Category Archives: Death and Loss

Miss Belle

I’m writing this with so much sadness in my heart. Yesterday, probably one of the hardest afternoons of my life, brought an end that I tried to prepare for but found myself severely lacking.

As many of you know, several years ago we took in a Jersey cow in very sad shape.

Belle and Danny the day they arrived. Malnurished, she still provided love to her calf.
Belle and Danny the day they arrived. Malnourished, she still provided love to her calf.

I’ve talked about her countless times because she had such a profound affect on my life. I remember the day she stumbled out of a cattle trailer and became part of my life. I remember sitting with her and the two calves that came with her in the pasture with tears in my eyes. A promise was made to her that day. A promise that she had a home here on the farm for the rest of her days, no matter what may come. A promise that she would be cared for and loved. A promise that every day forward would be what she deserved in life, respect. In a matter of hours, she showed such grace and such a motherly devotion to her calves, she was named Belle and nicknamed Ma. She ended up becoming a mother to many and in one summer season came back to her full potential. The photo video below shows that transition.

As the years went by, she inspired so many changes. We developed the whole future of the farm based on her needs and care. You may all think I’m crazy and say she was nothing more than a pet cow but you couldn’t be more wrong. If anything, I was her pet human. She was the epitome of a lady inside that bovine body of hers. She was gentle enough to stand for anyone to milk her. She provided me with something I never thought possible; a calm personality. She taught me that no matter how bad your life may become, God will bring a change that will have a profound impact. She was a blessing to a woman who was lost in the depths of depression. She gave me purpose and showed me what I should be doing with my life. I will always hold a very special place in my heart for her and I know that there will never be another cow that comes into my life that will be like her. She was unique and special. I want to always remember her like the video and photo below.

My sweet Belle as I picture her in my head now grazing in God's green pastures.
My sweet Belle as I picture her in my head now grazing in God’s green pastures.

Who Inspires You?

I know my answer, right off the top of my head with every beat of my heart. I know I have talked about this before and shared with you but I have to do it again. It’s that important to me.

You would be amazed at how something as simple as a grainy, blurry old scanned photograph can bring up so many emotions and memories. Yesterday, my cousin Corina shared an old photo of my Grandmother Liddington. I think it was probably taken from around the time I was born because her hair is still dark, not grayed like the later years of my youth.

My very special Grandma Liddington. Love you and miss you every day!

There are no singular words to describe her. She was the community cook, rural doctor of sorts, farmer’s wife and so much more. She was a tough women who raised six kids and never, ever took any back lip from anyone but she would give you her last loaf of bread if you needed it. She was the type of person I have always been inspired to be.

I can’t even begin to tell you all the things she did for so many people. And OHHHH the food that lady could make on her wood fired cook stove!

She has been gone from us since the early 1990’s but her memories live and breath every day through those of us left behind. There aren’t many photos of her to share but the imprint she left on us was without a doubt a legacy for years to come. To best sum up her legacy, I will make a list of impressions and words to that I live by handed down through her actions.

Take no lip. You know what’s right, so do it.
Never cook a meal without extra, you never know who may need the extra plate.
Never waste food. It’s valuable and expensive.
Provide for yourself. Don’t rely on others but don’t hesitate to give.
Pass on what you know to your children and grandchildren.
Work hard, expect nothing.
Treat everyone as family. Trust no one, love everyone.
Stand your ground and let know one push you around.
You don’t need a whole lot of nothing to be special, lead with your heart. No one cares about your clothes, car or bank account. It’s the love in your heart that really counts.
No one is going to hold your hand forever and treat you like a child. You need to dry your tears, get off your butt and learn to be better.

Yup, that about sums up my Grandma. Treated everyone as equal. Money and status never mattered. There was always extra food and a place at the table in her house. If you need mending from a cut, scrape or sickness, you saw my Gran.

