They put my bunny down yesterday. Well, she wasn’t my bunny any more. I gave her away when we sold the family home three years ago.
My friend who took her sent a message to let me know. She had tumours in her lungs. Poor Bells.
Getting that message swept me back to a time when I was desperately searching for ways to fill the aching hole in my heart.
One of the most crushing things about a marriage ending … just one of them … is how lonely you feel. You’re sharing a house and a bed with your partner, but you’re desperately alone.
My unconscious solution was to start buying pets. Lots and lots of pets. At one point I had seven chickens, two rabbits, two fish and a dog.
I just wanted things to cuddle .. well, apart from the fish, they don’t go in much for cuddling.
You mightn’t think chickens are very cuddly either, but we bred ours from baby chicks and they were fairly amenable to it.
I mean, they didn’t go for it like this turkey …
But you could definitely grab ’em and hold ’em close.
I didn’t realise bunnies weren’t the best cuddlers either, but Bell’s mate Frodo – pictured above – was very fond of me. He was quite the character, I adored him when he wasn’t chewing through the fridge’s electrical cord.
The kids loved those bunnies too, they cried buckets when we had to give them away.
The only pet we have left from that time is Charlie the Moodle, who was a revenge purchase after my husband broke my heart six months before he left our marriage.
Before the rabbits went, the Siamese fighting fish died – despite the insane amounts of money we spent on heating pads and medicine – and the chickens were killed by a fox, just a few days before my ex made his final, irrevocable decision to leave me.
One chicken survived the fox attack, and I remember us driving to Ingleside to buy her a new friend. We sat companionably beside the coop afterwards, cups of tea in hand, checking that old chicken didn’t attack the new pullet.
Twelve hours later my husband sat me down on the couch and told me our marriage was over.
When we sold the house, the chickens had to go too – my sister in law took them. I think they’re still ruling her roost:
That left Charlie, still a puppy and my responsibility for the next 15 years, needing to be looked after even when the kids are with their dad.
I had to go back to work full-time, so I bought him a friend to keep him company. And now I have two of the little furry bastards tying me down.
Oh, I love them and I cuddle them, but I don’t need animals to hold any more. The aching hole in my heart is pretty much gone.
I’m not totally mended. I spend 90% of my life perky and 10% of it inconsolable. I’d rather things didn’t swing to such extremes, but its better than the numbness I felt before, simply going through the motions of life.
Song of the day: Thompson Twins “Hold me now”