Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Toast

25 years ago today I was in the Richmond General Hospital recovering from the trauma that was my firstborn's birth.  A quarter of a Century between then and now, she has been with me for more than half my life.  Although with 11 younger siblings I had plenty of hands on experience with babies but she was the one who initiated me into motherhood.  I can see her still as she was then - already asserting her personality and working her hands and feet out of any wrap that I or the nurses put her in; her intense murky blue eyes taking everything in.

So many changes we have lived through together - some happy, some not.  Many great ideas that weren't really that great - all those mercurial things you do in your 20's  (that I did in my 20's...)she was there for.  And she was always one of the best things about my life.

Last night we had a party to celebrate her 25 years on the planet.  I put everything into it.  We had vegetarian chili and artesian bread that I made myself and home made french bread and artichoke dip and hummus - all made by me.  The floors were washed and the rooms tidied.  And I roasted squash and cooked beets and made 2 rebar chocolate cakes (amazing!  Turned out the best I have ever done!)I worked all day starting at 4am.  And as I worked, I thought about her and what I would like to say at this 1/4 of a Century celebration.  People started arriving.  It was loud.  We visited and ate and worked together.  And by the time we were singing and eating cake, I was far too exhausted to say any of the things I had thought of.  So here it is:

A Toast

To my beautiful, talented daughter who has graced my life with love and laughter and friendship - more than I ever hoped for and more than I deserve.  To you, Eryn.  Who can find the words to describe all that a daughter is - all that you have been to me.  Who can find the words to describe the amazing unfoldment I have been honoured to witness as your mother?  A beautiful, creative, musical soul, a young woman who knows her own mind.  Someone who is not afraid to speak up.  A determined, courageous, brave person who I am so inexpressibly grateful to know.  Here's to you, Eryn.  I love you!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

In the name of science

Today was an interesting day.

Last week it became clear that one of Draga's lambs (the one named Sol by Amy) was not doing well.  I pulled out my sheep books and began to administer all manner of 'cures' but to no avail.  On Saturday evening, he collapsed and had a seizure right after going pee.  I thought he would die but he didn't.  He never got up again on his own but he lived until sometime last night.  I continued to administer to him faithfully and hopefully.  All the while continuing to read voraciously in my books and online for some clue, some clear answer.  More than anything I wished I just KNEW more.  I wish I was trained as a vet so I could have some clear idea of exactly what to do.

Then when I found him this morning and Dean and I lifted him out of the sheep shed, I decided that I would do a 'post mortem' to see if I could determine the cause of death.  So later, after Dean was at work, I put my knife to his belly and cut him open.  Arguably one of the hardest things I have ever done  The minute I pushed the knife in, pee gushed out and it gushed and gushed and gushed and gushed.  He had a urinary calculi (urinary stones) that had blocked his urethra.  He died from his bladder rupturing.  All the reading I have done since, seems to indicate that there was nothing that could have been done to save him once had had the stones and it became lodged.  He doesn't fit any of the criteria for a sheep likely to get stones.  It was just a freak thing.  A metabolic disease.  And somehow that makes me feel so much better.

I went through so much during this week of tending to a sick lamb.  My first reaction was to berate myself for my ignorance and my inadequacies - to blame myself.  Which made me feel almost desperate to 'fix' him.  I processed and wrote and prayed and contemplated.  And gradually I came to an entirely different place.  And when he died, although of course, I felt bad, I was okay, too.   And I accept that this is the way that he needed to die.  And once I discovered that he was not diseased, I decided that I would feed him to the dogs.  So I set about butchering him.  After all, its not that different from a chicken, is it?  It was hard and unpleasant but it was also exhilarating that I could actually make myself do it.  I still don't think I could kill a lamb but maybe I'm getting closer...