Tuesday, July 27, 2010

mustering chutzpah

Ugh! Today is a day that I will never forget, though at least one part I sincerely wish I could. If they can come up with an easy button, why can't they come up with a do over button? The kids headed out to the barn to do morning chores a minute or two before I did this morning because a friend had called and I was on the phone trying to help her with a question she was having. They came back into the house with a chicken, one of the laying hens that were hatched out this spring, it had to be a hen, couldn't have been a rooster! Ugh! Well suffice it to say I was pretty certain, like 99.9998% sure it's neck was broken, it's neck had been stuck in the chicken coop door and the rest of the details are a mystery. So here I was trying to remain calm and not vomit because of the circumstances that were inevitable were swirling around in my brain, this was not going to be a good day. I called Ron at work and told him about the hen and what was coming, ugh! was all I could think. We talked about which way would be the fastest and least painful, after all it was clear that she was in pain and it tore me up to see it. I got off the phone with him and took the hen outside and placed her on a hardwood stump that we got last year when we took care of the huge dead hemlock in the backyard. I had Andrew head into the garage to get my axe. She really seemed to be at peace in the sunshine. She just laid there on the stump in the sunshine with her eyes closed, Andrew handed my the axe and headed inside with Faith. I took a measurement of where I needed to land the axe and placed it in the grass. I headed inside too. I loaded the rifle, just in case I missed and there was another situation I needed to suddenly deal with took a few long inhalations of lavender to calm my nerves. I had never done anything like what I was about to do and never in a million years did I ever think I would be able to! I'm a vegetarian for crying out loud!! I'm also a caretaker of creation and this poor helpless creature I'd been entrusted to care for was in pain and there was nothing I could do for her expect to end her pain. So I took another few whiffs of the lavender and headed back out to the stump. She opened her eyes for a minute to see what had changed then quickly closed them and went back to peacefully laying there. I propped the rifle up within easy reach and picked up the axe and thanked her for her life and thanked her for eating lots of bugs for us. Took another measurement of where it needed to be placed and with one swift motion it was all over. I will spare you all the gory details but it's not something I ever care to do again. I'm just glad I was able to muster up the chutzpah to get the job done. I've only ever killed bugs; like mosquitoes or black flies, or mice; once I ran over a garden snake with the lawnmower because I was terrified of snakes and was sure it was after me! (I shudder to think of it!) I have never taken a life like this; I am ok with doing it because I know she is out of pain but I feel so bad that it had to happen. I'm not one to panic in situations like this; pretty level headed but I've wondered in the past level headed to what point? It there a point when level headedness goes out the window? It was nice to realize that when I wasn't sure this was something I'd ever be able to to I was! I was able to reach way down in a place I didn't know I had and do what needed to be done, I know that I got that strength from my Father and I am grateful!


  1. Well done for doing the best by your hen, even though it was hard. I respect you for that.

    And you're right - it'a always the hen!

    I hope the rest of your day was better.

  2. Sometimes compassion requires us to do the hard things, you did well.


  3. thank you for the kind words.

  4. Oh so hard. I feel the same way - I don't know if I would be able to do it, but I think that deep down, if I knew I was ending pain, I probably could, because worse than OUR discomfort is seeing an animal in pain. But I'd probably throw up afterward. I'm glad you were able to find that reserve of strength that you hope you never need, but did. It's what we take on when we take on loving and caring for the creatures of this earth, I guess. Some days it's lovely, and perfect, and other days just plain suck. Peace to you today.


So what's the view from your world about that? I'd enjoy hearing it.