It was about noon. I was conducting my regular spot-check on the hamster cages before heading out, just as I would always do whenever I passed by the living room. I realised Hunny was still laying motionless in the exact position it was the last time I checked. Something was wrong.
Earlier in the morning, I had just taken a picture of Hunny sleeping on her back. That was usually the first thing I do when I woke up; to greet my hamsters good morning, see if they had eaten their food, and sometimes laugh at their sleeping position. It was a first to see Hunny sleeping in that position, but I did not think much about it because only a few days ago, I had also taken a picture of a hamster in a pet shop sleeping on its back.
“Hunny knows how to sleep like that too”, I even told my mom and tried to imitate the awkward pose.
When I noticed that she wasn’t reacting to my presence and noise, I blew lightly, hoping at least her limbs would twitch in response to the cold air, but nothing happened. I was scared now. Her body was stiff and cold.
The food bowl was still full. The last time I tried offering Hunny sunflower seeds, she did not take them; it didn’t come across as odd because Hunny had always been a picky eater and consumed very little. Hunny was behaving normal last night and there were no signs of illness. Did she die peacefully?
The worst thing is never being able to explain the reason ‘for her death. “Why?” Was Hunny already ill even before she was received? Did I not give her enough attention and a good life? Was there something in the mineral stone I just placed in the cage? Was the weather too cold last night? Were there signs that I missed?
The sudden loss was shocking. I knew hamsters had short life spans, but not this short; Hunny is only a baby hamster slightly over a month old. “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” — Norman Cousins.
Loss in itself is a painful experience. An unexpected death of someone dear gives one no time to prepare for the loss. It might have been different if Hunny was already old… I was not prepared for this.
‘It’s just a hamster,’ you may say I’m over-reacting, but she played a part in my life. “Hunny” was a name that would bring a smile to my face, but now brings pain and tears. Right now is one of the low periods in my life and Hunny had to leave me. These things like sudden deaths always happen in sappy, romance movie like “One Day” and if you asked my boyfriend, he knows I always cry at every such scene. The thought of that happening to me is unimaginable… but today with Hunny’s death, I had my first taste of it.
I wish I never had to personally go through a sudden loss like this to remind me of the fragility of life, but there are so many other routines and issues we have to face on a daily basis. It’s almost impossible to always be thankful and not take things for granted. Hunny, even without telling me anything, you’ve taught me many things.
Despite spending less than a month with Hunny, and despite the fact that thousands of other animals die every day, it hurts to see the small fur ball that I’ve taken care of since it was only about 4cm big grow into a semi-adult hamster size pass on. I am heartbroken I never got the chance to look at it run around for the last time or say good-bye. My hamster, may you RIP. I know you are in a better place now.