The Unnamed Bunny

April 29, 2017

[I wrote this for a Story Slam for my local writers group recently]

 

I have seen my dad cry only once in my life. He never cried when he stopped drinking, or before that, when my mom threatened to take us and leave him if he couldn’t stop.  He didn’t cry when my mom went into a psychiatric hospital because she was suicidal. He showed no obvious emotion when he’d tell us about his “real mom” who died of a brain tumor when he was ten years old. There were no tears from this man at my brother’s wedding, at my sister’s elopement party, when any of his grandchildren were born, or when we threw he and my mom a surprise 40th anniversary party. He didn’t cry at his father’s funeral.

I have seen my father cry only once, and it was when the neighbor’s dog killed our bunny.

My dad was not a fan of adopting this bunny. At the time, my parents had three children that my father never seemed quite used to, sometimes looking surprised to see us there, or to be addressed as “Dad.” In addition, our family already had two dogs, two cats, four ducks, a parakeet, two guinea pigs, and an opossum. So, it’s understandable that he didn’t want one more creature to take care of, but he agreed to let us keep the bunny when a friend needed to give it up.

For some reason, I had always wanted a pet rabbit. I imagined it snuggling up in my lap while I read, which my cats never seemed to want to do (possibly because I had dressed them up in doll clothes on a fairly regular basis). Instead, the rabbit turned out to be a biter; it never got along with any person or animal in the family. It was relegated to an outdoor hutch, and was essentially forgotten. I can’t remember if it had a name, or if it was male or female; we lost all interest in it. The rabbit was probably much happier living its little bunny life outside, away from kids who wanted to hug it or shove lettuce down its throat.

This rabbit would have been the most forgettable pet I’ve ever had, were it not for the way it met its end. Our neighbor’s dog managed to find a weak spot in the chicken wire of the rabbit hutch, and then found its prey. The rabbit didn’t look like it had suffered, and in fact, its lifeless body actually just looked like it was sleeping. It was surprisingly untraumatic.

By the time I was ten, our family was already used to having pet funerals, and had a section of the garden dedicated to burying various animals. Someday in the future, an archaeologist will be greatly interested in the variety of animal skeletons in this garden. We usually took turns saying nice things about the dearly departed pet, my mom would read a Bible verse, my dad would say a prayer, and we’d bury the pet with a homemade grave marker.

This time, though, everything was different. My dad started crying as soon as he laid eyes on the rabbit. None of us knew what to do. Dads didn’t cry–at least mine didn’t.

He couldn’t stop crying either. It wasn’t loud or dramatic, and he didn’t seem to see any of us. There was no embarrassment, just silent tears. I had no idea what was going on, and we eventually all left him alone. The rabbit was buried, none of us ever mentioned the tears, and we moved on.

As an adult, I’ve learned just how many tears my father probably had stored up; how many regrets he had, and how much pain was never acknowledged. I don’t know what it was about this one rabbit that unleashed these tears, but clearly there was a reservoir of pain that was waiting inside of him.

I’ve wanted to ask my dad about this, but there’s a barrier that has always been there. He treats emotions as a joke, talking about how feelings get in the way. Somewhere in there is the man who broke down, weeping over a rabbit without a name, but I’ve never seen him again. I’m not sure I ever will.

 

 

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Medication Adjustments

April 24, 2017

I’ve written about this before and I find myself in the unenviable place of being there again. This last year (it’s actually been more than a year; I survived the anniversary!) since the breakup has been filled with sadness, grief, and depression. It got to be almost impossible to tell the difference and when months had passed and I was still finding it difficult or impossible to get out of bed in the morning, not able to think clearly, starting to think that the world was better off with out me… and all those other definite signs of clinical depression… I went back to the doctor.

I didn’t go to the doctor who kept saying she had no idea what to do. I actually advocated for myself – which is REALLY hard to do when you feel worthless and exhausted. But I did and I got a new doctor. He was thorough and knowledgeable and explained everything carefully to me.

I’ve been gradually increasing some and adding some and hoping it works, but medication adjustments are TOUGH. So right now is the anxious time, where my brain is going even faster than it already did, which was already too fast. And I worry about everything, find fear in things that aren’t there, and am generally miserable.

I’m giving it one more week then I’m going back to the doctor to tell him I can’t live like this. He was really up front and told me there would be this period, but I hate it. I just want to have a “normal” brain, one that doesn’t need medication to not want to die.

Seems like that isn’t that much to ask!


Fear

April 16, 2017

If there is one thing that would change my life for the better, it would be having less fear. That is an understatement. It wouldn’t just change my life, it would revolutionize it.

I am not afraid of snakes, spiders, or bridges. I’m only a little afraid of heights and commitment. I am, however, terrified that I will not be taken care of.

I have believed in God for my entire life. But I don’t trust God. I don’t believe that God cares about me or will care for me. This is, of course, a bit of an exaggeration. I believe in my head that God cares about me, but it’s never made it to my heart.

I want that to change. I really do. I don’t want to spend sleepless nights trying to figure out what I’m going to do about housing a year from now or if I’m going to be alone when I die. I don’t want to go through every worst-case scenario and everything I’m afraid of and try to figure out what I’ll do in every possible case.

I want to actually believe God. I want to trust God. I don’t understand, but I want to know that God cares for me, cares about me, and will take care of me. I don’t want to fear the future; I want to be excited for what God will bring me.

But how?


Tired of Grieving

April 7, 2017

I miss my ex so much. SO MUCH. And friends have tried to explain to me that I’m better off without someone who can’t handle being in a relationship (I think he left because being alone felt safer, but honestly, I got so little closure that I don’t really know). And that doesn’t help.

I had a really weird dream last night, or actually early this morning right before I woke up. I dreamed that I was snorkeling with cobras. And it was terrifying, so I woke up afraid, but then somehow it got me thinking about the good snorkeling experiences I’ve had…. all of the latest ones being with him. And we loved snorkeling together. We would hold hands while snorkeling and squeeze the other person’s hand when we saw a really good fish. Sometimes he would get really excited about a fish and sort of wave his hands around. We went to Hawaii twice and Puerto Rico once and each time had amazing snorkeling experiences. We usually snorkeled in the morning, and then we would take hot showers or go in the hot tub and talk about all the cool things we saw: the coral and the fish and the sea turtles.

I miss him so much. I’m not sure if it would be better if I had more closure or not, but I’ll never know.

It’s more than losing him as a person. It’s the rejection – him walking away and I don’t know why. It’s the loss of a dream – we did really well together and we loved traveling together. It’s not having someone in my life who knows me in the way he knew me; who I didn’t have to explain things to.

I miss him so much and I’m so tired of grieving. It goes away eventually, right?