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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lessons of Life & Death on the Farm

A new baby will be arriving on the farm in 4 weeks or so.
No, it's not a calf or another animal but our baby girl.
The time has flown but yet I am so, so ready (physically, not mentally).
During the entire pregnancy, I have thought of things I want her to learn, know, do and be a part of.

Father's Day is soon and there have been plenty of advertisements to remind us of that.
This year will be the last year we don't celebrate Father's Day.
With both of our dad's gone to heaven above we don't celebrate,
but with the little one on the way, we will next year!

Here is an article I recently wrote for Farm Indiana.
There are lessons I want my daughter to know and it's about the two grandfather's she will know of
but will never meet until she gets to heaven.


I am sure I have written about this before but now that we are about to welcome our first baby into the world, I have been thinking about it more often.  
I have been thinking of things I want to tell her and stories I need to share. 

Our daughter will be a part of two farm families that have been around for generations.  She will understand the seasons at an early age and how much Mother Nature is a part of our lives.  She will run around in the dirt that will produce a crop that will help feed a growing world and sustain our family farms.  And our daughter will know a lot about life and death at an early age, just as I did. 

I have been a part of many celebrations in my life—birthdays, weddings, graduations, welcoming life into this world, career successes, sharing love, laughter and accomplishments 
with friends and family and finding the love of my life. 

However, I have also been a part of a lot of negative things and death.  I was in preschool when my paternal grandfather collapsed at the county fair surrounded by family and friends and was rushed to the hospital.  I remember the chaos of the day, the days that followed, and I vividly remember his funeral.  My great cousin was playing the piano at the end of the service when I turned to look at my dad and he was crying.  My maternal grandfather passed when I was a sophomore in high school.  My mom took me to the nursing home to see him often, and I would sit in his room while she talked to the nurses.  Grandpa was a firm believer in education and being involved in your community.  So as I watched him wilt away from this earthly life, I studied my vocabulary words and planned student council activities.  At the funeral, I saw my dad cry again. 

I only saw my dad cry a handful of times in his life; at those funerals and a few times during sports movies and westerns.  I also saw him laugh a lot and celebrate with family and friends.  When he died, I cried but I also celebrated because that is what he always taught me to do.  There were signs that came in the weeks after his death that made me realize his life was worth celebrating and laughing at even after death. 

Our daughter will never know her grandfathers, maternal and paternal, as they have both have gone to heaven above.  My dad and my husband’s father died on their farms, where they worked and lived--a place they called home. 

However, our daughter will know them by the stories we tell and the lessons we teach her.  One of our family beliefs is that “God will take you when he wants you” and really there is nothing you can do about it. 

At a young age, she will understand that sometimes baby calves die of complications or you have to end your animals’ lives to prevent them from suffering more than they have to.  I learned at a very young age on the farm that the killing and caring of your own animals makes you more connected to life.
You understand life and death better when you are living it every day. 

I hope my daughter lives a long, happy and prosperous life.  I hope she understands just how precious it is and how quickly it can be taken away.  I hope she sees us cry some and laugh a lot on our farm where we live and work and stay connected to life and death.  It’s a wonderful lesson we learned from our fathers on our farms.

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