Last night was very sad. We rushed home only to find that Norma Jean had passed away sometime during the day. I feared that very result, but the reality was no easier to deal with than the thoughts I'd been plagued with all day.
First, we felt guilty for not having done more. I should have called in sick to work. I should have boxed her up and taken her with me. I should have done something.
Then we felt hopeless. What went wrong? Why was she sick? What happened to that healthy girl?
And, of course, all of this brought about doubt. What are we doing trying to raise chickens? If the death of one animal is this painful, how will we manage having a farm full of animals? When it comes time to slaughter our own for meat, will we be capable?
Today is New Year's Eve. 2009 is ending, and another year beckons. I can't say that I'm in the mood for celebrating or making resolutions, but one thing is clear. Norma Jean will be greatly missed.