Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Pieces Of My Heart

I slept in the kitchen with Abby because she was always so sick I was afraid to be in the other room and not know if she was in trouble.  It was one of the nicest parts, waking up with her right there every morning.  Or at least I remember that I loved that.

Because I remembered that I loved that part, I didn't hesitate to pull out my bedroll and sleep in the kitchen with Early his first couple of nights.  He'd had a stressful start to life.  Having his "mom" nearby all night would be a comfort.

Early never slept in his crate.  He'd go in there to hang out sometimes, but he always slept out in front of it with my bedroll and pillow flanking him.  When he got hungry, he'd wake me up.  We'd fix a baba, he'd go pee on a towel and then we'd lay back down in our beds and go right back to sleep. 

When he was little I'd wake up to find his tiny nose tucked in the corner of my blanket, next to my pillow.  As he got bigger, I'd wake to his sweet face up on my pillow.  And it seemed silly to sleep on the floor in the kitchen with a lamb, but it made me so very, very happy to wake up like that.  And even if the world hadn't gone crazy and scary and so incredibly sad, I'd have slept there. 

I tried several times to take pictures of his face tucked in with mine, but it was always too dark.  And one click of the camera would alert him to me being awake and he'd jump up, ready for a baba and then we'd hit the ground running. 

Two nights ago the weather finally broke enough that I decided we could both move out to the porch.  I rearranged the furniture, set up our beds.  It took him awhile to settle in and go to sleep.  So long that I almost gave up and moved us back inside, but with my hand resting on his back, he finally fell asleep.  We had a good night and I woke to find his head snuggled on my bedroll.  And I took a picture.



Our morning started like normal.  Baba, coffee, cereal on the sidewalk while he happily grazed in the yard.  By mid morning something was wrong and we headed to the vet.  By mid afternoon he was gone.  Autopsy showed a fast acting clostridial infection even though he'd been vaccinated against that. 

Was the vaccine bad?  Did he not get enough colostrum when he was born?  I try to be so incredibly careful feeding lambs because of this risk.  Is it our grass?  Did I stress him too much by making him sleep out on the porch?  I can't stop it.

It took months to get over losing Abby.  Many months.  Two years later, I still can't look back at her pictures and videos.  It's all I can do to post this last picture of Early today.  I am so angry.  And so hurt.  

"...the pieces of my heart that have been ripped away from me..."  Iris Dement


37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Sara💔 Early’s life was filled with your love. Yes it was too terribly short but each and every day he had with you was filled with fun and love and security.
Be strong. Be well. Cherish those happy memories. And be sad. Be mad that he didn’t get 8/11/15 years. All the stages of grief have to weathered and moved through.
Much love and many thanks for sharing Early’s days with us all. Brynna

Tagati said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. He was such a delight and I loved to see him frolicking.

He was deeply loved and will be missed.

Hugs to you and your family (two and four legged).

Mahalo.

Leslie said...

Oh, you have had too many hard losses in the past year or two. These last two, Hank and Early, are just awful. I'll never meet you but you're my favorite kind of person and I know we'd have been great friends if we'd met years ago. So from one from friend to another, I'm so very sorry you lost him but you know - you know - he had the best life possible with you. Weeks of love and playing and babas. You did the very best you could and it was wonderful for all of us. Take care.

amyfibre said...

I know I already commented on the Instagram post, but I need to say again here how very sorry I am, Sara. I can feel your righteous anger and heartbreak. Totally warranted and understood. With great love comes great heartbreak -- and it feels like you've had more than your fair share in the last couple of years. Please take good care of yourself, gently. We will hold on to all the good memories for you until you can bear them again. RIP dear Early, you were a very good boy.

Michelle said...

He was a balm in this time, and now he is a mountain of grief piled on a planet grieving. It is too much to comprehend.

Anonymous said...

Leslie and Amy have said all the things that I would have written, and they did it so eloquently. As soon as I started reading your post, I knew this was not going to end well, and I teared up. You have such a gift for telling your story and the story of your farm, that all of your readers feel like they know you and the animals so well. Of course this means that we love your loves, like your horses, and dear, dear Hank, and now little Early. You have inspired and earned a community of virtual friends who are sending you thoughts of shared sadness and comfort. Juliana Ellington in South Dakota

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you got that pic. Sorry for your pain.
barb

Sue S. said...

I am sorry for your heartbroken and sad heart. You open your heart up to so much love with your animals and take such good care of them. Thank you for sharing them with us. Early was a real spark of joy.

Anonymous said...

everything in me wishes I could offer you some words of comfort. So many already have..... Please know how much I am so saddened by your loss and if there was some small (or HUGE) way I could bring comfort beyond many many prayers - I certainly would. Thank you for being so gracious to share your story with us and your precious farm family.

Many Blessings, Karyn

Lady Locust said...

I cannot say anything more or better than the others have said - feel so inferior in my vocabulary at such times.
Blessings and Hugs~

I need orange said...

I agree with everything everyone else has said.

Imagining sitting with you on the porch, as the tears run down our cheeks. Imagining fetching you another beverage, patting a dog, looking out at the martins flying and the sheep grazing and the horses napping, and just sitting. Just breathing. Just being.

Sending you hugs. I hope, as Juliana suggested, that the shared thoughts and feelings from your virtual community may be a source of some comfort.

(I listened to a TED talk from Lucy Hone [who lost her 12 year old daughter suddenly]. The subject is resilience, but a lot of the topic is grief.

I don't know if any of her thoughts might be useful. But maybe?)

Unknown said...

Tears in my eyes!!

Marcy said...

There are no words to make this feel better. I wish I could bear some of the grief for you.

Sybil J. said...

I am so, so sorry to hear about Early. Thank you so much for sharing Early with us. You are in my thoughts and prayers. You are a wonderful mom and friend to all the animals in your care.

