My rats are gone. It’s been half a year now.
At first, I thought this time was necessary to take just because of medical reasons. The herd was a carrier of bacteria pasteurella multocida, so quarantine was a must to guarantee health security for the next herd.
But when Olena passed away I had to finally faced a long-delayed grief and resentment. And it was many months later when I realized that those six months were also a time necessary for my soul.
Some people do not decide to never take care of rats again after such emotional period. But for me, from the beginning, it was obvious that I will again need rats in my life. Why? You would ask. Why every 2-3 years you want to go through sorrow? Why you want to spend your time in the line in veterinary clinic? Why after hard day of work, instead of taking some rest, you prefer to saw hammocks and cleaning up the cage?
I believe that every rat owner had to answer these questions at some point.
Rat life is short but ours too
Rats and my grandparents passing away at the same time, made me faced experience of grief and sorrow doubled, no, multiplied by 6. It was in veterinary clinic, just after I sad good bye to Lia, kissing for the last time her dead body, when my father called me saying that my grandfather is dead.
Few months later, when I was coming back from my grandmother funeral, I have found Osa in her cage after second stroke. I was going on foot through the city, in the middle of the night (streets were closed because of Obama president visit in Warsaw), holding the transporting box with my baby inside, trying to reach veterinarian…
Only Olena stayed with me, and bond between us grown to something special. I was taking care of her till her last day. At the same time my second grandmother was in the elders home, suffering from Alzheimer disease and not recognizing members of her family any more. I was doing my best to cherish the remnants of time I had with both of them. But I knew end will come. And it did.
For months I could not watch rat photos. I could not spend and hour on rats exhibition, that I used to enjoy so much in previous years. I left this blog, Instagram profile, Snapchat, Facebook, online friends who were there for me for so many years. Taking this chance I want to say – I am sorry if it made me look ungrateful guys, but I needed that time. Time to think. Take a lesson. Swallow it, as it was sour pill. I hope you understand. I am grateful for all your kind words, support, good thoughts you sent in my direction. I could not say enough “thank you” for that.
Guess, I also learned how I am dealing with such strong emotions. I am not type of a person focused on past. I am all about the future. Seeing things not as they are, but as they can be. So I pulled myself into work with doubled energy. I cannot say that it didn’t brought some benefits, but I came to the point when I started to feel that I am missing something. Someone. Rats. I miss them. And I want to give them home again.
Rats do not take, they give
When I am looking at the past from today’s perspective, I can see rats were somehow a rebellion. They appeared at my home when I was going through therapy, trying to find true self and fighting OCD. For someone who is afraid of the tiniest dirt and sickness, taking care of pets, was a challenge for sure. I like to think that rats were my private therapists, helping me go through the process of facing my fears in a behavioural manner, let’s say.
First time in my life I had to take care of someone. Be fully responsible for another live being. From the person focused only on myself I turned into owner, carer, and finally a rat parent who treats rats as family members.
A life lesson from rats
Seeing animals so smart, full of energy, with amazingly strong live will I realized we are not so different. Our heart beats are synchronized with different clocks. But our lives have expiration date.
Rats taught me about herd, family, pack. About responsibility. Care. But also about how precious life is.
This is the lesson rats gave me. Actually, they are giving me it constantly as Lizzy, Lia, Osa, Olena, they will stay in my heart forever. Same as my grandparents, even now, when they are gone, they are sharing piece of their wisdom with me. And I could not be more grateful for this gift of love for live.