Something You Have to Forgive Yourself For
This is a tough one. I have two theories about stupid acts. First, air your dirty laundry in public so that nobody will be able to blackmail you later. Second, if I learn from all the stupid things I do in my life, I’ll be the wisest woman on the planet by the time I die. The first theory isn’t really relevant, but I guess what I’m saying is there are many things I could choose from.
As I think about what it is that is most important for me to forgive, and I think about what I would change if I could go back in time, there are very few things I would change. I am the person I am today because of those dumb choices. Those are the things that build character and define who we are. It’s always when we do stupid things that we can really see what we’re made of. Do we take responsibility for our actions, or do we cower in the corner and blame others. It’s a real trick to hold our head up and atone for our mistakes without it killing our pride.
This past summer, I had a horribly rough month, one that seriously tested my inner strength. My animals are my family, and if something happens to them, I take it personally. I always blame myself, whether I had anything to do with it or not. I beat myself up and think I should have been able to do something differently to prevent anything bad from happening. I want their existence on my farm to be Utopian.
When my beautiful black Magic kitty was killed by a car on the road, I thought back to the night before. I almost picked him up off the deck railing and brought him inside with me when I was getting ready for bed. He would have been inside all night and safe. Of course, he’d spent how many nights outside and he would drive me crazy if I tried to turn him into a house cat, but I still think how easily I could have saved him. That split second decision that I didn’t think twice about, could have been the difference between life and death.
We had a series of stupid accidents with me losing two kids. A third died from what I believe was a congenital defect. I admit, I was paranoid to go out to the barnyard because I was constantly afraid someone else was going to be dead. Any time I didn’t immediately see who I was looking for, I’d panic and start calling their name. Usually, they were curled up sleeping and didn’t look any too happy about my rude wake up call, but my nerves were shot and my whole being was filled with grief over these losses. As horrible as it was, they were accidents, and there was nothing I really could have done differently.
The hardest for me to take is Mabel. She was a Nubian cross goat that was given to me. She gave me triplets every year for five years and twins this past spring. When I started breeding her to my Goliath, they made the cutest, funniest smartest little kids. Every year I would sell her babies, and it would just break my heart. I don’t know why they seemed to always have boys, but I had never kept any of their kids. She got mastitis, and I got that taken care of. The next year, her mastitis came back. She also had her triplets and about a day later, she passed a little mummy baby. I figured I should retire her.
Then, I realized I was going to have to get rid of my Goliath–he was just too big and playful. Had I known thatI was going to retire her and sell Goliath and gain more land to support my animals, I would have kept their daughter from that last year. I was selfish, and I bred them one last time. I did promise her that she could keep her babies–all of them boys and girls. I had the antibiotics ready to start when the babies were born and keep the mastitis issue minimal. As she got close to her due date (and Goliath had already been sold), she was huge. I was afraid she was going to have four babies again. She was miserable. Her belly would roll and heave. She couldn’t eat or drink for the last few days, and I was about to call the vets. Did I risk her life continuing the pregnancy or risk her babies forcing them to be born early? I agonized, and I already had that horrible guilt for being selfish and wanting to keep their babies.
When I was at work, she went into labor. My mom was there to keep an eye on her, and finally she pulled one kid. When she returned to check on Mabel, he was coming out backwards and was stuck. The vet arrived, and he pulled out a mummy baby and then a little girl. With the dead kid in the middle, the other two couldn’t get moved into position to be born. They were horribly positioned, which is what was preventing Mabel from eating. Mabel drank and drank and ate. She couldn’t raise the babies, but she did somewhat try. She never regained her strength or spirit. I tried cutting fresh grass. I tried hay. I tried goat feed. I tried hand-feeding her. Nothing could spark her interest for more than a day or two. After languishing for three months, she died.
To make it worse, her babies are still here, but I feel guilt every time I look at them. That increases the guilty feelings because they do deserve to be loved. I need to forgive myself so that I can love them and give them the home they deserve. They are cute and sweet, but they are constant reminders of what my selfishness caused.
Had I been able to look into the future, I’d never have bred her that last time. I thought the mummy baby the year before was a fluke–because she’d had four instead of three babies. We had treated the mastitis directly at the source, so I hoped it would not be a problem. It still comes down to being selfish, but Mabel, Flower and Bud are the ones that paid the price for my selfishness.