I’ve been trying. I really have. Grief is a funny thing. One minute it’s not there and the next minute you find yourself with tears streaming down your face for no particular reason. Like falling leaves, the tears just simply come when you are walking out the mailbox, cooking dinner, spending time with loved ones. They just come. I guess you could say I have been heartbroken. As I looks back, I was lucky. It took me many years until I had to experience this deep kind of grief. I thought that I knew grief from so many years of helping others through it in my nursing career, saying goodbye to loved ones, grandparents, aunts, uncles and favorite pets. For the first time, I can honestly say that I have a hole in my heart.
I spent half of 2015 and most of 2016 writing, How to Speak Chicken. It was a labor of love and something that I felt needed to reach the backyard chicken community. During my research, one of the many scientists that impressed me was psychology professor, Dr. Evans. A leading poultry researcher, he dedicated his life to decoding chickens. Like me, he too wanted to know exactly it was that made them tick and he made some pretty amazing discoveries. Sadly, Dr. Evans passed away in 2011 quite prematurely, from what I understand was a motor neuron disease. A man who had dedicated his life to communication lost his ability to speak due to the progression of his disease.
This past weekend, I had a wonderful time traveling to the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I had the pleasure of finally meeting a fabulous friend of Tilly’s Nest. She is a very active follower of Tilly’s Nest and I have had the pleasure of engaging with her on social media for a few years now. It was so much fun to share chicken stories, a hug and talk about one another’s adventures together in person. Our in-person connection was instant. It was awesome! However, one thing has been on my mind during traveling these past few days. I’ve had lots of time to think, as my plane rides were delayed both getting there and back. The ride home was delayed for almost 4 hours due to heavy fog in Boston. I did a lot of people watching and a lot of thinking about my family, my flock and life in general. One of the biggest things for me, was really getting out of my little niche on Cape Cod and really seeing a big part of the world and how it is continually changing. I admit, I have a love hate kinda relationship with this thing called social media, but I wonder it it is making our society anti-social.
I think during the holidays, I seem to find myself thinking about the blessings that I am fortunate to have. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes people happy. What makes me happy. I mean truly at the core. I’m not talking about the happiness that is fleeting, like when you buy a new outfit. I’m talking about the kind of happiness that lives in your heart and soul. What I am discovering is that despite being surrounded by “friends” on social media and interacting with them on a daily basis. Many people rarely touch on their loneliness and lack of belonging. I rarely talk about a dark time in my life. It was oh so long ago, but it was a time filled with self-discovery, mistakes, miracles, and the sense of belonging while on the brink of death.
A few days ago, a chicken with pinless peepers popped up in my newsfeed. Pinless peepers are these chicken-like glasses that block them from seeing directly what is in front of them. Chickens with these pinless peepers can still see to eat and drink. For the most part, they have had blinders put on them because of bad behavior. Some chicken keepers put these on those troublemaker hens. Usually it is as last ditch effort to prevent them from bullying or pecking at other flock members. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. After watching these chickens with pinless peepers, you realize that sometimes life becomes a whole lot more interesting when you live with blinders on.
It has been a while now since Sunshine passed away. Slowly but surely I see Oyster Cracker getting along better as each day passes. For some time there, I wondered if she was going to be okay after the loss of her sister. But sure enough it seems to have gotten easier.