I know it’s Mother’s Day. And this is a sad story. But it is also a story about being a mom.
And a love that took me by surprise.
If there is anything you have ever lost that you loved, I thought you might relate to my yesterday.
See the other night we had a thunderstorm.
I thought “I should go check on the babies.” And then I fell right back asleep.
In the morning I could not find baby Rumi. Then I saw a hay bale in their fort that had been pushed about 6 inches out from the wall.
Rumi was down in the crack… upside down between the hay bale and the wall.
I can only imagine the babies got scared from the thunder and piled on top of each other (as they do) and Rumi got crammed down in the crack and couldn’t get back up.
I pulled him up and he was still warm, but not breathing. We tried all the things you try. Pumping his heart. A sort of goat CPR.
Panic. Shock. Desperation.
Baby was really truly gone.
And while many of the thoughts rolling through my head include phrases like:
— “I should have…”
— “If I’d only…”
— and “Why this one?”
My main question today is actually about love. What do we do with those moments of love that change us? Do we just be grateful for them and let them go? Do we let them haunt us? Do we bathe in them? Learn from them? Hold them lightly?
You see, Rumi was not just one of six little goats. He was my wise little mystic. There was no hiding that he was my favorite. Rumi was just pure love.
I slept with him in the hay. Fed him bottles. Nursed him back to health one scary night after he had found and nibbled on a toxic bush. In a few short weeks he prodded open a very tender part of my heart.
In in turn, he returned to me just peaceful… open… sweet love.
I am so aware that I could do so many things with my sorrow. I could say I don’t want any goats. I could stop loving the other babies. I could say “it’s only a goat” and move on with my day.
Or I can just let that love wash over me. And that sorrow wash over me. And sit quietly in the grateful complicated mess of it all.
We all have loss.
All day I have gotten messages, incredibly sweet messages, from people who have lost their pets or their children or their spouses. Notes of beauty and caring and grief.
We don’t choose what we lose. But we do participate in how it shapes us.
Do we love less or more? Do we care more or less? Does it break us open or closed?
I don’t know what it is you have lost. Lost your love? Lost your way? Lost your faith? Lost your parents? Lost your friend? Lost your dreams?
I wonder…. How will that loss shape your future? Shape your heart? Shape your day?
Today, I will cry until I’m ready to stop.
I will celebrate this little goat man who passed too quickly through my life.
I will go plant a field of wildflowers and invite him to stay in my life.
And then I will wonder who else I can love like that. Tenderly. Bigly.
Rumi, I will miss you so very much. I really am so very sorry you had to go so soon. But I thank you for coming in the first place. It was truly a gift to be your mom.
Happy Mother’s Day to all. Be it a day of great joy or a day of deep sorrow.
You are loved.
You are love.
You get to love.
As the saying goes, you know that “better to have love and lost” one…
It is worth it.
P.S. Warning: this video is a bit sad, but I was truly captivated by how my dog Milo responded to losing his friend. If there was any way to bring baby back to life, Milo would have found it. He licked and prodded and whined desperately until the very last moment Rumi was blanketed with earth. What truly incredible creatures.