In closing, I hope that somehow my words get to Heaven because I know that’s where she’s at:
Gran, I still love you with all my heart! Thank you for taking a child with a broken wing under yours and teaching me so much. I never knew just how much you would impact my life as an adult. With every meal, every trip to the barn, every second spent weeding the garden, at nearly every point in my life…you are still here with me. You were a special lady, unique and one of a kind. No one will ever be able to take your place to so many people but thank you for everything, every moment that impacted so many more lives that just mine. I pray that someday when people look back on my life…they can easily say, “yup, that was Martha’s granddaughter!” I will forever keep this place in my heart and I hope that someday, we can sit under the lilac trees in Heaven together. My one request…please don’t make me pick a switch! I promise to live my life from this day and every day so you won’t have to.

Acts of Kindness

My Grandpa always told me that do be a good person, I had to perform “Acts of Kindness”. I used to bother him with all kinds of questions about how to perform an act of kindness. He would patiently attempt to explain them to me. He would tell me about holding doors open for people, to assist someone when they needed help or maybe even something small like caring for a sick or injured animal.

After my Grandma had a stroke or two, he used to tell me that sitting with her and talking to her just like we used to was also an act of kindness. Eventually, when she had so many strokes that she had no capabilities of walking and could barely grunt, I finally understood what he meant. Brushing her hair as she lay starring at the ceiling her  eyes full of things she wanted to say but couldn’t, I would perform my act of kindness.

I might be crazy but to me, if I would take that extra care and time with a human, why wouldn’t I do it with an animal too. Sometimes in their lives, they need someone to show them love and compassion too.

I call these situations rescues. These are usually animals that no one else wants to take the time or the energy to care for. These are my biggest acts of kindness. I would go without sleep for days, spend half my time making sure they start warm, get food in their bellies and attempt to give them a chance at life.

From an abused dog who is still so scared sometimes she hides in the closet to a tiny little starved piglet….it doesn’t matter. I feel obligated to give them a chance…to care for them and give them the best chance of survival. It doesn’t matter what condition they are in when they come, every single one of them steals a little piece of my heart as soon as I lay eyes on them.

This morning I am sitting here typing, shedding a few tears for a poor little runt piglet that I knew for less than a half a day. She came home with Mr. Farmer last night, so cold and so skinny. I worked to get her all warmed up to have her get violently sick. She just kept expelling stuff out of her mouth in such large quantities that she literally choked to death. It is so difficult to try to do everything humanly possible under those circumstances. Knowing that there isn’t much that you can do. I held her in my arms as she took her last breath, part of me sad to see that I didn’t do good enough but part of me happy that she was in God’s hands and not suffering anymore.

Sometimes acts of kindness are achieved through simple gestures like brushing an old ladies hair or smiling at someone while passing them in the grocery store. Sometimes acts of kindness are the very thing that steals a piece of our hearts. Sometimes, those acts of kindness are given by God’s own hand to end suffering. I have been fortunate enough to learn over the years that God has proved us all with more than we will ever know or fully understand. He knows that I learned this lesson from my Grandpa and even that I give a little piece of my heart away with every act I do.

But you know, for every piece of my heart I lose…something always happens to fill it back up. Maybe it’s even someone else’s random act of kindness that will make a difference in my day.

On a side note, when it comes to animals in need there will never be a day when I will turn one away. Farm animals, cats and dogs are the one’s that seem to happen to me the most. I have several people and organizations that have been known to call me or Mr. Farmer about these types of cases. I do my best to nurse them just as I would any human in need. Not all of them end up as success stories but, no matter what, I know that these animals are not alone when their time comes. They have someone holding them in their arms with a heart full of love.

God’s Gate

My Scarlett girl is now standing at God’s Gate. She left our world about 2:25 today.

I will forever miss you sweet girl!

“To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” William Blake

Scarlett out lounging in the pasture Fall ’11

There are no words to describe the pain I feel right now. None. To those of you who don’t understand the relationship I have with my cows….these are my children. I love them with all of my heart and soul. There is no description to the pain and ache I feel.