Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fucking rat...

Okay, she was a good rat, and she's gone now, and I refuse to speak ill of the dead, simply because her death traumatized my children.

And it did.

Of course, Chicken cried all day, but she womaned up and when the vet asked if we didn't want to operate (on a 3 year old rat--seriously?) she said "NO." When the vet asked if we didn't want to take Lullaby home and see if she would live a while yet (she was still active, even with a tumor 1/2 her body mass attached to her side) Chicken said, "No, because it's going to get worse." And when the vet said, "We still have to charge you for the office visit because it's not a cat or a dog," (and WTHF is up with that anyway?) she said, "Mom, are you sure we can't have grandma do it?"

I said "No, honey, because grandma really doesn't want the little kids to know she killed your rat--we'll just pony up the $54, and bury her in the front yard like we do."

And Lullaby gave us a few more rat kisses and looked at me with her beady intelligent eyes that seemed to say "You bitch--I'm fine. Are you really going to put me down for a big growth and some blood in my crap? You've been doing that for years and they seem to be letting YOU live!" And then I remembered that we're going to have to have a housesitter again, and that Chicken is going camping with grandma again, and really, this rat was threatening to go tits-up at all of the worse possible times, and that maybe, it would be better, saner, for all involved, if we put her down today, while Chicken and Ladybug were visiting the kitten cages at Bannfield.

I came out of the room with the same box that we carried the rat in, except the rat inside was in the usual altered state of existence after euthanasia, and Ladybug wanted to carry the box. Chicken got all upset, but I figured, what the hell, I'll be a good mother and make this day suck for myself as much as humanly possible. I opened the box and showed her the limp little body, and said, "Lullaby is dead, sweetheart. That's only her limp little body, and the part that made her give you rat kisses is all gone."

Ladybug was upset--but not loudly, and not for show. She just held that box to her chest and looked at it with her lower lip pushed out until we got the box home. Her eyes got damp a little, and she repeated, "The rat is dead? Mom, you need to fix the rat. Mom, you need to fix it. You need to make it move. Really. Make it better, Mom. Fix the rat."

On the way out of the pet store/veterinarians, we bought some catfood, and the clerk got all excited. "What's in the box?" she asked. "A dead rat," I answered. She wasn't so excited after that.

We got home and I'd watered the flowerbed (I use that term loosely) where we've been burying rodents for the last 11 years, and we dug the hole and said goodbye to the limp little body in the big muddy hole. (We've got quite a collection in that flowerbed--and I got to hear them all listed on the way home, and can I say, 'Thanks one hell of a lot, Chicken, for making me feel like the queen of the dead fucking rodents?' And there was Spike the Guinea Pig and Trixie and Newman and Paige and Jasmine--"Remember Jasmine mom, she died on Halloween--you and dad gave her CPR for two hours while I lost my fucking 5th grade mind?" "No sweetheart, I'd managed to block that out with intensive therapy and hallucinogenic drugs, why the fuck do you ask?")

Ladybug was horrified--we were just going to put the rat in the hole? She wanted to sit on the bench with the rat, so she wouldn't be lonely. We got inside, and I double checked with Cave Troll--"You said goodbye to Lullaby, right, because the rat is dead now, and she won't be coming home." "Yeah, mom--can we get another rat?" Oh, thank Goddess, I thought--thank you Goddess, because this reaction I can deal with. Greed--I'm so grateful for simple American greed--we lost the rat? Let's replace it! Cannyagimmehallelujia!

No. We can't.

Because we went to the movies and got home, and Ladybug stopped for a moment of silence in front of the flowerbed, and told her brother, "Lullaby is in the ground. She's dead. Mom can't fix her."

And we got inside, and the Cave Troll wanted a piece of paper and a pen. (He's very into art therapy these days. We get into a fight, and he draws himself being sorry--it's very effective at making me feel shitty when he's the one who started it by being a total snot.)

Anyway, he came to me with a picture of the rat, in a hole in the ground, and (I shit you not) a headstone. And himself, standing next to it. (He looked a little like Spongebob, but by now, who the hell cares?) And then he fell apart. Cried for twenty minutes. No theatrics, no "I want mom to feel sorry for me because I can milk this", just honest-to-Goddess, cling to mom and sob weeping.

As I was typing this, Chicken came in and said, "My room's empty, mom. I even miss the cage."

And so I'll repeat: Fucking rat.

Rest in Peace, Lullaby--trust me, little fancy rat, you'll be missed.

8 comments:

Louiz said...

Oh no:( Hope the family all adjust without too much heartache. My parents dog recently died, and even though I was not the biggest fan of him, we've all found we have a Dolli shaped hole.

Donna Lee said...

We have a place like that in our back yard. Guinea pigs, cats and hamsters (we flushed the fish). All but Samantha the hamster/bitch who bit me every time I tried to feed her or take care of her. When she finally died, I put her in the trash in a paper bag. Em wanted to freeze her until the ground thawed enough to bury her but I threw her away (with no small satisfaction) and never told Em, figuring she would forget. Of course she didn't and I had to 'fess up. To this day, she reminds me of Samantha. No one cares that the hamster/bitch bit my fingers ALL THE TIME, just that I threw her out.

I'm sorry Lullaby didn't just quietly die on her own. That just makes it harder.

Roxie said...

If you ever doubt your ability to write, read this over one time and re-consider. Without being maudlin in the least, you have made me grieve the passing of vermin! I'm sorry for your loss. You know, Hallmark doesn't do a condolence card for dead rats.

It sounds as if you handled things in your usual straight-forward, honest and gentle manner. Good job, mom!

fawatson said...

queen of the dead fucking rodents

and giving a rat CPR!!!

Methinks there is a story somewhere in all this.

Galad said...

The bereavement counselor part of me appreciates how open and honest you were with the kids. Each handled it in their own way, and your acceptance allowed then that freedom.

While I'm sure today didn't feel good, give yourself some credit for the being an great mom :-)

RIP Lullaby

KnitTech said...

Poor kids.

TinkingBell said...

Oh dear - I am sorry about the rat - but Gay Babies'R'Us? Nearly wet my pants laughing!

JenB said...

Aww, I'm sorry the kids lost their pet rat. :(

And I hate to say this, but your story totally made me laugh. Am I a bad person? Do you love me any less for that?

Shit, $54 to put a rat to sleep. Unreal.

We had a flower bed cemetery for my rodents too. And your story also reminds me of the time I begged my dad to performed a medical procedure to save my hamster.