This year has been a strange year for me, I have had a few more losses this year than I would have preferred. In April I lost my dog Amos. Last year there was yet another, but that is far more personal and I am not ready to blog about it yet. This afternoon we lost our very old bird, Gilbert. You might think losing a bird is not blog worthy, but read on. As with all our animals they are and were a part of our family and losing one is like losing a part of yourself.
We were given Gilbert as a wedding gift from very good friends of ours. But “Gilly” as he was known was not just any bird. When we got him, he might have had feathers but was just a chick. I remember having to come home from university at lunch time to hand feed him! Unfortunately I do not have any pictures in digital form to share with you. But we hand rared Gilly until he could eat on his own. Because he was hand rared he has always been tame and would roam the house and sit on whoever he liked. The cat came off second best on more than one occasion.
The pictures that appear in this post is testament to how long we had him, nearly 12 years. Our children have enjoyed him as much as we have. He was always happy and fun to be with.
Please don’t feel sorry for me or the family as we feel privileged to have had him as long as we did and he died in the way that was very befitting and due to him. If I were him I would have been contented.
I went outside after posting the last post and I was setting the hose up to water the lawn. I finished that and I was standing next to the cage. I heard a scrapping noise and Gilbert was on the bottom of the cage in a bit of distress. I reached into his cage and got him out. I held him in my hands and sat down. Kate my wife called my eldest boy to come and see him. He is three and we felt that it was better that we included him rather than try to hide it from him. The latter would have been impossible anyway.
Angus and I sat there and scratched Gilbert’s head, just the way he liked and he passed away in my hands. He died where he was meant to and I feel that in some ways he chose it to be that way. So my son had some difficult questions after that which I answered as best I could. He reconciled that we would bury him in the yard, with his favourite toy. Angus although upset wanted very much to help, which he did.
My son placed Gilbert in the hole that I had dug and placed his favourite toy on his head (he used to scratch his head with it all the time). Angus was teary; as I was too, we filled it in and placed a cross near the hole. He was satisfied that it was right and he said he liked it and thought Gilbert would be happy there.
Now he is gone and I know there will be more losses, I dread each one as my pets are hardly that at all. I am not sure what is harder, the loss of another mate or that fact that my son now grapples with the realisation of his own mortality and that of all living things. Perhaps I lament the loss of innocence.
I do not regret sharing the experience with Angus, it was right and we shared something beautiful and sad together.