I didn’t expect to find Lucy dead on the floor of the coop as I went in that bright sunny afternoon the Friday before Easter. I had just seen her in the morning and she and I had our usually interaction. As I was busying myself tidying up the coop, Lucy was my constant companion, chatting away with her deep voice sharing all chicken things with me. She’d come in and out, nuzzle near for a quick pat on the back. To and fro, she has been my daily escort for years. As a result, we had developed a little ritual that I looked forward to every morning.
As I went to collect the afternoon eggs, I unlocked the coop door and tried to push it open. There was resistance. Surely, there was something behind the door. It was Lucy on the ground. My stomach sank. I dropped the egg basket and hurried to get to her. I scooped up her sweet lifeless body. It was surreal. Almost hard to believe because I had just seen her that morning and now she was gone. I held her close and wailed. Unexpectedly, it was deep sorrow that suddenly opened again, my emotions still raw after dealing with another surprising death this past fall. I could not contain myself. Heavy sobs had my husband come running.
I buried her in the backyard with my other girls. She was to turn 5 years old in June. She was on the low side of having an average chicken lifetime. Why did she have to leave us so soon?
I placed a small bouquet of delicate purple vinca flowers on her body. I stole 2 feathers from under her wing just for me to have; sweet little reddish golden brown feathers laced with sweet white fluff at the base.
Are we supposed to forget grief, how do we live with it? The feelings of grief can be as intense as joy. Slowly, I’m starting to learn that we should not forget these times of grief, but tuck them into a place in our minds and in our hearts. They are part of what it means to be a human. I know that chickens and other animals grieve. Grief is not something unique to being a person.
Loving deeply means grieving deeply. How wonderful that I am alive to experience it all. I can feel myself getting stronger and able to handle more things like this. Surprisingly, I’m not as afraid as I had been. I’m not afraid to walk in those shadows of life, for I know that many people have been there before me and to truly live, I know that I will venture into them again.
Because life surrounds us with ying and yang moments. Maybe, that is what life is about. We have to experience it all. The ups and the downs, the good and the bad, all those highs and lows. Most certainly, we cannot be afraid to be vulnerable. So many folks think that life is just about them these days. Me, me, me……we can’t forget that we humans are meant to be together—a flock of humanity. Certainly we are all in this together. I don’t think is meant to experience the true journey of life alone.
Thank you for letting me open up today. Thanks for being with me and being a part of my flock. Thanks for letting me be me. XO Melissa