I usually just go with what comes to me, as far as writing or titles, and so I’ll just stick with “heartbreak”. I know her heart is broken. I know mine has been broken so very many times in the past, and know that pain will come, and go, again.
I wonder where the balance is, between loss, great loss, betrayal, death… and learning how to cope in these and other devastations. I certainly know that the tipping point moves as you grow, experience, lick your wounds and try and make sense out of the ups and downs of this beautiful thing we get to experience for a short time on this planet: life.
Death is also a beautiful, patient teacher.
Ok, whatever, too many words. I know her heart is broken, but she will heal, as will all of us who let pain dig deep, and root out things that should not remain.
This morning at 4am, the man and little girl headed to Dallas. When I got up I spent several hours trying to find one of our sheep who was SO fat, soon to give birth, but was not having an easy pregnancy. For weeks she was miserable, having great trouble walking, and she would sometimes fall in depressions in the earth and then could not get up, so I was constantly looking for her to see if she was bloated up on her side, not being able to pull herself up. I thought she was about a week away. We kept a handful of these sheep home to watch as close as we can, instead of sending them to the summer grazing place.
I finally found her, and it looked as both her lambs were born dead, and she was very far away from the other sheep, and house/barn. Eleanor and Faline were with her, and I had lots more to do, so I left her there to grieve.
When I was able to come back to her, I was surprised that she had drug one of the lambs a far way, into the shade, and was continually licking it and making her mama noise, calling it out of stillness.
She needed water and to get home with the other sheep, so I carried the one lamb and she followed it, calling all the while, while I left the other one to nature, who had already begun to carry it back to herself by way of scavenging birds. She was grateful to rejoin the other sheep, and to drink a big bucket of cool water, calling all the while to her baby to wake up.
I think it is better to be able to grieve, call, paw, lick, mourn, feel, cry, wail, and also nibble grass in the sunshine, all the while hoping that the great loss is only a bad dream, and to awake to the hope that the loss was really a nightmare.
She has spent the afternoon, with the handful of sheep so patiently and kindly staying with her right by the house, instead of wandering off to far places as they normally do everyday, calling to her baby, and actually picking it up in her teeth and carrying it with her, which I have never seen before. Then she lays by it, comforting herself. licking almost all the hair off of it.
It is sad to say that her baby she had 6 months ago, “D9” who was our 9th lamb, born in December, also was lost. He was our largest lamb, and had horns (which is an unusual, unwelcomed trait from a couple of the lambs from Utah) and he got his horns tangled in the electric fence, and died this spring.
I wonder myself, in case you are, what her name is, as she is one of the dorpers we bought last fall from Utah, #1201. She is most dear, and lets us pet her and has no fear of us. I know the kindest and best thing for her is not to let her get rebred. These special ones are always the one I will never sell, nor give to anyone, as I feel it is an honor, and a comfort to us, that these dear ones are those we put in our freezer when the time comes, to revere and enjoy and to be nourished by.
Other heartbreaks surface during these times of transition, as I renew in my mind the kindnesses and saving graces bestowed upon me when I lost my dear cows Annabelle and Gert. I constantly fret and worry over Eleanor, as I so try to dry her up (without killing her.) From much dear and expert advice, we have gone from several sessions of 48 hours, to 60 hours between milkings, the last one worrying me that her bag was so big and she was rubbing a sore on her udder with her leg. I applied much Annabalm (coconut oil, lanolin, peppermint essential oil, and tea tree oil) on her whole bag which has helped a lot.
I was going to milk her this evening, which would be 3.5 days since her last milking, but given the good advice that cold turkey is best at this point, since she is not leaking milk, I will see how she fares tomorrow. Five days seems to do the trick. Her bag does not have as much pressure on it as before, and her sore from her leg is not as bad, and not milking her is really the only thing that will signal to her body to stop producing milk.