Dumpling, my one and only
Dumpling and me having a photo shoot!
Some say it is to better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all. But this feeling, is the worst in the world. Dumpling wasn’t just a pet, she was a friend, a teacher, a mother and part of the family. I love her with all my heart and this is our story.
I never knew Dumpling as a chick, but the second I saw her I knew it was meant to be, or so I thought. The first Dumpling I ever loved, cherished, was a beautiful chicken whose stripy feathers reflected her traumatic past life, living in a barren wire cage with many other hens like her. I picked her but as I held her close, promising her a life of grass and love she stopped moving and her head sagged over my arms, like it had no bones, no life even though I felt left still inside her, battling against the strong blackness of death. I stressed, I screamed and pleaded for help, and help did come but they took her away.
I never knew if she lived, but they said she hadn’t much chance and I know I will forever live with that guilt weighing me down, never forgiving myself for breaking my promise.
I forced myself to pick another chicken, this time a healthy strong young hen rose from the ashes and grew into Dumpling, the one whose life we remember and whose death we mourn. Dumpling was a fluffy young hen who befriended me almost instantly and settled into the flock within a few nights. She enjoyed each day, cherished each moment, milked every second, her cheerful squawk always there to greet me as I walked thought the gate each afternoon.
I remember one day when I was in the vegetable garden, I picked a tomato and gave it to Dumpling, from then on she expected a tomato every day and when the plant died I had to lie to my mum saying that I loved tomatoes now and if she could buy more when really I gave them to my baby, my pride and joy, my Dumpling.
Me and Dumpling’s bond grew each day, we sat in the garden most evenings and watched the sun go down, both of us gazing in wonder at the stars, like all best friends would. As days went by Dumpling wasn’t coming out to greet me and usual and I went to check on her. This was the happiest moment of my life, Dumpling was going to become a mother!
I was scared for I knew it is not death that I should fear but I should fear never beginning to live. I hoped the chick would come soon. We waited a long 21 days before we heard something. A small cheep, I was so happy I thought I was going to burst with joy! It felt like I was an Aunty to the small chick, whose life I knew was going to a wonder.
I was wrong. One day, a small life was lost, my Dumpling’s chick, gone like it was never there. I knew I had to accept it but I never did, still today I wish that chick was with me, regret that I left it out one night.
Sadness swept over me for weeks until a new life was born, another chick for Dumpling, another life for the world. I named this chick, Chives. Chives grew each day and he became brave like his mother, venturing into the unknown. Me and Chives had a special bond from the day I met him, he let he stroke his feathers and feed him from my hands from a day old.
One morning another life was lost, this time, I knew I wouldn’t pull through, I let the waves of sadness overwhelm me, gather inside me like storm clouds. This life was Dumpling.
A fox had taken her, anger and grief surged through me and I was drowning myself in tears.
From then on, I was Chives' mother, he knew me as his guardian, the one who kept him safe, I loved him and protected him. I knew I would raise him into an amazing chicken like his mother. I was wrong again.
Chives disappeared when the fox struck again. I was lost in grief. I had failed Dumpling. Dumping made me think I had a purpose, when she died, I still kept her alive, in Chives. But when he died, I had nothing left. I was lost.
But I have learned to accept the past, and now I enjoy life because I know she is still with me, perched on my arm. This is why I enjoy life, because Dumpling can enjoy it with me.
TILL THE END DUMPLING, I WILL REMEMBER YOU, I WILL LOVE YOU, FOREVER. Dumpling, you are my one and only, my purpose, my life.
Remember, Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.