Late yesterday afternoon I went out to check the hens. Four little clucks came running for the door of the pen. Everyone except Blanche. She was lying at the back of the pen, dead. It was a bit of a shock as I always thought that her end would come with a garnish of rosemary and lemon.
I initially thought it was Hazel, but when I really looked this morning I discovered that the remaining Buff had a small comb. Blanche's was rather large and floppy.
Last night, during my prayer, I found myself apologizing for not watching out for Blanche better. I know things happen, but she was under my watch and I had failed her.
A thought suddenly came to me that I am the chicken. Not really the chicken, but like the chicken. Just as I should care for, tend, nurture, nourish and protect my flock, I have a responsibility to do the very same thing for myself. Funny how such an insignificant event can propel such a much-needed lesson.
I find that I am the last one I care for. With my husband, children and parents all requiring my care at various times, I am the last one on the totem pole. Blanche's demise brought that to the forefront of my brain. There is someone counting on me to feed, nurture, tend and protect myself both physically and spiritually. He is the one who wants me to return to Him when my end comes. If I failed Blanche, lesson learned. If I fail myself, well the ramifications are eternal. Failure is not an option.
I'm sorry, Blanche, for not being there to protect you when you needed me to. But, I thank you for the lesson that you have taught me. It is rife with sadness and pain at your loss, but full of appreciation and gratitude.
Farewell, you sweet, silly hen.