In a surreal turn of events that I am having a hard time processing: At almost the exact time today that one of my sons was saying goodbye to the pig who had just passed away in his arms, my other son was celebrating his first hunting kill, a clean shot that dropped the buck painlessly in mid-stride.
For those who haven’t been following me on Facebook, Hamione the pig came to us as the runt of the litter from a mother who didn’t have enough milk to feed all her babies. We knew she probably wouldn’t survive, but Eli wanted to try. He debated giving her a name, since we couldn’t keep her if she grew to her adult weight of 300 pounds, and ultimately decided he wanted something to call her by anyway.
He fed her every three hours for several days, and she grew strong and sweet and feisty. We had high hopes for her and she was well beloved.
Earlier today, she took a sudden turn and died on the way in to the vet. Eli knew when she had passed and when he finished saying goodbye Hamione, goodbye, goodbye, tearfully he told me he was glad he had given her a name because at least she knew she was loved.
As I sat down to wait on the vet (we knew she was gone but Eli wanted to talk to him anyway), I received a call from my dad, who left a voice mail announcing that Monty had made his first kill a short while earlier.
I am really, really proud of my strong and mature son who has put his nose to the grindstone to earn the privilege to be out there camping and hunting with his grandfather. Who practiced his shooting hour after hour to ensure that when the time came, he could get a perfectly clean shot and a quick death for the pronghorn.
It was his first hunting trip, his first sighting of a pronghorn buck, his first shot, and his first kill.
The buck will provide meat to my parents for many months. They have completely eliminated reliance on factory farming via hunting & preserving wild meat. These are good things.
I have been trying to process how to celebrate a death and mourn another simultaneously. It is a strange thing.
Maybe I am not called to understand it. Maybe I am just blessed, I AM blessed, blessed beyond understanding, to be the mother of two such strong and beautiful sons. One who finds beauty and enjoyment in the circle of life, in self-reliance and taking charge to get things done, who practices long and hard to be able to take what he needs from the Earth with minimal pain and maximum respect. Who is learning to walk in a man’s world. And one who finds beauty and enjoyment in connecting with other souls of all sorts, whose soul reaches out and feels the pain and the joy in others, who cares more for what those he loves wants than his own needs, and who loves every living being. And who though saddened by loss has the strength to love again and again, even knowing loss is inevitable.
I am a blessed mother.