Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Memorial to our Sweet Hen's

I awoke to the sound of my son screaming and crying, he struggled to get out the words, "Melody, Melody," the name of one of our chickens.  Two mornings ago we found them, in a scene that keeps replaying in my mind, leaving a lump in my throat--a scene I am trying to forget.  They were attacked in the night by something terrible, the coop door left ajar; my doing.   I keep wishing I had one of those "time turners" from Harry Potter, in which I could turn back time, secure the door; so to change the events that unfolded because of one mistake.  But I cannot.

I have never been affected like this before, it's the worst kind of sorrow, to have made an error that cost me so much, one which can't be reversed.  I don't do well with the finality of such events.  I know you are saying, "chickens die every day, we eat them, so what's the big deal?"   I guess it's because we raised them from their second day of life, we have so many family memories associated with them.  Who knew such a simple animal could provide us with so much joy and endless entertainment:  "Chicken TV," we call it.

Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a farmer.  I guess it was a romantizied idea born out of my favorite children's story Charolotte's Web.  I am delighted by animals, they amuse me.  I am in awe of so many things about them.  From the beauty of different patterns and colors, to the way God even seemly gave them different personalities.

Melody, a beautiful black hen, with a tinted mixture of sparkling colors from blue to red, that would shift in the light of the sun; was definately the at the top of the pecking order.  She was aggressive and always the first to eat and drink.   She would run to our back door each morning.  My husband had inadvertantly "trained" her, by tossing food to her while we were out on our patio one day.  After that first incident, she would litterally come to the back door every day and peck on the glass, begging us for a treat.

Daisy, was our fat with feathers, white Brahma; basically a show chicken: solid white with a black scarf of feathers wrapped around her neck and flairing feathers laced around her feet.  She was quite the sight, and much fancier then what you think of when you think of a chicken.  She was beautiful and not only that, she was sweet.

My little Bug, loved her with a deep girl-child love, the kind that makes an animal as close as your best friend.  This is a love I understand, because she is so much like me at that age.  Daisy was a our chick who almost died but pulled through with prayers, and she was my daughter's constant compainon, whom she held each day as she was sweet and docile.  

And dear Peep.  Little Peep's made his debut riding in a Barbie car around the house as a little chick.  Peep was our blue egg layer and also would allow us to hold her, she looked more like a hawk then a chicken and was beautiful in her own way.  My youngest son, last night, with tears in his eyes said "Mommy, I don't know how I can live with out peep."  And my heart aches.

The loss of our hen's affected me in such a deep way; I am still processing through it and trying to  make sense of it.   But it is hard to make sense of such things.  The more I try the more I hurt.  The more I reach to undo the past the more I ache with regret.  There is nothing I can do to change what has happened, and that is the difficult part for someone who wishes to control things that cannot be controled.  I am faced with the reality that things are out of my control.  Though we all know it, until something like this happens, we don't realize how much we are trying to munipulate the events of life to avoid pain and to fix things that cannot always be fixed.  Life and death are out of my control.  Pain and trauma cannot always be avoided.   I couldn't protect my children from loosing something they loved so very much.

These lessons of life are so hard.  But there is beauty in some of these things and so I grasp for it.
These simple creatures gave us so much joy and we loved them.  I didn't realize my affections for them until this happend, or how I miss the pecking at the door and the actual personalities that were in these individual birds.  I am amazed at the Creator God, that creates beautiful and amazing animals.  He could have just created animals and left it at that.  But He did more then that.  He intricately designed them in such amazing ways, with beautiful colors, with actual traits and personalities that are unique to them.  He created them for our pleasure, indeed, we were blessed by them.  They made us laugh, and now they cause us to cry, because they meant something to us.  They are His gifts to us and I am astonded; that He does this, that He reaches down to us and blesses us with the gift of pets, simply for our enjoyment.   That is personal and I feel in it my pain.  I am touched by His handywork and I can't deny the impact it has on me.

I am reminded that I am human, and I do make mistakes.  I am reminded that some mistakes are deeply painful, with no way to turn back time and undo them.  They carry a weight of darkness, if they define me, because they are final.  Am I a horrible mother because I forgot to close the door, which lead to the death of our beloved pets.  I feel like one, I do.  I am not good at giving grace to myself though I give it to others freely.  Thank God for His grace, I bath in it, I take it in, I let it wash over the darkest mistakes that I make, knowing that He is GOD and I am not.  Is it really ALL up to me?  Ultimately He is in control.  He could have let the preditor get hit by a car, He could have woke me or helped me remember I left the door ajar.  He could have made the neighboors dog bark, but He allowed thing this to happen.  And that is an entire different post isn't it?  That He allows pain and suffering in the world, but He does.  He is in control not I, and I find freedom in that.   I find freedom in trusting in His plan as He allows it to unfold.  Because He is God I will trust Him to work this out, already it has brought the kids and I closer as we hold tightly to each other to get through this.

I thank God for the sweet times we had as a family, laughing at their chicken antics, playing with them, caring for them as He entrusted us to watch over them for their short time on this earth.  We connected with each other enjoying them together, and the whole neighborhood has enjoyed our small urban "petting zoo".  Truth be told, we were better because of them.

And I must share a picture of our sweet survivor Pepper, who has a dear place in our hearts because she is on the lowest end of the pecking order and is always picked on.   I bandaged her wounds up and we've been keeping a close eye on her injuries.  She has sure showed her strength and she's pulling through so far.