Rest in Peace our dear dear Maggie.
We lost our Maggie just before Christmas. It was so sudden, with no forewarning, and no chance to say goodbye. I feel rudderless, adrift in cotton wool. Numb in the mind.
To all intensive purposes she was my child. I hatched her, watched her grow up, take her first flight and eventually waddle off to join the other kids and ultimately find a mate. But our bond stood the test of time.
She and I were imprinted, bonded if you prefer. A special connection, almost telepathic. She could tell when I was sad or upset and comfort me. I could look in to her eyes and know when she was up to mischief or simply wanting ‘us’ time.
We had our own language, part human part duck. She would teach me her sounds and she learned my imitations. We never had any trouble communicating. And she always responded when called.
Except now, I can call but there will be no answer.
George, her mate of fours years is grieving too. He spent the first four days calling for her, day and night. I would wake in the middle of the night to hear George’s mournful calls as he wandered the house looking for her. Last night he finally gave up hope that she wasn’t coming back and went silent. The silence was as heart wrenching as his calls.
He has since taken to following me everywhere, never wanting me out of his sight. He is now sat on my shoulder, snuggled into my neck. (He has never been a snuggler.) I am not sure who is comforting whom.
Maggie taught me so many many things. Two very important. The first was to learn that our preconceived notions are just that, preconceived. And to learn to open my mind and heart to the wonders that truly are in this world.
Before Maggie it never would have occurred to me that a duck was, well, more than a duck. She taught me about their intelligence, playfulness, curiosity, loving nature and amazing empathy. Her ability to remember people many years later and even recognising them over the phone always impressed family and friends who had met her again.
Although I find great sorrow and lots of tears in my memories, I also find solace. Maggie was the one who taught me how to live in the now. To recognise each moment we had together and savour it, cherish it and tuck it away should I wish to revisit again someday.
These amazingly vivid memories are bombarding me now. Maggie fluttering her eyelashes, hopping up the stairs or on to the sofa. Memories from further back, when she first tried exploring and would then go to our neighbours asking to be brought back home. Sleeping with her best and first friend, our cat, Gigi. Or undertaking a mission impossible to get to the cat crunchies we had tried to hide away from her yet again.
Ducks are ultimately fragile beings. They can live as long as cats and dogs, but the world is stacked against them to do so. She didn’t let me take for granted each time we played, talked, cuddled or said goodbye before we went about our daily routines.
My life now enters a new chapter. The light will dawn differently these next few days, months, even years. She was intrinsically part of my life for six years, woven into the very fabric of each day. It was too short a time, but so so rich in texture.
There will forever be a space in my heart that will miss her and she can never be replaced. She was unique, truly special, a force to be reckoned with and ultimately loved beyond measure.
Rest in Peace my Maggie.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to meet Maggie, or would like to join me in a trip down memory lane, she invites you to read:
And if you did not realise how much ducks are, well, more than ducks. I invite you to read:
and so many more – Duck Tails we’ve written about her and her extended family.
or Maggie in pictures along with our other pets