This isn’t a post about rescue cotton tails, though it’s a good start. Each year, I get calls or drop offs: baby animals. As someone who has worked in rescue and rehab a long time- the truth is, the villain who made them orphans is usually the person who found them. I got the above little girl- because of my dog and my 5 year old, though. When my son found them, the nest was in a sorry state and one had been scattered over by the car. I mentioned, we’ve got an owl, and I’m pretty sure this was an interrupted buffet- unfortunately for the rabbits, the interruption was by another predator. That one, well, is a fairly obvious call. Of the 5 bunnies, 3 were ripped up pretty badly and one had a crush injury we didn’t know about until it killed her pretty quickly that first night. At the time, they were just little squirming furry beans with their eyes closed.
The two survivors will likely be released here in a week or so. You find a bunny like the one in my photo above, though? That’s not a baby. Ron Hines’ Second Chance has a fantastic and informative page regarding orphaned baby bunnies and it links to other babies you may find.
Anyway, not a post about rescue and rehab. Point being: good intentions. Most of the babies I get contacted about or dropped off, rabbit and otherwise- good intentions nearly kills them or it does. Rabbits, in particular. Even domestic orphans are pretty hard, ask a 4H kid who had to or tried. Cotton tails? I’ve got a pat lecture down. Because the knee jerk response isn’t kind and I don’t want to be mean to someone who is just trying to be compassionate.
The death of my estranged husband is another example of good intentions gone wonk-a-do. He died on May 8th and since, things have been emotionally very weird for me, anyway. We did have a complicated and at one point, very bad relationship. That said: that doesn’t freaking matter now. I am not of a mind that death instantly absolves all badness or that it somehow deifies someone but there are a world of things you think about and feel, regardless. I found myself going through so many of my old photos and his old posts, thinking about everything I knew he’d wanted to do…someday. Thinking about the good in him- and there was in fact a lot- and how his son would miss out on it. If that hadn’t been the case, talking with his grieving mother who had just found him a few hours before? I would have too be a spectacularly heartless person to fixate on the bad. I wasn’t anyway, but my god, mother to mother- that’s a pain no one should ever have to know.
That said, my middle son is in their care, and he is just about to finish the 6th grade. When my own son reached out to me and asked to come home- do you think I thought of her pain? Not immediately, no. Being honest, my first, knee jerk reaction was that my baby was in a lot of pain he couldn’t express and needed me. I have a lot of feelings of powerlessness there at this point but I also know how much his grandparents love him. I know at the core of everything: doing what’s best for him is necessary. The knee jerk gave way to understanding- but with that understanding also came some other feelings. I did not hate him. How could I? The things that caused our problems were all mental health related- and while yes, we both did and said things that were just awful: I’d long ago packaged up my feelings in terms of what he said to me over the years in the understanding that it did not excuse those things but it did put them in a context that left very little room for hate. Thing is, you think those packages hold tight- til they do not, sometimes.
Fear. I put myself in her shoes inasmuch as I was comfortable- which again, being frank: what mother wants to understand this? The idea of further compounding that pain with the fear I was feeling- I didn’t want to. But, even not wanting to speak ill of the dead, I couldn’t help hearing the echos of everything that had been said, years ago. Things you say in the heat of anger and you shouldn’t- when a marriage goes bad and there are kids. Things he had said which rationally, I know were just meant to sting at the time. Emotionally, though, my son is in pain and he is over a thousand miles away. Emotionally, I’m remembering the things that were said about how his grandparents felt I was a horrible person and probably a Nazi. (My partner is a living history re-enactor, not a Nazi or even close to it.) There is a considerable list.
I reached out for advice to protect myself- but playing nasty was like, the last thing on my mind, here. Thing is, sometimes people with the best intentions are like doctors- we’re gonna Worst Case Scenario, just in case. It definitely got me thinking about my own advice giving because I’d had some hellish nightmares and several panic attacks. I got to thinking about it, though- and I thought, Wait, if…if I’ve been told things meant to color my opinion- maybe they have, too. Maybe they’re afraid of what I would do, too, even though I would never do that.
I also factored in that I am hitting finals week and starting a new job: it’s a lot. To most who knew the harder things my ex and I had gone through on a surface level- the fact that his death actually hit me pretty hard was a surprise. For those closest to me, particularly Tab who knew but also knew both sides of the story: it was not. I though about what I would do, if I was unsure about where Aidan would be and how it would be, on top of this- that is not a comforting thing to think about but it is sadly necessary. Except, assuming things is horse shit and I hate it, so…of course, not my thing.
I didn’t want that to be one more emotional stab for them and I wanted to just…get it out there. That losing a son and a grandson was not even in the realm of possibility, here. I did not care if it was unwise to do so- at the point I did it: I just wanted to be clear that I was still doing what was best for my son and alienating him doesn’t factor there.
Religion factors in, kind of how you’d imagine it does but also, not. A large part of my fear stemmed from some phrasing in the obituary. It shouldn’t have, but it did. Being frank, I’d heard for years that they thought I was a devil worshiper or worse. (I am not throwing those who are under the bus or getting into that right now: but I’m not. I don’t think they think I am, either. I was more concerned about the Nazi thing. ) For me to cut them out of his life, however- is anathema to my own religious beliefs.
I still do not know exactly how everything will play out- and yes, I am still very nervous about it all. However, at this juncture- I think I’m good with the advice, though. I felt kind of dirty, blurting out how I felt to clear the air- the assuring them part didn’t feel as gross. Still, it felt gross blurting it out in a way- though, yes, a relief to not continue to brood on it. This is not something I want to ruminate on a whole lot and it definitely isn’t something I want to throw on his family’s already heavy situation.