Thursday, September 06, 2007

October J Decided

Then a great beauty was revealed in him, so that all who after came there looked on him with wonder; for they saw that the grace of his youth, and the valour of his manhood, and the wisdom and majesty of his age were blended together. And long there he lay, an image of the splendour of the Kings of Men in glory undimmed before the breaking of the world. — J.R.R. Tolkien
October J Rabbit has passed. Yesterday, at five o'clock in the evening, he died in Jenifer's arms. He had waited for me to return from work. He waited for me, and when I joined him and Jenifer on the sofa, I knew that his time was drawing near.

Jenifer offered October some water, some honey, but he wanted neither. Then, with great force, he pushed down with his front legs, and Jenifer placed her hands beneath his paws to give him better leverage. All his long life he had rarely uttered more than contented murmurs and clucks, or the low grunts of sexual desire. Now, at the end, determined sounds of effort escaped as he pushed down and reared his head up, leaning into Jenifer's chest. He pushed and pushed again, rising skyward, until with his last breath his spirit escaped the body. His hind feet were pressed neatly together, his little hands folded as if in prayer, and his gentle face lifted to God. He died with honey in his mouth. It was a beautiful death. Perfect. A miracle.

We first found October, or he found us, in the pet store Jenifer was working in. The date was September 5, 1997. He gave us 10 beautiful years to the day. He was always fully present and effortlessly himself. Everyone who knew him saw his big personality, was forced to reconsider their notions of what a rabbit could be. He was naturally a prey animal, and yet he approached others and the world without fear. If a dog or cat was out of line, Mister J would not hesitate to thump and let them know who was boss. If he were a Gatorade flavor, he would be Fierce Melon. He was regal and imperious (he got that from his mom), curious and generous. He was our sweet, rabbit-shaped boy.

October J, we love you. We will be with you always, to the end of all days.

Each form you see has its unseen twin image.
If the form is transient, its essence is eternal.
If you have known beauty in a face
Or wisdom in a word,
Let this nourish your heart:
What passes is not real.
— Rumi

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Anonymous Eric said...

You made me beautiful bastard.

Nobody wrote about passing from the world like Tolkien, but you did it quite well.

Write me a eulogy some day, kay?

10:55 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Thank you for sharing the details of October J's passing. I'm fortunate to have known him.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Julie O. said...

I'm sorry for your loss. He was beautiful. You got me choked up...

11:51 PM  
Blogger Mainline Mom said...

Oh I'm so very sorry to hear this news. October J really was an incredible rabbit, and I'm not a rabbit person. He was unlike any other rabbit I've ever met. I'm so sorry for your loss.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

A great rabbit.

He had loving parents and went nutzo for goji berries.

I hope that his journey puts him in a sunny, grassy field, and a berry not more than a single hop away.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I never knew October J, it is clear that he truly was a beloved member of your family and I mourn his passing along with you.

A fitting and beautiful tribute to what I am sure was a great friend...


6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:59 PM  
Anonymous marianna said...

Ryan, What a lovely tribute to October J., my beloved grandrabbit. I'm so glad that I got to see him before he got sick. He showed his spunk that day when I tried to move his dinner. God Bless October J!! Love to you & Jenifer. Mom

6:08 PM  
Blogger Brian Sibley said...

Simple yet profound: thank you for your elegantly expressed and deeply touching post. And, yes, though few ever describe it so, death - like birth - is a miracle.

9:58 PM  

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