this thanksgiving season has been full and whole.
i got back from the grocery store earlier this week and peeked in the backyard. before my mind registered it all, i heard my voice saying, “oh no, oh no, oh no…”
sure enough, our sweet white silkie chicken was dead on top of the compost pile. upon closer inspection, this chicken friend of ours had been attacked by something and was already stiff.
eliza, my dear child full of goofy jokes and one to avoid hugs, knows how to grieve. like women in documentaries, she wails. micah had his school friends over for a birthday party and they parted for her to walk through. she wailed and walked with her head up from the van towards the pile.
friends came over to say their own goodbyes. snow was a loved chicken.
we all feel equally sad for snow’s surviving partner, chubby. chubby and snow were always side by side. many times since, the kids have wondered if chubby saw snow get attacked. they assume so.
sweet snow was buried that night and after a trip to the antique mall for a milk glass chicken, a memory shrine was set up.
i’m grateful for my kids’ recent experience with dia de los muertos, which made this altar immediately familiar. our dear friends had a gathering of people who all brought things for a huge altar they had set up.
we took ketchup for grandpa guenther, wheat for grandpa epp, summer savory for grandma epp, lemon drops for grandma franz, an old penny for grandpa franz, an apple for our miscarried baby, poppy seeds for aunt heather, resees peanut butter cup for uncle chuck, a glass pig for great aunt emma, rabbit food for the lost rabbits…bread and flowers and candles for all.
complete with face painting, candles, amazing food and a parade downtown.
then last sunday was youth sunday at our church. micah and naomi are both part of the youth group. the theme chosen was “what we don’t want to take to heaven.”
again, a holy opportunity to consider what should be let go of now knowing we won’t be here forever.
everyone was invited to write those things down and bring them to burn.
while i am deeply grateful for the abundance, i am equally grateful for a whole life and children who show us the way to that.