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Mel ankh o lee

My rabbit died Wednesday night.

I held Jackson, first as I tried to warm him and syringe feed him, and later as he had seizures that left him gasping for air in between. His death was far more gentle than Coco who fought to the end. He just...stopped. As my last living tie to Montreal, I mourn him deeply.

Jackson did not love me, or rather his love came only within the last six months of his life. He loved Coco, his bonded partner, and he tolerated the humans. He was depressed after her death and I worked hard to gain any semblance of acknowledgement after she died. He ignored me. He turned his back and fled. He hid. I'm persistent if nothing else and I kept at it, luring him out for treats...which he would take and then hide under the bed.

Over the last six months, however, he became a different rabbit. He would greet me as I woke, demanding copious nose rubs before his breakfast. His demands for affection became so great that Mischa, the cat, would run over to insert himself in between us fearing that I liked Jackson more than him.

I've often described myself to my students as a "small annoying stream that will wear you down until I reshape you". I feel that this was my approach with Jackson. After 7 years of living with me, he finally liked me.

***

In January I broke my finger. Like every accident of it's kind it was stupid and fast and happened when I was thinking about something else - getting to the grocery store to buy salad for Jackson, actually. I was leaving the dentist's office on one of the only snowy days of this winter. I was thinking about all the things I needed to do and tromped to the back of the SUV to get the windshield scraper. The scraper retrieved and as I stood on the side of the vehicle, I reached up with both hands to close the back.

The finger was done for as the metal came down. My first thought was that I'd take the tip clean off, but my hand was still in my glove so I considered whether to take out the hand to look OR try to clean off the car so I could drive myself to the hospital. We Yankee ladies are nothing if not pretty fucking tough. In the end, I compromised and pulled my hand out of my glove. At the glimpse of bone I shoved my hand in the snowbank in order to consider what to do.  I sat for a few minutes and decided to keep the hand raised high and try to get the windshield clear so I could drive. That lasted until I realized that I was bleeding *far* more than I'd anticipated. This precipitated the decision to wander BACK into the dentist's office to ask for gauze.

GAUZE.

I got to the desk and kept my hand well out of sight because it was a bloody gross mess and why worry others, right? I leaned in and said in the calmest voice, borne from years of working with small children and not wanting to freak people out: "Excuse me, do you have any gauze? I may have taken off the tip of my finger"

Those, my friends, are words of magic. Dental folks poured from all corners of the office. I was sat down - which was good because I was perilously close to passing out - and they did an elaborate pressure bandage.  My phone was retrieved and I hilariously realized that the print from the now partial finger was the one that opened the phone.

Super long story short? Open fracture on the distal tip of my index right finger. The one you use for EVERYTHING. Not only did I break the bone in half? I crushed the entire top part of the bone.  Six weeks later and the finger does a funny, but horrifying, wiggle when I manipulate it. It will, it seems, take four months to heal.


***


Emily is hearing from colleges. I am coming to terms with my 1) Joy,  2) angst, 3) worry, and more 4)joy at the idea of her launching into the world.  Motherhood has been hard and while I love her fiercely, I am not built for this.  Watching her struggle through friendships this past year has been brutal.  I crave silence and the lack of the percussive rounds of her emotions.  I keep telling her that her people are out there and that she will find them - as I did, as so many of my friends have done. But fuck me, is it ever brutal. I'd happily break a finger every 4 months if I could ease this for her. 



***


It is February and like every other February before it, I am melancholy.










This post first appeared on I Am Doing The Best I Can, please read the originial post: here

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Mel ankh o lee

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