newborn bunny cold rescue

PART 2: How The Emotional Overwhelm of Rescuing An Orphaned Bunny Taught Me Empathy of A Father’s Journey To Save His Dying Son

emotional overwhelm instagramLast week was quite a week emotional overwhelm. I appreciate many of your on Facebook and Instagram messages giving encouragement of our bunny rescue story. And, I received a message from Ary on Instagram asking why situation happened to me and what the rabbit symbolized in my life right now. Here’s the story…

To read Part One of the story, click here.

Stepping Onto The Emotional Roller Coaster

From there, we purchased every possible item to keep this baby animal that we had yet to identify warm and hydrated.

I called every vet friend imaginable. And, I even turned to Instagram and got the help of friends and strangers from all over the country.

Things were looking up. The baby animal which we thought was a squirrel and then a gopher, started to move and crawl around.

I got formula and spent 40 long minutes nursing it with a syringe. At that moment, we realized the long ears made for an infant bunny. Surprised, we felt silly for not putting the nearby rabbit into consideration. I learned that I had to help it pee and when I failed to do that, I barely slept that night.

newborn bunny size rescueThe stress created tension in my body. I could barely take in a deep breath. I remembered how I felt when The Bean was in the neonatal intensive care unit for eight days after her birth. I felt calm on the surface, but deep inside I felt a panging anxiety that percolated just below the surface.

That day, I called rescue organizations and made a visit to the vet. The unsurety of the baby bunny’s prognosis filled me with grief. I cried and felt helpless. That feeling immersed itself into my thinking and made me wonder if I felt this way about my whole life. Helplessness has a way of doing that.

The vet said, “Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work out. Bunnies are fragile at birth.”

Hope Through Emotional Overwhelm

I understood what she said, and, at the same time, I hoped for the best. I continued and got the supplies I needed to care for the baby.

The day felt productive. I felt like I was taking a step forward. The third day, we began seeing growth. The bunny, which we called Rocky, sprouted fur. That night, I worried that the bunny would become cold. Again, I barely slept. The tension in my chest built into pangs. He barely ate. He had no appetite. I tried to sleep again, to little avail.

Aware of the attachment that I felt towards Rocky. Afterall, I named him. The next morning, I found him cold, limp, and thin. He wandered away from his heated area. I panicked and felt angry that Franck moved his crate into The Bean’s room when I specifically instructed him to leave him next to my bed and move the cat out of our bedroom.

It was sad and immediately leapt into action. I warmed the bunny up. And then, I fed him again. He ate and I witnessed this tiny, finger-length miracle of life in my hands perking up again. I placed him gently in an improved, warm nest, and went to work on my Home Start charity gala committee project.

I threw myself into my charity work. I pulled all of my mental and emotional resources into our fundraising project, while occasionally drifting into thoughts of the bunny.

 

Emotional Overwhelm Reaches A Peak & Resolution

While working, I wondered, “Why did God create this situation for me? What am I supposed to learn?”

As I sat downstairs, working away, I knew the bunny was going to pass away. It felt like a knowing and understanding that came with a strange peace.

I went upstairs in preparation to celebrate Valentine’s day with Franck at the local bookstore. I went to the restroom, and, oddly, as I relieved myself, I heard a clear voice speak inside my mind, “And now you know how Ron feels about his son.”

In that moment, I knew that the bunny had passed away. The emotional overwhelm lifted. 

I walked towards the crate and pulled out his nest. There he lay, in his nest: spirit gone.

I wept. While the emotional overwhelm lifted, then the culminating pain of helplessness and desperation created an intense grief.

Even, as a medium, I could see the bunny’s spirit jumping around, giving me signs as I continued on through the day, the grief was overwhelming and physically painful. Grief is the pain of the broken heart. It was the loss. I knew Rocky was set free, but releasing myself from the attachment of his being became a process through which I had to guide myself.

 

Emotional Overwhelm Reveals To Me Powerful Empathy

dead newborn bunnyI understood then, on a micro-level, how Ron and Theresa feel about their sons. A bunny is no child, but the emotions cannot tell the difference between a real and imagined situation, let alone the relative degree of life. It is true when they say that love is love.

Through the emotional overwhelm I felt in this powerfully short chapter in my life, I gained the essential empathy to understand my friend’s personal struggle as a father. From there, I could only love them and their personal struggle. No matter what their spiritual and karmic story is, I cannot bring myself to judge their experience and what brought them to live that path.

I felt gratitude towards “Little Rocky” for being a part of my learning path and undergoing a short life and death. Humbled by the journey, I experienced a newfound appreciation for those who continue on despite the great unknown in life and death situations.

The feeling of powerlessness and helplessness in one particular situation taught me that we can’t allow ourselves to transfer that feeling to the rest of our lives. And, we must focus on what we can do and accept the will of others – even animals.

franck planting memorial treeLike the vet said, I couldn’t beat myself up even though I “did everything right”. We can do everything right and things won’t work out the way we expect. Our paradigms must be in harmony with life – and accept that it comes in and out on its own will. It’s essential to remember that we can only control our own wellness and be present for others and accept that we’ve done our best. The outcome doesn’t determine the level of success for, the outcome is not always the point. There is, like the empathy I gained for my friend Ron as a father, was the most important takeaway.

The famous “sleeping psychic”, Edgar Cayce, once said that wisdom is knowledge gained through application. In this situation, four short and emotionally intense days taught me what I needed to know.

 

Tragedy Deepens Our Empathy

In tragic circumstances, laying blame is an immediate reaction. News outlets often search for subject matter experts to explain why things happen. Who is to blame? Why didn’t someone keep the guns away? Why didn’t someone avoid the tragedy all-together?

Through this situation, perhaps the first response is to lessen the pain. To find ways to console, support, and empathize. Once the dust settles and we’re calm enough to gain perspective through the support and healing process. And, to detach from the outcome and focus on supporting and caring. Our support and care doesn’t require the outcome we expect. Love always leads us to new vistas from which we can see from a higher understanding.

Leslie Juvin-Acker

Leslie Juvin-Acker is Chief Happiness Officer of Leslie Inc. Since 2008, she has been coaching executives and business leaders all over the world. She is an expert in emotional intelligence and helps professionals tap into their own imagination to find solutions for personal and professional happiness.

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