It was all a terrible accident.
When I got home after work yesterday, I let her out as usual while I prepared her veggie dish. Then I sat down to have my own dinner.
I heard some chewing sounds and found her perched on top of my storage door nibbling on the wall paper. Naturally I was upset and tried to recall her, but she wasn't listening. The door frame is rather tall and is situated right next to my also rather tall window. The thing with my window is, it can be opened in 2 ways. You can open it up by pulling it out like a door, or you can make it so only the top portion of the window juts out. I had wanted to pull it out like a door so I could shoo her away, but the handle jerked and somehow the top portion also jutted out as the window was already half-way pulled out. Juju got wedged in between the window and the wall when the top portion of the window fell on her.
It all happened so fast, but I knew I'd just done something terrible.
I watched her fly back to her cage, and followed her. She was bleeding from the mouth. I immediately phoned my vet to see if their office was still opened and rushed her to the clinic.
The vet said she suffered a fractured leg and major head traumas and was in a lot of pain. He bandaged her leg and gave me some meds for the pain, but said nothing more. I think he knew she wasn't going to make it but didn't have the heart to tell me (especially since I'm in Korea and my Korean speaking skills are still limited). The vet was a very gentle old man who spoke in a very gentle voice all throughout the process. I am very thankful for that.
On the subway ride back to my apartment, Juju started flapping around in her pet carrier and then suddenly went stiff. I knew she'd died, and I had to do everything I could to not cry on the subway. As soon as I got through my apartment door though, I just broke down and could not stop for the rest of the night because her toys, perches, and tree stands were everywhere.
I've never owned a pet that was solely just mine before, came to depend on me on a daily basis, and just made me feel more comfortable living alone in my apartment in a foreign country. I told a few understanding friends about her passing away and they all offered to come visit me for the night, but I wanted to be alone and just try and absorb all the shock. I think a huge part of me is still in denial that she's really gone, and another part feels guilty because it was my recklessness that brought her to her end.
I still have 1 remaining budgie, which I'd just purchased last week to help keep Juju company while I'm away at work these days. When I got home last night, I couldn't really bear to look at him because it was too painful to remember why I'd bought him in the first place, what his role was supposed to be in this situation, and how he might never be what she was. And I became afraid that I might not be able to love him the way I'd loved her. And I felt really discouraged about my skills as a budgie owner.
I know it's very unfair to put that all on his little birdie shoulders, and I'm sure I'll eventually be able to come to peace with Juju's loss and open myself to the new budgie, but for now, I'm finding everything to be harder than I'd ever imagined on what it might feel like to lose a pet.
I also didn't feel as confident telling most of my friends about her loss, because I think most non-pet owners would simply say, "It's just a bird. Buy a new one." But I found myself waking up this morning and really needing to talk to someone about it and not being judged "silly" for being heart broken over my little feathered friend, so I made this post.
I know I'll find comfort here, because we all love our budgies and would understand one another's pain when a budgie friend has passed on.
This is one of my favorite photos of her. A bit out of focus, but I like how attentive she is being.