It’s Hard to Celebrate While Grieving

My birthday was yesterday and it was so hard to get wishes for a happy birthday in the face of the losses we’ve had this week. How do you have an amazing day when your heart is in pieces? Still, I was spoiled like crazy by my family and my Spicy Ginger. I had love all around me, which is really the best thing you can have in life.

It’s easy to want to pull back and harden your heart from feeling too much when you’re going through this kind of unbearable loss. I can’t stop thinking about how much we loved them and how no amount of pictures or memories can ease the way this particular set of losses hit us. From the first one, Cat, to Gertie and Sansa on Tuesday morning… each one alone was agonizing, but all together it was too much.

So I started writing down the stories and I have more to share about them, but for today I have to say this: It has been worth loving them so much that it was the worst pain losing them.

I would rather be the person who cries for the loss of our animal family members than the person who never loves enough to cry.

I’m going to bust my butt to keep working hard to protect those we have left and to increase our biosecurity where possible.

And I’m doing all I can to be gentle and kind with my beloved Spicy Ginger while he is going through all of his pain, too. We both know that hope can be deceptive, especially now that we know more about what we’re dealing with. I know he has to pull back from our Miss Roxy right now and I absolutely understand why. If she gets it, he will have to euthanize her as I just can’t do it. In this instance, I need him to have that distance to protect his heart for now.

If Roxy survives, it may be a long time before he can trust in her safety enough to bond with her. As for me? She has no flock currently. The ducks are ok, but they just aren’t the same and so I’m doing my best to be her mini-flock. I spoil her and talk to her and spend time with her and watch her closely for any signs that she has been infected. I’m fairly certain she hasn’t been infected, as I think she would not survive it. Maybe it was the fact that we didn’t leave her ailing sisters with her on Tuesday. I don’t know for certain, but I think in our flock the mortality rate of the avian flu is 100% and she was just fortunate that she didn’t get infected. I don’t think it’s that she’s immune. My instincts say that’s not the case.

It’s all speculation at this point and the actions I’ve taken since we lost Sansa and Gertie are important.

I have things I need to do… paperwork for the autism assessment and cleaning and medical appointments, etc., but right now I’m tired. I’m the human equivalent of worn out brakes that are reduced to metal on metal.

It’s time for bed. Some sleep might help, but so will time.

Moonfire

Our Sansa Gave Love, Too

Our little red frizzle, Sansa, was a spicy ginger with red curls just like my big Spicy Ginger. And she was so freaking loving, just like him.

While I have lots of favorite memories of her, my absolute joy was each night, when I’d go and try to get the damned ducks into their house (they are like randy teenagers), our Sansa would come to the open door of the chicken house and ask to be picked up. Even though she and our other hens had all neatly put themselves to bed, she wanted cuddles before bed. This meant walking around with her cuddled up to me while trying to put the ducks to bed one-handed.

It was worth every moment. The whole time she would make these gentle coos and soft clucks, which of course I would make back to her.

Sansa, Dany, and Cat, our sweet independent butterscotch silkie, were broodmates and were tight little friends. They were sisters, so that meant they had their spats, but they always stuck together. While Lana thought she was a duck, our little trio KNEW they were chickens and superior in every way. I think they thought Lana was the annoying little sister who didn’t know anything.

When Sansa saw Spicy Ginger, sometimes she would run up to him and do the “Chicken Cha Cha” to get him to pick her up and cuddle her. I think she knew a kindred spicy ginger when she saw one. Or maybe she thought he was “Mom” or maybe she just loved him.

I miss them all so much. I miss our Goth Girls and we have our one lone Red Sister who is doing well today, but I can’t get my hopes up even if her poop this morning was perfect and she’s our biggest, most robust hen. I know they can be healthy in the morning and deadly sick by midday, gone by night.

Hope can be a lie right now, so even though it hurts, I am letting myself remember the little loves we’ve lost. And I’m spoiling the hell out of Roxy, our remaining Red Sister. She looks baffled right now… wondering why she’s alone with nobody but the ducks for companions.

If she takes the turn for the worse, I promise we will act with love to spare her the pain.

Moonfire

A Very Empty Yard

Spicy Ginger euthanized our last Goth Girl and Sansa this morning. It was the only loving thing to do to prevent the suffering that I’ve watched our girls go through. I can’t begin to describe the grief we are going through. We have one chicken left of the eight we had this time last week. It hurts so much that it feels like knives cutting into my heart.

Our ducks are behaving strangely and it’s unclear if it’s the virus hitting them or just the stress of what has been happening. There’s no doubt they are carrying the disease, as all of our flock are intermingled and exposed to things at the same time when outside. This is a small, backyard flock, with no facilities to close them up and protect them from exposure to wild ducks, although we’ve been doing all we can to chase off the wild ducks and keep the food area safe.

