I do not recall if we have ever written a sad entry in our farm journal, but life on a farm, just like life off of the farm, has a lot of sad moments. Having lots of animals, we have had moments in which we have witnessed death, and moments in which like a few weeks ago, Dave and the dogs went running outside to scare off a wild animal that was attacking one of our animals...that time, a guinea, right outside our bedroom window. Thankfully it is so peaceful up here, our ears are tuned to noticing any odd sound and know that if we hear a farm animal, Dave and I have a routine as we jump out of bed and race to assess the situation.
A couple of weeks ago, our pet cow, Daffodil, wasn't looking well. She was getting pretty far along in her pregnancy, but her body condition just didn't look like it should. Daffodil was one of the last animals from our original herd and if it wasn't for her being more like a dog and our pet than a cow, she would have been culled years ago, as she does not fit our requirements for what we are raising on the farm. Due to the fact that she was hand-raised by us after her mother, Daisy (my baby, hand-raised by me after rejected by her mother), had life-threatening complications during her birth and could not take care of her, she became a favorite of David's. He would spoil her with treats and if she saw him she would run away from the rest of the herd to meet him at the fence. She loved our boys to pieces...as much as they loved her. When the cows got out one day, she was the one that let me know they were out, as she showed up at my kitchen door looking in the window while David and I were making cookies. Daffodil was a "lifer." Meaning she would remain on this farm until she died, she would never be culled, butchered, and eventually would have retired from a life of breeding to enjoy her golden years eating only the best grass we could give her.
Unfortunately, it did not work out that way, and my oldest son at a very young age had to learn what many children learn, the hurts of losing a pet. Daffodil seemed to be getting better, Dave took care of her and treated her with recommendations from vets, but then unexpectantly things went downhill. It was a week ago today that Dave and I started to prepare for how we were going to handle the inevitable passing of Daffodil. Last Friday evening, David went and spent time with Daffodil and we talked about her. We cried and let her know how much we loved her, and said lots of comforting words. Dave and I later talked about what would happen and we hoped and prayed she wouldn't make it through the night as we feared she was in pain. We had a vet coming the next day, but being as though things got bad Friday evening, they would not be able to make it until Saturday. Saturday first thing, Dave checked and found Daffodil still alive. We woke David and got him ready, knowing it was time now, we wanted him to be able to say goodbye. With tears flowing, David was quiet, but spent time with his pet...I don't know if he told her out loud, but he told her with his actions and the love of his touch that he loved her very much. Dave and David left the barn, and literally two minutes later, Dave went back into the barn and Daffodil had passed. I was with David then in the house and Dave came in to let us know. I held my oldest boy, always my baby, and we cried (like I am right now as I type this). We went out to see her and Dave and his dad began preparations for her burial. A little later I watched my brave little man drive off to bury his first true pet, determined to be there...and I cried for him. I saw a strength in him that day that I didn't have as a child, or even as a young adult. I am proud of the way my son showed such compassion, devotion, and love to his 1,000 pound pet and how he was determined to see it through to the end to show his respect for her when there was nothing else that could be done.
We still talk about Daffodil and how we miss her and how no other cow will ever replace her. And one day when he is older and truly understands, we will further explain to David what Dave and I witnessed and believe in our hearts about the passing of Daffodil. We know she lived through the night for David, her devotion and love for him kept her alive so that they could say goodbye to each other one last time and his touch, love, and presence gave her the comfort to pass on, and she did so after he left, so that he would not have to see it.
Daffodil gave our family a true gift and reminded us what unconditional love is all about. We are blessed to have had Daffodil as a member of our farm family and she will never be forgotten.