Grief for a Chicken

My little red hen died the other day. I haven’t felt like talking about it until now.  Still don’t want to talk about it. The loss is overwhelming.

She is free range and though she knows it is dangerous to roam the whole yard, she insists on jumping the pallet fence.

The grandkids have been told to make sure she is on her side of the yard before letting the dogs out.  But we have a new red hen and they might have thought they were both in the chicken yard, or forgotten there were two now. Or maybe something entirely different happened.  Won’t ever know for sure.

But when I got home from working in the community plot, little red was dead in the main yard and already becoming stiff.

I knew that there was a great chance of this being the way she would go but I wasn’t prepared for it the day it happened.  In fact I was bringing her grass that I had pulled from the plot so she and the other hen could have some greens.

I got the shovel, picked a spot and began to dig. I chose a spot next to a volunteer wild hunt county tomato plant on the other side yard.  I told her she could nourish this plant that has thrived with little care on my part.

I cried the whole time. Great gasping sobs.  In such a short time I went from anticipating her delight in what I brought her to forcing my body to performing a task I did not want to complete.  This is the last thing I would do for her.

The hen wasn’t the only one I cried for.  I grieved for all whom I have lost.  There are so many I miss.  And until it is my turn, there will be many more.

My daughter said she’d get me a flock when she and the dogs move out.  I told her no, it hurts too much.

I try to guard my heart from caring too much, but it is broken and will allow love to spill out. And now with the goal of loving everyone, it makes room.

I’m not sure my heart can take many more good-byes. or hellos.

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