Not Logical

In the late 70s there was a song by Supertramp called “The Logical Song”, which I loved.  I sang it over and over because I enjoyed the rhyming scheme of the lyrics and the drama that it served about coming of age, education.  Funny that, at age 14, I thought I knew what made sense where education is concerned.  Also, the notion of logic being a variable seemed perfectly clear to me.

I spend little time thinking about being logical.  When I do, I never can fathom that there is ever any one solution.  I’ve never been one to be sure.  Even if I am passionately for, or against, anything, well, it won’t be long before I’ve argued myself the other way.

About 6 weeks ago I was approached by a stranger where I get my hair trimmed. 

She asked

-“Are you a Virgo?” 

—“No, I’m a Pisces.” 

-“Oh! Do you mind if I share what is coming for you?”

This is not typical.  And if you’re me, it’s not logical.  But maybe it is.  But I don’t really know.

Of course I wanted to hear what she saw in my stars. My lucky stars. She went on about the astrology of it all, which I’ve forgotten, but her main message was that I should be “cleaning my closets, so to speak” in preparation.  I have big change in the year ahead.  And she tapered off as if she had spoken too much.

Based on the inspiration of a star-reading stranger, I’ve spent a lot of energy cleaning my home lately. I overhauled my 27 years of clothing in an upstairs closet, 27 years of fabric and crafts and kids’ art, dried paint, boxes and bubble wrap that had accumulated in the basement, 27 years of crap in the front hallway, and so on.  And there is still plenty to keep working on. I’m trying to get one big thing done a week, in and around everything else that is going on.  My mom loves to come and help me.  She “gifted” me two days in my basement to help. 

Mom likes to take charge of the job. She’s an expert at heaving and ho-ing stuff for the past few years because she and her senior friends take very seriously not leaving the job for their kin to deal with, ‘after they’re gone.’  Mom’s not going anywhere soon, that I know of, because she’s too busy going everywhere and doing everything all of the time.

I think, a little bit, about that stranger.  Who knows what made her want to share with me that fateful, hairdressing day?  The power of suggestion is hard to shake.  Just in case the stars were telling me to prepare, I didn’t think it hurt to try to get my affairs in order. 

When I almost got hit with a pan in the head on Thanksgiving, the first thing I thought was “Phew!  At least I finished cleaning my closet so if I die, no one will shame me for the mess!”

So today, who knows why I took a second and then a third look at the several yards of brightly colored fabric that I’d gotten in South Africa many years ago when I was cleaning the front hallway closet.  I set it aside, as I do when I don’t know what to do with something, and thought “it’s so bright, and beautiful, and it should really be useful and special, not hidden in this closet collecting dust.”

Later this afternoon, I didn’t realize that my vet and I would be wrapping our alpaca, Indy, in that beautiful cloth.  It became his funeral shroud. Beautiful, suited for beautiful Indy.  Colorful, with energy, warmth and interest.  And Indy, the “greeter”, the “Shepherd of the flocks”, just the same. 

When he was stricken with a meningeal parasite infection that spread into his spine and afflicted him with a certain amount of lameness about 2 months ago, I was shocked to see him recover and resume his place in the farmyard, watching over the flock, anointing visitors with curious pecks on their foreheads.  We threw the book at him with anti inflammatories, dewormers, steroids and vitamins.  We watched his nutrition, his exercise, and it was in less than a week that he was back with the sheep and his girl, Olivia.  He steadily strengthened until about 5 days ago when he started to show weakness.

In the past week he’d been less sure-footed, in the past two days he’d taken a few falls and I would have to assist to get him up.  Indy was madder and madder after he’d fall, spittier and spittier when you’d try to help him.

Last night when I finally got him into the stall and tucked in with some sheep companions for the night, I had an anxious feeling.  I re-applied everything in my medicine chest that I knew to give him, hoped by morning he’d be improved.  But he wasn’t. 

I called the vet before they were open, I waited. 

Dr. Kyle and I spent about an hour evaluating him, manipulating his body in different places and applying various pinches to see how his nerve-endings tested.  His back legs weren’t able to support him at all, and though we tried holding him in a standing position, he couldn’t straighten his legs under him, keeping them tucked and cushed as though he were still down. 

An animal that thrives on being with the flock, tending, undergoes a great deal of stress when they are separated.  And a prey animal, dependent on the ability of flight in times of need, undergoes a great deal of stress when it is prone.  To try to rehabilitate Indy would have meant isolation and great amounts of manipulation to help him have ambulatory movement.  I don’t even know if I could have gotten him to that point without having someone here full time to help me try to get him to his feet as often as would be necessary. 

