He may be big and tough, but The Undertaker, one of the World Wrestling Federation’s most popular stars, has a tender heart. And right now it’s hurting really bad. And why? Because his bunny, Oscar, has died.
“He was my best friend,” says The Undertaker, who was willing to talk to me on the phone. (Like all famous wrestlers, The Undertaker never gives out personal contact information because he values his privacy. It was only through great effort that I was able to get a phone number where I could leave him a message. He spoke to me from somewhere in Texas.)
“He was cute. He was wonderful. He was my faithful companion,” The Undertaker goes on. “He would eat out of my hand. I gave him nice treats, like raisins and dried apricot and pineapple. And he had a nice, warm box to sleep in.”
I made the mistake of referring to Oscar as a rabbit. The Undertaker set me straight on that right away. “He was a bunny, not a rabbit. A rabbit is an animal that people eat. But a bunny is, well…a companion…a buddy. He enjoyed sitting on my lap. He had the softest fur you can imagine. I liked to stroke his ears. He just naturally cheered me up.” Did he do tricks? I ask. “Naw, Oscar didn’t do any tricks. But he was curious. He would sniff around everywhere. Sometimes he’d disappear some place and I had to look for him.” The Undertaker explains that Oscar was strictly kept indoors because there were too many hazards outside. And there were no other pets in the household.
I asked how Oscar passed away. “He apparently just died in his sleep. He wasn’t sick or anything, as far as I could tell. I just woke up one morning and found him dead. He was six years old, so he was getting on. I guess it was just an old-age death from natural causes….I cried when I found him. I buried him in the yard. It was dignified.” I can hear the emotion in The Undertaker’s voice when he talks about it.
Will there be another bunny to replace Oscar? “Maybe, maybe not,” says The Undertaker. “Oscar just sort of happened. That’s the way it is in life. If another bunny should happen into my life, swell. If not, okay. Life goes on.”
The Undertaker admits that he has kept his grief hidden from his friends and fans for months because he didn’t think they’d understand his deep feelings about Oscar. But now he wants to let the pain out. Lots of people have lost their beloved pets, he explains. It’s a common human experience.
Did Oscar’s death have any particular meaning for him? “Oscar’s death sort of put things in perspective,” says The Undertaker. “No matter how much we reach for glory, it’s the simple things that really matter. And in the end we all have to face up to our mortality. We have to learn to be humble.”
I’m sure The Undertaker’s many fans will be touched by his poignant words, and their hearts go out in sympathy over his loss.
Now you know what a soft heart beats within one of wrestling’s most awesome bodies. And that’s just one more reason why he’s our hero. He’s The Undertaker.
Copyright@ 2009 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org