“When you lose someone, you get used to living day to day without them. But you’ll never get used to the “10 second heartbreak.” That’s the time it takes to wake to full consciousness each day and remember…” ― Nina Guilbeau
I've started and stopped this post a dozen times. Maybe more. Or maybe I'm exaggerating. I'm good at that.
You can't possibly imagine the number of times in the last couple of weeks I've thought, I miss my dad. Too many.
I didn't want this to be a sad post, because birthday sadness isn't fun. So instead, I thought back to a bunch of happy memories. And I remembered this.
When I was in high school, you ran over a rabbit's nest while mowing. It had three baby rabbits inside. One got away. But you were worried the dogs might find the other two before the mom could move them. They had fur, and their eyes were open. They just needed someone to feed them a while longer before they could go their own way. So you brought them in and gave them to me.
We found a box and put some newspaper in it. We got them some grass because they were big enough to start nibbling. And for a week, we fed these two cute baby rabbits. I named them Nick and Stu. You thought I meant stew... Just like the time I had the tame white rabbit and wanted to name him Skittles. You said, "Skillet. Perfect name."
On a side note, I named them that because The Stand was my favorite book. Weird. Sure.
One day, I got home from school, and Nick was alone in his box. Stu had vanished. In the house.
He made the occasional appearance, but mostly, he was missing. A week passed and Mom was threatening to set out rat poison. Even Taz and Twinkie seemed oblivious to the fact that there was a rabbit loose in the house. Finally, after school about a week after he went missing, it was time to hunt down the rascally rabbit.
He darted beneath the couch, then made a dash for the refrigerator. It took some banging, some moving, some scare tactics, but I finally caught him between the wall and a cereal box. He wasn't hurt, but he was pretty scared.
Nick and Stu rejoined the world that day. I hope they made it okay. They were really sweet, when one of them wasn't sneaking around the house, chewing on who knows what. Needless to say, we didn't have any more indoor pets besides the dogs after that, although the occasional kitten did find its way in, but always went back out at bed time. At least they were polite enough to wait to go outside to do their business.
It's bittersweet to look back and remember that aww, we took care of these helpless rabbits and then, oops, we let one get away. It reminds me that despite the way you were a manly-man, you had a soft spot. Even we you claimed Peepooh annoyed you, I caught you playing with her so many times, I knew you really loved her. There's not really a way to cover up that softer side. It makes a nice memory.
I'd give a lot of things to make more memories with you. Twelve years without any new ones is tough.
Take care of those rabbits.
I miss you. Happy birthday.
Robert L. Cox