without a landline for a few days), and she was incredibly empathetic. Losing that is hard. We all got to say our goodbyes and she died in my arms without pain but it was so hard to see the life leave her eyes.
Her loss also put a dark shadow over the end of 2019 for me and I started 2020 shedding a few tears because I wish she could have welcomed this new year with me. I learned a lot in 2019 (and also struggled a fair bit through which I always had Mümi by my side), but dealing with loss is not something I learned in 2019. It is a lesson I will have to learn in 2020. Saying goodbye is so hard - but dealing with the fact that you had to say goodbye is just as hard.
I found this poem by J. Hendel and it resonated a lot with me so I thought I would share it in case it helps someone else put what they're feeling or have felt in a similar situation into words:
Don't tell me that you understand,
Don't tell me that you know.
Don't tell me that I will survive,
How I will surely grow.
Don't tell me this is just a test,
That I am truly blessed,
That I am chosen for this task,
Apart from all the rest.
Don't come at me with answers
That can only come from me,
Don't tell me how my grief will pass...
That I shall soon be free.
Don't stand in pious judgement
Of the bonds I must untie.
Don't tell me how to suffer,
And don't tell me how to cry.
My life is filled with selfishness,
My pain all I see,
But I need you, and I need your love...
Accept me in my ups and downs,
I need someone to share,
Just hold my hand and let me cry,
And say, "My friend, I care."
The poem perfectly expresses that conflict grief brings with it - I felt quite guilty for some of the things in the above paragraphs. After all, the things I miss about her are the things she did for me. How she helped me through tough times. How she made the good times even better. How she made me feel. But I guess what makes us love people is how they make us feel. That is what matters. And it is ok to miss that. It is okay to be devastated knowing that you will never get to feel that again. It may sound selfish, but if my experience with mental health last year taught me anything, it is that your feelings are valid.
Tell the ones you love how much they mean to you.
Lots of Love,