Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Heartbreak Ahead

I've been crying all morning.

I just can't put it off and avoid thinking about it any longer. Today I have to gather up all the paperwork for Char and Scylla and write up a sales contract for the Trading-Horses-For-Sheep deal.

Char and Scylla's new owner, David, is already on the road, driving here from Wisconsin with a trailer full of sheep. He'll arrive sometime tomorrow, drop off the sheep, and the next morning he'll leave for home, taking Char and Scylla with him. After that, it's very likely I will never see my Char-char again.

This is a really good trade for both of us. David is getting a couple of gorgeous, high-quality horses, and I'm getting a group of gorgeous, high-quality sheep. The only trouble is, I LOVE those horses, and he LOVES those sheep, so even though we know it's a great trade, we're both going to be really sad about it at the same time that we're excited.

This whole time I've been working out the details of the trade, I've been able to concentrate on the facts: Adding the new sheep to my flock is an excellent business decision. Value-for-value, if I count the lambs that the bred ewes will have in a few months, I'm getting more in "sheep" currency than I could sell the mares for in cash right now. The sheep will eat less hay than the horses, so we'll save money there. And I know that David will give the mares a fantastic home where they can be very happy.

I know all those facts. I've been clinging to them for weeks. I've been able to go about my life, do the chores, spend time petting and talking to Char and Scylla, and I've been pretty much okay.

But today, every time I so much as look out the window and see one of them, I start crying. It's a beautiful day out, warm and sunny. It would be an ideal day to go out and spend one last day playing with Char before I have to say goodbye. But I can't bear it. I can't stand to spend time cementing that bond we have, only to have to break it forever tomorrow.

(Sheesh, now I'm crying again, just writing about it. Part of me feels stupid for getting this worked up about a horse---I'm a grown woman, for Pete's sake. I made an excellent business deal that will help our farm. So shut up and stop crying about it, already!)

It would make it easier, I think, if parting with Char and Scylla was the magic sacrifice that would instantly cure all of our endless worries about money. But that's not the case. On Friday morning, they'll leave here, and on Friday afternoon, we're still going to be wondering how to pay our electricity bill and how to stretch the last of Ken's paycheck until the next one arrives.

That's not NEW, of course, we've been in that situation for months now. It just makes it harder to think that parting with Char and Scylla makes no difference in our situation at all. It makes it feel like they were never here or that my sacrifice doesn't matter.

I know that's not really true. Parting with Char and Scylla will help our finances in several ways. It's just that those ways are more gradual: saving money through decreased hay usage (using 1 fewer bale per day at $7 a bale saves us more than $2500 in a year) and earning more money through increased sheep sales later this summer (the lambs those new sheep produce in the spring should sell for about $6500 by fall).

But those are not quick fixes that my heart can latch onto. The heart is all about the NOW. No matter what the mind knows, the heart is never content to trade sorrow today for some distant future reward, because today is all the heart knows.

The only way the heart can find solace is to turn to some greater love. For me it is this: Even more than I love my beautiful Char-char, I love my farm and I love my husband. Our financial situation has been very hard on both of them, and this sacrifice will help ease the burden.

And that is how I am able to do this with a willing (although sorrowful) heart.


QuiltedSimple said...

It will be hard, but eventually, it will all turn out well in the end. You also have the comfort of knowing they are going to a good home. Decisions like this are tough, but for the better good sometimes necessary. I feel for you, knowing how hard it is to part with a good animal friend in times that you have too. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

They aren't lumps of clay. They are living sentient creatures with whom you've built a bond. I'm sorry for your hurt. I understand loss. Sending you hugs.