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Hidden Tears at the Tree

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Today I walked into the house and found my little sister, Kiersten, writing in her little calving record book. She has faithfully been copying from mine which cows calve when and what they had! I was so proud! The other day she designated a special page for her cats! And so today she was writing down what cat had just had kittens and how many she had! She was pretty excited! “At’ta Girl” I told her! She smiled pretty big as she has been waiting for these kittens for quite awhile now!

Well later this afternoon I found Kirsten digging a hole up by “The Tree” and with a few carefully hidden tears she was burying 2 of the new kittens. Something had happened and 2 were dead and the other 2 were no where to be found. I knelt down and said “I’m sorry, Kiersten”, and helped to dig a hole. I knew that her tender heart was hurting and I understood. We buried the kittens and Kiersten carefully laid rocks over the little grave. “Thank You" she said and then picked up her bucket and shovel and we walked away.

Something that a ranch kid learns early on in life...If you’re going to have, you are also going to lose. We can do all that we can to help our animals, but life still happens and with life comes death. And no matter how many times we have to go through this lesson…it still hurts. Every time. Whether it is a new baby calf that just wasn’t ok from the start, or an old cow that should have gone to the sale barn a few years ago…that weathered many storms and droughts and faithfully raised a big calf every year, but she can no longer get up on her own… and someone has to go and do what no one wants to do. A goat that dies in your arms or that best saddle horse that taught you so much about life. It hurts every time. And sometimes we cry. Because we love what we do and we want to do it to the best of our ability. We love our animals and want them to live the best life that they can. Its okay. It’s the life we are blessed to live and we wouldn’t want to do anything else. Kittens or Cows. Horses or Chickens. A lesson from when we are young…that we are still learning each day. Life. Death. Try. And Try Again. —

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