I thought I would feel differently. I thought I would never want another pig. The day before yesterday they took my pig to slaughter. We had a trial run the day before that, with Hen Wen (named after the Lloyd Alexander character) examining the truck, walking down to the ramp munching the lawn and tasty bits until everyone conveniently decided she would not take the leap into the truck and they would return again another day.
It’s been a long road for me reconciling the slaughtering of a beloved barnyard creature. I kept feeling I might keep her, have her bred and therefore; postpone the experience for her piglets. I know my vegetarian friends would argue why did I even have to make the decision, and some health conscious foodies might claim pork is not very healthy for you anyway, but the truth of the matter is she ate well, lived a good life surrounded by love, and we bought her with the intention of developing a food source for us as sustainable farmers. I have type “O” blood. My body does better with a high protein diet. I know that eating meat keeps me healthier. It’s a catch 22. I love my animals, I need to eat them.
I came home late the day they came to load Hen. The farm is now quiet. She does not complain that she needs her scoop of corn first. I miss my friend. After two days I know I want another pig.
I’ve been reading, The Shack for school. It’s a story about a man who needs to find love after the death of his child. He finds God (literally) and has long conversations about love and relationships. It’s a wonderful book, so I won’t say anymore. But it leads me to wonder, would anyone trade the life we live, if we knew it was going to be snatched away from us? And yet, the end is inevitable. We will someday all be gone from this world.
It is a question of faith for me. I believe that we all are SOUL and that the body is NOT US. We exist beyond our death. The last time I saw Hen I whispered to her, “Hurry back.” I couldn’t help myself. It was the only thing I could say that felt right. I said it even though I was thinking I would never buy another pig. I was not really built for this kind of experience. How can I love and kill that which I love?
Today I’ve decided that the joy we will share will be worth the small price at the end of the road. Ultimately, the joy is much stronger than any loss or pain. I say small not because I think the cost of her life was a small thing. It was a great sacrifice. I say it because the love outshines the pain a thousandfold. Today I am calling the pig breeder to see if he has any piglets coming soon. I think I will pick the pinkest pig, but probably more likely I will pick the one who has some strange sense that she knows me.
I can’t say I have truly reconciled the slaughtering of a beloved barnyard creature. But I am coming closer to it. When the pork comes home in freezer packages, I will have to eat it to honor the life we shared. It oddly feels sacrilegious, not to. Perhaps next year, I will be able to perform a sacred slaughter. This time I am glad it’s just the silence I hear. And it makes me want to go shopping for piglets.