This post may seem a bit “off topic”, as it isn’t about green beauty or green living. But as I am having a very difficult time coping with a very recent and sudden loss, I felt the only way to purge some of this sorrow was to write about it and share it. Catharsis and all that.
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me, reads my blog or follows me on social media that I am a very proud and doting animal mommy. I have four cats (all sisters), two guinea pigs (brothers) and now, as of today, 9 parakeets (we started with 2 and 2 turned into 14).
All of our furry and feathered babies were raised by us from either a few months (cats & piggies) to right out of the egg (birdies). All of them are wonderful, loving, and loyal to each other as well as their human “parents”. It’s definitely an interesting family we have and one that I am grateful for every day. These precious creatures have made life so much more joyful, fun and rewarding. Unfortunately, the downside is that these animals don’t live forever and when they go, it can be sudden and without warning and you are left feeling helpless and heartbroken.
When two of our parakeets started mating and having clutches of their own, I had no idea that I would meet the bird that would claim my heart so completely and make my life brighter and just..better.
Because Theseus (all our birds are named after Greek Mythology characters) was born with a few deformities (a crooked beak and oddly bent wing), I made a point to watch over him constantly as his hatch mates had all been killed by the mother (we think all of the hatchlings in this clutch were deformed or sick). Theseus was still a bald little thing when he bonded with me. He figured out pretty quick that if he cried loud enough, I would come running and hold him, and then he would nestle in my hand and fall asleep. I literally spent a lot of time holding this bird, in my lap while I was working or watching tv. He would get comfortable and just fall asleep, not a care in the world.
As he grew older, he stayed pretty small (much smaller than all of the others) and his beak started growing more crooked. We ended up taking him to an avian dr. to have it filed down so he could eat better. After we did that, he learned to file it himself on a cuttlebone, so we never had to take him back. He ended up being one of the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen, as well as the smartest, calmest and most loving. He was also a huge goofball and some of the things he would do just made my day.
Theseus also learned to stand out from all of his other siblings, aunts, uncles and parents by cheeping instead of chirping. And if he heard my voice at all, or when I would come in the room he would cheep as if to let me know he heard me or to greet me. Every day I would have to hold him, cuddle him, kiss him and tell him how much I loved him or he’d squawk to get my attention! He also loved to hold my pinky finger and nibble on my nail, as well as kiss my face and mouth (probably looking for food!).
I know there are many things I am forgetting, but the point is, this bird was so very special, and not like any other parakeet (even the avian dr. said he was unique). He stole my heart from the moment he climbed into my hand and fell asleep as a baby and now that he is gone, that piece of my heart has been irreparably broken.
Though I know it’s not my fault, I can’t help but feel guilty..like I should have known he was going to die. His behavior did change slightly in that he became even more clingy and affectionate and possessive towards me, but he could be a bit “moody” at times, and he seemed fine overall, so I didn’t think too much about it.
But I can’t help feeling like I should have known..especially when he didn’t want me to put him back in his cage last night or that I woke up in the middle of the night with a sick feeling in my gut. I feel like I should have been there with him. I should have spent his last moments holding him, telling him I love him. I wish I had have known that when I was telling him goodnight, I was actually saying goodbye. 🙁
My other animal babies have been doing their best to comfort me (my one cat actually grabbed my face with her paws and licked my tears away and then stroked my head as if she was petting me), and I love them for it, but it’s going to take me time to deal with this. I won’t say get over, because I know I won’t. And I make no apologies. I’ve always loved animals, and when I love something or someone, it’s with all my heart. And when I experience a loss like this, it devastates me. But it’s the price I chose to pay when giving my home and heart to these amazing creatures, and I don’t regret that decision. Grief is fleeting, but the memories of loving and being loved so unconditionally will remain forever.
R.I.P my sweet Theseus (8/23/16).