At this farm, at any farm, the promise of life is death. We, and animals, are born and we will die. Sounds harsh, but it is the way of things. My granddaughter has already faced the death of many of the cats she has carried about and loved. The concept of death is not a strange one to her. It is the nature of living in the country where there are other animal predators (dogs, coyotes, snakes) and where a state highway runs in front of your acreage. She has known the sorrow I have felt when my two favorite Dobermans were put down. Certainly, she watched me cry hot tears when I learned my cousin had suddenly and inexplicably died. She will be the first to reassure me that they are dwelling in the halls of heaven. She is wise beyond her years.
In some ways, I think it is good that she knows life can be fleeting and life can be short. How many of us first learned of death with when a grandparent passed away? I think I did. I have seen a lot of death (and mourned a lot) since then. But the death was unusual and I was not comfortable with death. No one wants death but we all must learn to accept it.
The farm has no vacation from death. It is always around. I do not mean to equate the life of a person to a life of an animal. But I have mourned both.
Today I learned that a dog that has served valiantly as a hospice therapy dog, bringing comfort to so many in their last days, will have his young life ended due to a vigorous and aggressive cancer.
Here is what Jon Katz said about his dog. “This loss is our life with dogs and animals and I know it and I accept it. I will feel this grief and acknowledge it, but it is only part of the story, which is mostly great joy, happiness and fulfillment”.
I am saddened and forever confused by the choices God makes in who he takes to his kingdom and when he choses to take them. I have learned that the good do indeed die young. But as I have tried to have Jordyn learn and accept, death is part of us. One day we will all move on. Today I chose joy and life, as I cannot dwell in the shadow of death.