About a week ago, I rounded the house to find our dog, Duckie, sitting with purpose on the sidewalk giving me a look that said, “You need to deal with this.” As I walked closer I spotted the littlest brown bit of furry cuteness sitting at her feet. I picked it up and was surprised to the the baby rabbit was still alive.
Baby rabbits need help to keep warm, so is took this little guy in, wrapped him in a wash cloth and tucked it in bed with Jonathan. Jonathan fed this baby every hour with kitten formula. Rabbit milk is extremely hard to replicate and all the information I have found (this is not our first bottle baby rabbit) says to use kitten formula. The rabbit, named Spock, would lick the formula off of Jonathan’s finger and snuggled up to him during the night. It was just so sweet.
Then the other morning, he woke up to find that the bunny had died. Yes, he cried. His heart was broke and I just hate it. One of the hardest lessons I have to learned as a mother is to let my children grieve loss- whatever that loss may be. My first urge is to make it better, to get a new pet, or sweep it aside as if it doesn’t matter just so I don’t have to feel heart broke as well but none of that benefits my child in the long run. Like it or not, as long as we are on this side of heaven we will experience loss. One of the best things I can do for my children is to walk with them through it and show them how to feel real feelings and then deal with them in a healthy way. It is hard.
I must say that the farm has provided many opportunities to deal with grief and death. When we began this journey of homesteading, I had no idea how much death would be a part of our lives. But, never have we experienced the joy of life in the way that we have in our everyday lives on the farm. If we refuse things like the baby bunny to save ourselves from hurt, we would miss the days of joy and fun that was brought by the bunny. To love is to risk hurt, but love is worth the risk.
The afternoon the Jonathan’s bunny died our kitten ran up with another baby rabbit. What did I do? Handed it to Jonathan. Some might think I am crazy to provide my son with another opportunity to feel loss and hurt, but I think I provided him with another chance to love.
That rabbit died, too but before Jonathan had gotten attached. To be honest, we have never bottle-fed a rabbit and had it live. But hope springs eternal on a farm and we will keep trying should the opportunity present itself.