Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lesser Losses

When the children were small, I convinced Greg that we should get some pets so that the children could learn about life cycles early in life.  They would experience the love and  loss of a pet and understand that everything that lives must die.

So Greg captured some pullets from themany of chooks at the farm back in 2006.
These were hardy farm birds whose toughness was only matched by their wiliness in egg-laying.

Then we rescued a couple of extra chicks from a school hatching program who proved to be eggselent layers.  They formed our egg-laying flock who have been Queens of the yard for the past seven years.

Today, the second of those less-hardy younger hens was found dead in her pen.

The children found her and  cried, and to my surprise ... prayed. 
Their grief was so much more real than I could have expected given the losses they have already endured.

and I cried . ...... and swore.

Maybe its irrational, but I cried and swore that instead of being the soft-entry to the knowledge of life and death for our children that I had planned, so many beloved family members died in stark, brutal, heart-breaking ways before any of our pets.

My previously fit, healthy Father-in-law died from cancer in 2007.

My Mother-in-law died in 2009, also of cancer.  ..... and a broken heart.

Exactly one year to the day after his mother left us, Greg died.

Then my very elderly Nan died (not unexpectedly) in 2011.

So while today  I mourn the loss of a much-loved family pet*, it has brought back those memories of a time when the idea that any of our family could possibly die before a short-lived pet was unthinkable.

The irony.  Oh, the irony of it all.

* - I am not saying the loss of a pet is equal to that of a human. I love animals, but I love people more.


  1. Oh Amanda, how I agree with this, as with so many of your posts! My husband died 2.5 years ago. My girls, who turn five next month, have been to 5 funerals in their lives. I am so happy that this summer we get to to a wedding (their first)! This is not the life I wanted for them - but it isn't what any of us wanted, and while they struggle, they are basically ok. It has taught me to wonder about what life has in store for us.

  2. I don't believe we will ever understand death. Life gives so much and death takes so much away. Having 35 years sharing, looking back, in all the growing years of family, my job, and make the future a fun time with savings that you can live a comfortable life, and my wife died. I do wonder being 71 where now life will take me..

  3. I lost 2 of the most important people I love on the same day, too, one year apart. My husband died first, then my Mom. I'm still reeling from both of them, my only consolation is that I believe my husband was waiting on the other side for Mom. Can't wait to join them somedays.

    Your children will probably have a better understanding of life, and death, having experienced losses. Pets are loved, and become members of your family. I'm readying myself for an aging pet to her close eyes one day. Isn't easy to do, but the younger we are to learn of death, the more aware we become of the worlds' ways.
    I'm sorry for your losses, they never seem to stop coming, do they?