Another Funeral

“It’s so nice to see and talk with you!” said Judy, as we met by my car to exchange a package. Obviously there is not much “seeing and talking” going on with the pandemic. “How are the chickens?” she asked as we chatted. “Good,” I replied, adding that we (and numerous chicken-raising friends) had just gone through a prolonged molt, and the now newly feathered chickens had just started routinely laying eggs again. “I’m getting 10 eggs a day from my 12 layers, and some of those girls are going on 10 years old!” (I checked, it really is only 8 years……).

However, when I got home after our chat, I opened one of the inside nest boxes to collect eggs (accessed by the birds from within the coop house), and found one of those old girls had died (I had two hens left from my original flock of 6). And, as I have seen in the past, a few of her sister hens were standing by the nest box. In the middle of the day. Inside the coop house where there is no food, no water….nothing to do except stand by and keep watch.

I thought back to Judy’s and my talk earlier, where she had referenced how nice it was to actually face-to-face interact. I thought of my friends Susan and Lisa, both of whom are aching to reunite with distant family. I then thought of the half a million US Coronavirus deaths, and pondered how many of those were unattended by family or friends. How many suffered and died with no one to “stand by and keep watch?” How many funerals were not held where loved ones could gather and honor their dead?

As in the past, the “watchers” dispersed when their sister’s body was removed, and I was left with the thought that they were fortunate to be able to be present to honor their dead. And, like Susan and Lisa, I long for the day when we, too, can freely join together to celebrate. Or mourn.

KODAK Digital Still Camera