Raising a Farmer

Alot of work but always room for laughter

We carry each other when our hearts are broken because we love big

on June 16, 2017

I write this with a heavy heart. There are parts of dairy farming we know will happen and we know it will break our hearts, more then we can imagine. Cows leave our herd. Some we are happy to see leave, some we are disappointed and some just plan break our hearts. The latter is what recently happened.

As I went to tell Everett, he knew what I had to tell him was not good. I could see it in his eyes. I explained to him what happened to one of his beloved cows, 400. One he has taken to the fair since she was a calf and a sister to his most special cow, 304. One he has loved on. I barely could get the words out as I said, “She never came around.” Words I knew I would eventually have to tell my child but never wanted to think about it. Words I know as a dairy farmer are said but you never want to have to say to your child about one of his special cows. As I held Everett in my arms, nothing I could say would take the hurt away. Nothing. Nothing I could say would help ease his tears.

Nate brought 400 to the site were she would be laid to rest, overlooking the pond. Everett, Vivian and I picked freshly blooming lilacs. Lilacs are a sign of spring, a new beginning. They are some of the first flowers to bloom after a cold winter. They bring promise. That evening they were used to give safe travels to 400 as we said our goodbyes. Everett went to the other side of the house and came with freshly bloomed bleeding hearts. All of our hearts were bleeding. I asked Everett if he would like to bury his fair ribbon with 400. A firm, “Yes” he told me. We went to the show box gathered her ribbon from last year’s fair and Everett’s stall sign from the fair to be buried with her, I couldn’t help but think what those ribbons mean. They mean hard work, dedication and love. Everett loved 400. As he held his ribbon, fair tag and flowers as we waited for Nate to bring 400 he stood proud but his heart was breaking inside. I saw my 8 year old holding back his tears and then letting them fall. Trying hard to navigate his heartache. He asked about 400’s new calf, hope in his voice, I replied “She had a bull calf.” knowing his hopes would be shattered by my simple words. Again his heart broke. My little boy full of love and dedication to 400, petted her one last time, laid flowers around her, gently placed her ribbon and stall tag near her face and said his goodbyes. As Everett came and stood by me I told him with tears in my own voice, “It hurts big because you loved big.” Nate, Vivian and I all surrounded Everett in our love. We farm together. We carry each other when our hearts are broken because we love big.

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2 responses to “We carry each other when our hearts are broken because we love big

  1. So sorry for your loss! Your son is really someone special and I know those 4H calves hold a special place in your heart!

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