Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Day My Best Friend Died

I'll never forget the day I found him lying there, lifeless.
No blood, no mess, no clue as to what had been the cause of his death.
I assumed he had been laying there for a while, because there was a trail of ants leading right to his corpse.

He was usually very playful and vivacious. That was part of the reason I enjoyed being around him so much. He always knew how to lift my spirits. So, when I saw him looking so tired and feeble, I panicked. He wasn't being his usual self and I knew something was wrong. He was weak and frail. The last time I saw him, I made him lunch and I left him alone to rest. That would be the very last time anyone ever saw him alive.

We'd been good friends for at  least 18 months and I'd see him almost every single day. Sometimes, he'd disappear on me for several days at a time, but I'd always find him again. I'd never ask him where or why. I just thoroughly enjoyed his company and his safe return was all that mattered to me.

I moved about 11 times during the coarse of my childhood. Up and down southern California, across the Mexican border and back, here, there, everywhere, blah... Just thinking about it makes me nauseous. I'd never been anywhere long enough to make a friend like him.  I liked him because he was naturally sweet.  It just came naturally to him to be gentle and caring. He did have a wild, crazy, playful side, though. Oh, man! we had some of the greatest tickle parties. He was a great tickler, especially when he'd go down into the belly area. Oh! I'd never laughed so hard in my life. But when it came down to being serious, he was always there to listen. No matter what I had to say, he'd listen without being judgmental.

Still, to this day, I ask myself why...? of all the things to take from me, why him? Why did a good, kind, gentle being with so much energy and zest for life, have to go? I was but a mere child, who didn't truly grasp the concept of death at that point and I had to find him, draped across his little bed, stiff. Spiritless. Breathless.

I cried myself to sleep that night. I kept thinking about how I'd just seen him alive, and, he was gone. My mom tried to calm me down, but the pain was just too deep.

"We'll get you another one, baby", she kept saying.

"Another what?" I kept thinking. "Another best friend?" How would she replace that? How could she possibly replace the profound connection, the friendship, the memories, by getting me another one?

I wanted to kick and scream, and I did for a while.

I was heartbroken for several days.

You see, to me he wasn't just a hamster. He was a wiggly friend. A furry companion. The reason my room stAnk like rodent piss, but I didn't care. He made me smile. He never had a name. He had several. Gilbert. Juan. Clara. Sunshine. Benito. I was always changing my mind, because that's what kids do...

I'm not even sure if he was really a 'him', I just decided to call him that for the sake of this post. I had to choose a pronoun and "he" was the lucky chosen one.  I'm not too familiar with rodent genitalia, so I hope you won't mind too much. I know I don't...


  1. Aw, it's always sad when a pet dies, huh?
    Good post.

  2. aww-- poor thing! my heart hurts for future losses like these for my own children. you did a really great job with this one and lol, no i don't mind the gender ambiguity in rodents! :)


Leave a comment