Though my heart is broken right in two, I can’t be sorry that we didn’t do the best that we could do today for Indy.  What a great responsibility, to care for another living being, to make the decisions for life and death.  I’m struck with grief, of course, I always am.  I wasn’t ready for Indy not to be a part of this farm.  He was young. In his prime.  He had a job.  He had a comfortable home. 

But I didn’t want him to suffer, to be an invalid.

Why did he relapse after having improved over 7 weeks? There are probably so many reasons.  It hurts my head to think of all of the logical causes, the simple and complicated answers. It hurts my head. 

Everyone loved Indy.

Doris and all of the sheep loved Indy

Becky & Indy

meet and greet with Indy

meet and greet with Indy

Indy & the lambs did not deny visitors the full treatment

Diana meets Indy

27 responses to “Not Logical

  1. I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart is breaking for your loss. He was very lucky to have you.

    • Aren’t we gonna miss him? The farm greeter. Peppy’s got big shoes to fill. Think of little O every night. Thank you so much, XOXO

  2. “What a great responsibility, to care for another living being, to make the decisions for life and death.” Tammy, it is a responsibility you perform with the utmost compassion and integrity. It cannot be easy. You are in my thoughts and prayers, my sweet friend!! xoxo

    • Gosh, your words are meaningful Cathy. I don’t think about the work having virtues, but you bestow me. Thank you, thank you for being so appreciative. I love what I do, even when it sucks. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers. Love, Tammy

  3. He was a marvelous alpaca. I will miss him next time I am there. Your life is like a priest’s: tending to the congregation, sharing the eucharist of food, and then gently guiding them into the next life and laying them to rest. Sacred work.

    • Thank you, Loretta. I have not thought of what I do as such a reverent position, but I have felt it as a calling. I’m blessed to be able to farm. I wish everyone could be so fortunate to be able to indulge in their passion. Huge gratitude, hugs and next time you’re here, we’ll set you up with a Princess Peppermint parade or something. However, I don’t see her bestowing that little forehead kiss quite so elegantly as Indy.

  4. Ohh Tammy so sorry to hear of your great loss, he was a lucky guy to have lived his life with you on your wonderful farm!

  5. I’m so sorry, Tammy. I just sat here in my morning chair and wept. Thank you for his story.
    Teresa Baker (instamama4)

    • I am sorry, Teresa, for putting you into a sadness. I am half dragging around, but I know that I’ll be more of my old self with time. I’m also aware of catching myself to keep my chin up, especially this time of year when it’s so dark so early, the temps re low, etc.. Got to stay healthy to help everyone else stay healthy. Indy will be in our hearts for ever.

  6. Your Indy had a wonderful life on your farm. Purpose, position, love, tender care, nutrition, shelter, comfort and care!! All his many admirers, fellow pasture mates and humans! I agree it’s not logical yet maybe it is in nature!! I will remember him fondly, as the watcher , protecting his clan, and beautifully shrouded!!
    Whatever life brings I know you will be busy loving, caring and providing for your wonderful family and farm. May you find your Peace kind Shepherdess!

    • Thank you, Carrie. So sweet to hear from you, and yes, I will also remember him as the watcher. XO

  7. This is tragic. I am sorry for Indy, for you. Tammy, for your family and for the people who knew Indy. Having had him as an addition to your family must have been a real treat. Now he is without pain.

    • Thank you, Cheryl. It has felt tragic. In time it will soften and though we are none of us able to play God, we do our best. I think that I did my best that I could this week. And I hope to learn, always learn, to improve on my farming and caregiving. Thanks so much.

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss. It must be heartbreaking to see an animal you love go through such a debilitating illness. You loved him and gave him a good life. Rest in peace, Indy <3

  9. I can only imagine that the spirit and energy woven into the colorful South African cloth remained to cloak Indy in dazzling love and comfort. A great way to quietly celebrate his life!

  10. Dearest Tammy,
    I am just now reading about your beloved Indy. My heart is breaking and I am crying uncontrollably as I envision what you went thru during the days and nights leading up to Indy’s passing. I know, first-hand, how it feels to unconditionally love your animal(s) and to feel that love in return. I am so very sorry that you had to let Indy go and I hope that your heartache is soon replaced with peace and contentment from the many wonderful memories of the precious times you spent together. Take good care. Loving hugs, Audrey. xo

    • Thank you, Audrey. Today is 8 days after I put him down, I am going to plant a tree on his grave in the spring. It does indeed hurt. I couldn’t imagine him suffering, though. Life is full of hard decisions, but we can’t not let love in to avoid them. Thank you for the sweet, sweet note. Hugs,

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