I called my daughter to ask her what was wrong because her texts had not been “quite” right. Blubbering with sorrow, she told me that Phyllis had been carried off in the night and was surely dead. Through tears and sniffles, she said that the worst part was imagining Phyllis’s horrible death and the fear she must have felt.
Ah, you might think her grief was for the death of a relative or a victim of the atrocities of war taking a human toll in Ukraine. And you would be right to think that. I wake up every morning to the news, conjuring up such horrible visions in my head.
But no, this wasn’t about that.
Phyllis was my daughter’s pet chicken. Before you sigh, let me say that while a chicken is hardly a human casualty, like those reported daily in the news, love and anguish has room for all the life that we hold dear. My daughter raised Phyllis and Isabelle, two bantam chickens–one silky, one curly–from the time they were chicks. She has had them a decade or more. They sat on her lap, followed her around the yard and, for several years, laid tiny little chicken eggs.
Now Isabelle, somewhat demented, roams around lost without Phyllis. We have to keep her inside the house in a crate at night to keep her warm. She has lost her ability to be a chicken without Phyllis.
Winter is coming and the people of Ukraine, the Syrians still in camps, and the rest of suffering humanity awaits the cold and prays for a warm bed to sleep in and an end to the rain of death that has become part of their daily existence.
I can feel my daughter’s sadness over the loss of Phyllis.
I hope the world can feel the pain of those who need our help.