To Love Is To Loss

two cows feedings“Mommy” a choked voice calls on the phone ” the baby calf-she is dead”.  I hear the word and my heart sinks “Are you sure?” I ask hoping that somehow he is wrong, but as I hear my oldest son sobbing on the phone, I know the answer.  I feel a sense of grief sweep over me.  Bottle Feeding CalfCould I have prevented this death?  I don’t think I could have.  I did the best I could, but something inside me feels guilty.  If only I had not have been so sick this week. If only it had not rained so much.  If only I had of tried just a little harder. . .  Those ‘if only swirl in my brain’ as I try to comfort my son “It’s okay, we knew she was sick. I will come home  and get Daddy to take care of her”.  I am instantly grateful to have a man at my side to strengthen me.  I know that my husband, unfamiliar with animals and death, does not want to have to figure out what to do with a dead calf, but he sees my tears and immediately tries to figure out what to do. At home I gather my littlest girl on my lap as she cries over and over, “Mommy why did the baby cow die?” while my other kids solemnly look on.  I had only had that calf for a month, but yet my heart is torn.  Last night, as I dried my daughters tears and my own, I was devastated and honestly didn’t know how I could continue to live my dream of being self-sufficient.  I know that if you have livestock, you always need to be prepared for deadstock, but seriously how do you prepare for the death of a loved one-even an animal?  “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.” (D&C 42:45.)chickens

This morning I feel better. I look at my two healthy calves, three dogs, hernia ridden goat and twenty-eight chickens with hope.  I know, that as much as I want to numb myself to loss and pain, to do so would be deadly, for you cannot selectively numb emotion.  You can’t say, here’s the bad stuff.  Here’s vulnerability, here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment.  I don’t want to feel these. . . . .You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions.  You cannot selectively numb.  So when you we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we miserable. . .” I know I have to continue on with this.  I know there honestly were some things I could have done better for my calf, but I have to let go. I have to realize that I will make mistakes, many mistakes, but as long as I work hard to be grateful the journey will be worth it. “The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life“.  (Russell M. Nelson)

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