The Weekly Bleat: Saying Goodbye
Farmgirl with Hamish and Rosebud
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Most of the windows of our 200-year-old house afford a scenic view of the pastures and our beloved sheep. Often, during the day, I will pause for a moment to look out on our little flock, either grazing or lying serenely in a field. It’s a simple pleasure that creates gratitude and lifts my spirit. Sheep typically flock together, especially since they’re prey animals. So, each time I cast an eye over the pastures, I always count to make sure I see all ten of them: Clover, Hamish, Rosebud, Heather, Button, Fern, Olive, Daisy, Ivy, and Violet.
Sadly, from now on, I will only count nine of our wonderful woollies. After a decade of loving care and interaction with these beautiful and amazing creatures, we will have to say goodbye to one of them tomorrow. Violet’s front legs have become arthritic, and late last week, she injured one of them and can no longer bear weight on it. The veterinarian visited and said there was nothing to be done to repair the leg. So, we’ve kept Violet comfortable in the hospital pen, administering pain medication for the last few days until we can both be home to humanely say goodbye and have assistance burying her. We are heartbroken. To many, Violet is just a sheep; however, to us, she’s much more. She’s a sweet, sentient creature who has enriched our lives over the past ten years…and we love her.
So, amidst the serenity and joy of our little farm—there is grief. But, that’s the essence of farming as well as being a steward of the land and the creatures who live on it. I guess it’s this juxtaposition of strong emotions and perspective on the cycle of life that often creates conflict in one’s heart and mind; however, it also forges respect, acceptance, and ultimately grace.
To each animal who has ever walked on Green Hill Farm and enhanced our lives with its curiosity, fortitude, beauty, and gentleness, I am grateful. Not only have they blessed our lives by bringing a tremendous amount of joy…they have taught us how to be better human beings.