Yesterday evening when we went to tuck in our chickens for the night, my husband found one of our four hens had died. I had let them run free for a couple of hours that afternoon and hadn't yet closed the door to the coop. Immediately I assumed that a predator had gotten in there. Already I was feeling like it was my fault. But when Chris picked her up, we examined her and I noticed she was in perfect condition. There were no wounds or signs of any sort of distress. We ruled out an attack, which then left the question of what caused her to die? Not even a year old, it wasn't her age. What else could cause a seemingly healthy chicken to just die? I had just seen her less than 2 hours prior and she was running around with the flock. So what happened in that short time frame to cause her to die?
I googled this question and found out that other people have had similar experiences. Maybe it was a heart attack. Maybe she was "egg bound," a condition that occurs when they can't release an egg. Maybe she was sick (though she didn't show any symptoms). Who knows?
I couldn't get to sleep last night as I cried and cried over this poor chicken. I felt a little silly until I realized how similar her fate was to my precious Natalie's. I am forever plagued with the question of what caused Natalie to die quietly in her sleep? There were no warning signs. Just like this chicken. There are no answers.
We didn't take any pictures of Natalie that horrific morning of March 18, nor as she lay peacefully in her casket when our family members visited her the night before her memorial service. (I have those images imprinted on my brain forever.) But Roslyn did take a picture of our poor hen and posted it on her Instagram account with the caption "RIP Gaspar or Sleepy" (it was hard to tell the three RI Reds apart, but we're sure it's not Birdy) and some crying emojis. Looking at that peaceful bird makes me keenly aware (yet again) of how precious and fragile life is. One minutes they're here, the next they're gone. Poof!
You can't undo death.
As a result of not sleeping well, I'm tired and I've been in a bit of a funk. In fact, I've been in a funk for the past couple of weeks as now we are well into the new year and March 18 is just around the corner. It seems to happen every year around this time. The passing of our poor, sweet chicken has triggered my grief big time. I'm in the thick of it again. I struggle to get through this season coping with the enormity of my loss and my forever longing for my daughter who I will never get back. Because you can't undo death.