I’ve put off this post for one week now – partly because I just didn’t want to write it and partly because I couldn’t. Every time I got started, I ended up too sad to finish. We lost our little Oreo, and it’s been a total heartbreak. I would have never thought I’d be so upset over the loss of a chicken, but I am.
John and I were having breakfast last Saturday. We lost track of time, and he had to race out to pick up Cooper. He forgot to put her back in her coop, and I forgot about her too. It’s terrible. Before breakfast, I had been laughing and taking pictures of her perched on the windowsill, then I was even outside on the patio petting her. But I cleaned up the dishes and went about my morning without thinking twice. Not much more than an hour could have passed before I noticed that the door to her coop was still open, but she was already gone.
So began the first stage of grief – denial. We saw two hawks circling overhead; John knew, but I denied. I didn’t see any signs of a struggle when searching the yard. She had sneaked in the house under Luke’s hind legs the day before, and when John scooped her up off the tile, she lost at least five feathers. Why wouldn’t there be feathers anywhere? It didn’t add up in my mind – no feathers, no squawking, she’s got to be okay.
It was possible she had wandered off, so we walked the neighborhood yelling and clucking, “Oreo, chick-a-chick-a-chick-a.” We let Luke run wild in the hopes she would spring out from under a bush at the sight of him, but she didn’t. The final hope was that she’d find her way back to her coop before nightfall.
When she wasn’t there the next morning, I knew too…except that denial was still lingering. On Sunday afternoon, John and I were on different ends of the house but both ended up on the back patio shouting Oreo again. We were sure we had heard her, but we hadn’t. Denial was replaced with sadness again.
We didn’t even have Oreo two months, but it’s hard to look at her empty coop through the window. I was sweeping the floor and found a feather; I couldn’t bear to sweep it out the door with the dirt, so I saved it. Oreo had become part of our family. She was a regular on Skype with Aunt Tracey, whose little girl’s lead-in had become putting her own butt up to the camera and shouting, “chicken butt!” Adorable and funny…just like our Oreo. Here are a few things I never got the chance to post:
And the photos from her last morning with us…
We’ll miss you, Oreo.