Our yard is so quiet. It’s awful. No bustling busy chickens, hunting down those bugs and worms, and no raucous ducks getting into trouble… it’s just quiet. Everyone that remains is in the back area of the lot, with several of our duck girls huddled together and snoozing. Peepers, our lone drake, is back by the irrigation stream with his seasonal girlfriend, Beauty. She’s also his nestmate from last spring when they were hatched and the only two survivors of the four ducklings last year, so I’m glad they are together.

It’s not the same out there, though. So many losses for our flock over this last year and now this most devastating loss that has left us reeling. How do you heal your heart when it has been shredded? Each one has been unbearable but losing our frizzles and silkies has been the worst. We hand-raised them and coddled them. We fought to get them through the vulnerable chick stage and then loved them with everything we had as they grew up into these lovely little beings. For both Spicy Ginger and I – these were our offspring and our very beloved pets.

I have to stop writing now. I’m tired and my eyes are dry and sore from crying. Nothing is working to distract me, but I will keep trying.

Moonfire

Our Babies

Dany and Lana left us last night. We raised them from chicks. My mum fought off a hawk that tried to take Lana last summer. We have fed them, loved them, pampered them, and done all we could to give them the best life ever and we didn’t do enough to protect them.

Lana was a tiny black frizzle. She was such a fiesty little chicken, although she really thought she was a duck since she grew up with ducklings in our backyard flock. I swear she thought she was as big as our ducks, even though she was our tiniest little birdie. She was super fast and she wasn’t picked on by our bigger birds (which was all of them). I think it was because she was such a sass-butt. She and Dany huddled together yesterday, finding some comfort in each other as they got sicker. In the end, Dany kept her company so she wasn’t alone to face those last minutes.

Dany… Oh gosh. I feel like you shouldn’t have a favorite, but I will be brutally honest. Dany was our favorite. She was our snowy white silkie, with dark gray skin, black eyes, and blue ears. She was hand-raised with Cat, our beautiful butterscotch silkie that we lost first, on Saturday evening. Cat and Dany were fiesty and fast and so darned fluffy, they looked like teddy bears instead of chickens. But Cat was wily and independent and did NOT want to be petted. She had chicken business to attend to and petting just wasn’t on the agenda. Dany, on the other hand, was all about the cuddles and the love. She would drop down into the “pick me up crouch” constantly and would flirt her way into getting more bug mix. Both Cat and Dany had some good loud lungs when they wanted to announce things to the flock and us, but they could also purr. Dany passed at 1:05am, with me sitting watch, as I didn’t want her to be alone and I was hoping that keeping her out of the chicken house might do something… anything for our last three girls.

But this morning I found that Sansa, our spicy ginger frizzle, is sick. She has been broody prior to the onset of the avian flu in our flock and I suspect she won’t last the day. There is NOTHING I can do to save her and I feel so helpless. I won’t write about who she was until she is gone because even now, with almost non-existent odds, I have the tiniest bit of hope in my heart.

For those who don’t understand – I will be clear. These were not “food birds”. These are family. They are pets who are named and loved and cared for every single day. Every loss is like a knife to the heart. Spicy Ginger and I are watching our flock – our family of birds – die off, with no way to save them.

It is beyond heartbreak.

Moonfire

Grieving

We’ve lost three of our eight chickens to what looks like avian flu and it’s looking more and more like we’re losing more of them, if not all. I have never felt so helpless before. I want to write out my feelings, but really? I just don’t have words that express it.

I can’t take anymore of this. The firing, the accident, and now this horrible thing.

I understand having resilience in the face of life’s shit, but what do you do when your resilience evaporates under continued hits?

We could lose all of them and we could lose our ducks, too. The ducks will probably survive, but our chickens seem to have no hope in hell.

I’m not sure how to get through this. I shift between stoicism, hope, and crying.

I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to pretend like it’s not happening or hide from it, but I don’t want to be around people and have to act like everything is ok. Everything is NOT ok.

Moonfire

Looking For The Positives

I slept three hours with the Pippin kitten (18 month old void fluff) after I got the paperwork done for the disability attorney today. I tucked her under the soft blankie with me and we conked out. My large chonk, Baby Bella (4 years old) is napping in a cardboard box that actually fits all 20 lbs of her. Youngest is in their room, curled up with their laptop and their kitty, Merry.

I’ve ordered in dinner even though I technically can’t afford it, but I hurt and I got all of the massive paperwork done over the last two days, so this is my “You’re a good girl” reward.

I will do my grocery order tomorrow and order some things to make homemade dump soup so Youngest and I can live off it for a few days. Crap… that reminds me that I need laundry soap.

I have discovered Grape Crush water flavoring and it is yummy. Grape Koolaid water flavoring is wayyyy too sweet and not a substitute good for the Crush flavoring. Just wanted to put that out there.

All in all, I am surviving. I think the nap today was much needed and helped. I haven’t been eating much, due to the painful tummy, so I guess we could call this a win, too, as I’ll likely drop a little bit of weight.

I can hear the birds outside and wow, they are noisy little creatures but I like the background chatter as it fills in the press of the quiet.

