We named her Fate…
We named her Fate, because fate is what brought us together on that bitterly cold night, almost stumbling over her as we did. For a step to either our right or left would have meant our torch light would have not found her, and that the night would have claimed her. But that was not to be, for it was our hearts that quickly did.
It was a place that kindness had forgotten, a place we both would otherwise have not been had fate not wanted us to find the other, as we surely did. And so, we assumed, with the greatest of positivity, that it was meant to be, and that with our destinies so aligned through her surrender and an act of synchronicity, the outcome would be good for the up-until-then luckless and heavily pregnant ewe.
But alas, as history and heartbreak has shown, it was not – for fate, well, she had other plans.
And although Fate initially showed signs of rallying in our care, her hugely displaced abdomen spoke of a more sinister happening that lurked beneath her wool-bare and bruised skin – a massive hernia that would compromise not only the health of her critically emaciated body and almost broken spirit, but that too of her unborn babe. Piecing together her tragic past, by circumstance and injury, we gleaned that the parasite-riddled and non-ambulatory Fate had been moved, in the absence of good thought, to an area where she had inadvertently and repeatedly been trampled by several heavy-hooved cows, steers and even a bull.
In the days that followed Fate’s rescue, the cruellest of twists was to play out before our ever-vigilant eyes and soon-to-be broken hearts, as it became clear that Fate could not surmount the terrible odds that she had been dealt. All of which left us with no other just course of action than to surrender and accept that our kindness had come too late. But there was just one last thing to do, and that was to try and save Fate’s baby, for maybe this, we mused, was the reason Fate was sent our way – for her baby to find sanctuary.
But no, this too was not to be. And as we laid the tiny, lifeless and oh-so-perfect stillborn lamb, whom we named Fateful, gently between her now-at-peace mumma’s front legs – their tender embrace was so serene, yet heart-wrenching, saltwater welled in our eyes, matched only by the huge lump in our throats. And again, we struggled to make sense of it all. But there was none to be made. Not then anyway. It wasn’t the time, for we needed our grief.
In moving beyond that grief as we now have, consigning it to the past where lies those painful days of Fate and her baby’s suffering, we shall not let this consume us, for it has no right to do so – our energies and hearts are needed elsewhere. And although the memories of Fate and Fateful are short and few, they will never, ever, escape us as we now search for that deeper meaning to their being.
And that is this: life is not always fair, and although sometimes, try as we might, we may never fully understand why things happen, it is our response to this that matters: that we can walk away, leaving the hurt, heartache and old emotions behind, replacing them with a new-found or increased sense of purpose. To accept what we cannot change and to work, “come hell or high water” to change what we can. To cherish life, all life, not only ours but that of others, be the holder of that life human or non-human.
We too can recognise that in tragedy comes unique opportunities. We don’t always have to understand what happens in life, for in that void of unknowing there are no breaks upon expanding our knowledge. Instead, in that space there exists an open invitation to learn, explore and be more compassionate human beings. And although we struggle beyond measure to comprehend how a heart could have become so hardened that they allowed this to happen to Fate on their watch, we have pause to reflect just what happened to them for this to be so.
And we know too that although all must be accountable for their actions, in meting out shame and anger, dialogue is severed, and no one will ever we reached. Holding firm as we do to the belief in the goodness of the human heart, we seek to find common ground. We trust that on some level a seed may be sown and through compassion showered upon this thorn of humanity that, with forgiveness, it may one day become a brilliant rose.
And to dearest Fate, we are humbled by and grateful for your knowing, and for the opportunities you gave us. And whilst we are so so sorry beyond any measure you will never live those promises we made, you have made us more mindful human beings as we surrender to the majesty of the world and all she sends our way as we recognise our place in it – and that is to serve. To serve in a world that is not always what it should be, but with our help it can.
Thank you Fate, in gratitude,