Sweet Dreams, Francis…

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Saying goodbye to a dear friend is never easy.  Francis was one half of our first pair of ducks, Gene and Francis.   We purchased this beautiful pair of Khaki Campbell ducks in March of 2014.  March 3 would have been her 4th birthday. She was one of my favorites of the flock.  Francis had a silent strength about her and was a gentle leader.

Yesterday, we found Francis, still in her duck house, unable to walk. Her beak opened to say hello, but not even a simple quack could be released.  She had no sign of injury, which told me it was just her time.  As I gently scooped her up, I noticed she had trouble keeping her eyes open and her heart rate was extremely slow.  Cradled in my arms, I carried her to the barn and into the second stall.  (We keep the middle stall open for many purposes throughout the year.)  Wifey immediately hooked up a heat lamp and we created a soft bed of straw in the corner, leaving food and water very close.  We wanted Francis to have everything she needed without effort.

As she slept in my arms, I said my goodbyes, thanking her for her hard work and beautiful eggs.  Her time was very near…  She struggled to keep her eyes open and was ready to sleep. I placed her in the shallow nest of fresh straw, as tears filled my eyes. She nestled her beak into her wing and slept, under the warm, radiant light.  She had everything she needed to rest peacefully…

When we returned to the barn last night, Francis had passed.  She had moved over, just enough to be directly under the warmth of the light.  Her neck was gently curved, with her beak tucked unto her feathers.  She had passed peacefully…

As difficult as it was, I knew I had to bury her.  The sky was draped with darkness and the wind chilled my face, as I walked out to the berm, lined with towering pine trees.  The ground would soon freeze, so I was thankful to be able to still work the earth. By the light of my flashlight, I placed some straw in the bottom of the hole and a few dried wildflowers that had not been taken by Mother Nature’s winds.   It was time…

As my tears dropped into the rich soil, I gently lowered Francis into the hole and said my last goodbyes.  I was filled with warmth and gratitude, for Francis did not suffer and she lived such a beautiful life.  As I finished moving the soil with my hands, to fill the hole, I remembered the Spring bulbs still in the garage.  I was thankful I had not found the time to plant them.  I now had the perfect spot…

Goodbye, my sweet Francis. You are loved…

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Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

♥Roda