Wednesday, January 21, 2015

One to use the knife

"It takes one to use the knife, one to hold the animal, and one the walk in the woods and cry."*

When I started this draft a few weeks ago, I had yet to be the one to "use the knife." That's changed now.

 I came home last week to a dying chicken and the feeling of owner responsibility waiting in the backyard.  I have squished a small number of spiders (and, after the panic subsided, felt immense guilt) and probably run over a few living things with my car without knowing it. Intentionally taking the life of an animal is something I've wondered if I could ever do though. From the moment I learned she was suffering, I knew I had it in me.

I expected to feel sick as I grabbed the axe and prepared a place to make the swing. I cried as I cradled the chicken to my chest, feeling bad that I had taken so long to find the sharp axe. I shook as I laid her soon-to-be-lifeless body on the round of wood. The worry of whether I was strong enough to carry my swing all the way through teased at the edges of my mind. I knew I was physically capable; I worried that my body would cease up at the last moment inflicting pain while failing to end her life.

I took a breath, picked up the axe and swung. Once. Thoroughly.  Powerfully. Effectively. And that was it. I felt peaceful and good about my decision. Proud of my strength. Relieved to know that when it comes time to make hard decisions, I can make them. And follow through. I had fears of turning into a monster in my mind. I was surprised to learn that I felt less selfish and more compassionate as a result.

I used to be the one to "walk in the woods and cry". And that's okay.  I don't think it's a linear progression or that it's required for all to go through. I think we all have the opportunity and burden to fulfll each of these roles in some capacity at different points in our lives. I am not sure I could kill as easily if the animal were healthy or if I wasn't the only one around with the capability/responsibility. The important thing is that I am open to it changing.

*I first heard this saying from some neighbors who are very involved with land management and Native American traditions. I wish I could give credit where credit it due, but I am not sure of its origin, 

Babbling Grief

Have you ever heard a baby babble? It's heart-melting! My friend moved nearby and I'm watching her forth child (born this fall) do things my son never did. He coos. He babbles. Did I mention that? He smiles. And doesn't get lost in staring at string. She reports no obsession with toothbrushes.

BabyBee has made huge leaps since his tiny baby days but I wonder how it would have felt to have a sleeping, pooping, cuddling bundle fresh from the womb.  I thought I knew how "not normal" things were at the time; I just didn't realize just how far off we were from average. (I should have been clued in when our "birth to three" early intervention eval said we were -2.76 standard deviations from the norm in several areas. Apparently that didn't quite sink in) 

I miss those baby days we didn't have.

I'm grateful though for the tiny BabyBee days that we did have. (The toddler BabyBee days are much more fun though!)