Anonymous said...

I have read this and the comments several times. This Equinox Community of friends grieves with you. Many of us have never met you or each other, but we are drawn to each other for a reason. We sense in you a kindred spirit. A spirit that can connect to nature and its creatures in a way others cannot understand. We see in you someone who is both blessed and, yes, cursed with "feeling too deeply." We know. We do too. With this ability, we will have experiences that are magical. . And also indescribable sadness. I too wish I lived near you. To just sit and be. Know that we are with you in spirit. That lil lamb lived more lifetimes and offered more joy than most people. That truly is a gift. Thank you, Sara. Thank yoy, Early.

The Odyssey Farm said...

Just soul crushing, Sara, my heart aches for you. Words aren't enough, but I am so very sorry.

MarmePurl said...

I have read these accounts from you too many times. Abby, Graham, Elizabeth, Marcel, so many. Handy.. Hank. You were good to all of them. They were good to all of you.

The Dancing Donkey said...

I am so very sorry.

farm buddy said...

So sorry to hear this, Sara. You know last year, I lost two lambs suddenly, just like you are describing. One was the very biggest lamb, and one was the smallest. This happened in July, and they were born in May. They had been perfectly fine, and then I walked in the barn later that day, and there was a dead lamb (the first time it was the very biggest lamb). A couple of days later, same thing, but it was the littlest lamb, which had been a single and was just smaller because she was born later than the others. I also had vaccinated for clostridium, which I usually never do, but the vaccine was also for tetanus, which is why I used it. I talked to a vet, and she said that there are so many strains of this disease and it is possible that the vaccine did not protect against it. Also, she said it usually strikes the healthiest lambs. Very frustrating, and in your case, very, very heartbreaking. I am tremendously sorry for your loss. Farming is a very tough sport.

EAS said...

Sara,
I cannot even fathom your grief as I am sobbing and I only met Early via the Internet. I am so, so sorry for what you are experiencing firsthand. Please be comforted in the knowledge that Early had the best mom ever and was a really happy and loved lamb! Although his time was short, it was spectacular! Be kind to yourself, these things are out of our control.

Anonymous said...

I am so, so very sorry. Early was the cutest little lamb and brought me such joy watching him learn about life during this difficult time. I am shedding tears for you and know that we all will be here for you and your farm family. Hugs to you.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Early brought as much happiness as sadness it seems. I loved to see him running around in the barn in the videos!! You are the bestest sheep Mama I know, take comfort in the fact that you did everything you could. Hugs to you.

Deb said...

Sara,

So sorry to hear about dear, sweet Early. He had the best life ever with you.

I am glad you finally got the picture of him sleeping next to you.

We always think we could have done something differently and blame ourselves.

Please be kind to yourself. Early was much loved by you and countless others.

Thanks for sharing the life of such a special little lamb with all of us.

Thinking of you,

Deb in Iowa

Rhumpelthreadz said...

I have no words just tears. Biggest of hugs Sara.

momto1 said...

Oh, I am so sad for you. I know your heart is breaking, You loved him so well, and through you, we all loved him, too. I pray for comfort for you.

Goatldi said...

This is sad news. What a joy that you had the blessing of knowing him. Even lambs days are counted what a gift he got to spend them with you.

Terry and Linda said...

OH! MY! GOSH! NO!!!! I really don't know what to say...I do know you are and did everything the way it was supposed to be. Oh, Sara. My heart breaks for you.

Hugs and more hugs.
Linda

Janie said...

Oh! I’m so sorry, sad and shocked. Please remember you saved him and let him experience love, fun and joy during his short life. Early, through you, brought smiles and laughter to so many. My heart goes out to you. I understand your sadness and anger. Love makes us vulnerable like that, but life would be unbearable without it.
Janie H

Glenda said...

Strength doesn't come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn't. Unknown There are throngs of us weeping with you and holding you close in our hearts. I weep with you.

Anonymous said...

I am with all your Bestest virtual friends and still crying. I just couldn't go to your site yesterday.... Early with you gave us so much J O Y!!! Yes you got prayers on my walk this AM and last night as well as swears for the situation. Love and hugs from here ID

Delrene from Carlsbad, Ca said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It’s deep and painful. And my words can’t heal your pain. Anger is ok. You did everything for this sweet baby and you have lost a lot. Be kind to yourself. He was a beautiful baby.

sophy0075 said...

I am so very sorry for you. I wish it would help for me to be hurt and angry with you. I wish, like we mortals do, that there was something I could do to help. But I know nothing will help to ease the sadness and the anger and the hurt and the pain. Thank goodness you have that sweet photo of Early sleeping, though I am sure it evokes feelings of sadness, and hurt, and anguish and pain, and always will.

I am so very sorry for you. Your heart has been ripped out and stomped on. I am so very, very sorry.

Lisa said...

Grieving for and with you.

Shirley said...

My world stopped for a moment when I first read the news of Early's passing. It's so incredibly sad, he captured the hearts of all of us who read you posts on various social media.
Thank you for sharing him with us.

I'm gonna tell Mom! said...

I have no words. Only prayers in my heart, in my grief.
Kim

Anonymous said...

I have thought so much of you these last few days - Maybe because of my own losses that I've had in the past 6 weeks, I don't know. But what I do know is that you are a wonderful sheep Mom. Even though we've never met, after all these years of blogging, of following on facebook, and here, and also being from Kentucky, I consider you a "blogging friend" which is why I wish I could say something to make you feel better; but the words that have preceded mine say it so much better than I can. So, I'll just cry along with you and keep you in my prayers that you find peace and comfort in knowing you are being thought of and many like me are sharing the loss of Early with you. Big virtual hugs.

Kim - Life at Golden Pines

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