Time to get up and do my back exercises.

Moonfire

Panic Attacks and Depression

I’m not doing great right now.

I’m having panic attacks and my outlook is pretty sad. I drove Spicy Ginger and his friend to the downtown area so they could attend a concert last night. On the way, a truck ran a red light and looked like it was going to hit the oncoming left-turn traffic. It ramped up my anxiety and that, plus the guys being rowdy and noisy in my car, put me into a full blown panic attack.

My nervous system kept pulsing and my muscles kept clenching.

I got home and just wanted to cry, but kept myself together. I took a valium, as prescribed by the ER doc, and not only did it not help, it seemed to ramp up my anxiety.

I think the Gabapentin for my restless legs and pain actually works better, so I’m going to stick with that.

Even today I am off and struggling, but I have to get this paperwork done for the disability attorney.

Mum and I met with the investigator for the attorney for the accident. Hiring an attorney for that whole thing is counter to everything that my Mum and I are about, but we are both worried that the insurance company for the other party will insist that my Mum’s injury to her arm is due to her rheumatoid arthritis and is not due to the accident, when it is the accident which caused the problem with decreased function.

Just knowing that there is someone on our side is helping me to feel better. Hopefully it’s helping Mum feel more confident, too. She was an emotional mess after the appointment with the hand specialist last Friday morning.

I cannot believe how this accident has messed up our world in a myriad of different ways. One moment that had so many impacts. It’s unreal.

I have to get this paperwork done and call to do the phone interview with the food stamps people so we can continue to get our assistance. I would rather curl up in a ball and cry, but that’s not an option with everything pressing in. Luckily, this afternoon a friend is coming over and we can focus our energies on something positive. I need that right now.

Moonfire

Dammit All To Hell

My mum’s arm is really fucked up.

So I called an injury lawyer’s office and we have an appointment with an evaluator next Tuesday. I’m struggling to just deal with my disability forms and the accident stuff keeps coming and coming. My kid’s birthday got fucked up and because of the stress and the pain, the sleepover planned with best friends is being postponed so they can celebrate kiddo turning 15 when things aren’t total crap.

My mum just cried and cried while talking to me and it broke my fucking heart. It’s her dominant hand and she had good use in it until this stupid fucking accident. I know I couldn’t have done more to prevent the accident, but damn… I feel like shit that it happened.

I’m so tired and my back hurts and my gastrointestinal system is screwed up and could I PLEASE just get some kind of break?

Moonfire

Heading in to Urgent Care

Dammit all to hell. My back is really hurting. Stupid body.

Well, my friends were right when they said that the pain would get worse for a bit. My neck and back are definitely unhappy, but my back more than my neck. Just raised my arms to put my hair in a bun and got my breath taken away.

So I guess I’m going to haul my unshowered self over to the urgent care place near my abode and get checked out. I have a fairly high pain tolerance so when something hurts that much, I have to listen.

Can I just take one moment (mostly to bitch, but also to let the morning rush hour traffic wrap itself mostly up)? This fucking sucks.

It’s not the pain, which is crap by itself, but it’s all of the coordinating and having to pay a $50 deposit for the damned rental car and all the other bits and pieces. It’s answering questions about what happened from my perspective and trying to read my copy of the incident report and phone calls and all of it.

It’s driving a rental car that is like a spaceship, which sounds like fun, but isn’t since I’m paranoid and stressed that something will happen to the damned car while I’m driving it. Plus it’s not my car, which is safe and familiar and mine.

It’s all the bits and pieces that make up dealing with this and I’m STILL dealing with my health and my Oldest’s needs and X’s aunt being very ill and … see? The list goes on and on.

I needed this happening like I needed someone to drill an extra hole in my skull.

Fuck my back hurts.

Also, what asshole car designer makes a beautiful gun metal gray car with black and BROWN interior??? The brown isn’t even attractive. It’s butt ugly.

My hands hurt, too.

I’m feeling pissy today.

I have all this cleaning to do and I can’t. So instead I’m trying to keep from sitting still too long so I don’t stiffen up. Bah.

AND WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY? Seriously looking at the draft from the Supreme Court and being all the more motivated to get the hell out of this red state. No way in hell do I want to stay where things could get even worse than the mess we already have here.

Couple more minutes and I’m heading off to be seen by the doc. I need a paper-trail in case this goes south on me. Dammit.

Moonfire

Another Boom

My mum and I were in a car accident last night. My car is presently at the repair place where it will get a quote at some point. It was towed there.

My mum has an undetermined arm injury and while the x-rays showed no breaks on her arm, shoulder, or knees, she WAS taken from the accident scene in an ambulance and will be seeing a hand specialist on Friday of this week.

My back and neck hurt.

My car is damaged and I’m not happy about it, but then, who is ever happy about that kind of thing.

The accident fucked up our planned celebration for my Youngest kid’s 15th birthday.

I know there is more to say but I am tired and my GI system is very unhappy with me at present. I think I will take a nap.

Moonfire