Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters

We Can Only Do Our Best


As the days get warmer, all the bad that comes along with cold weather disappears.

Slowly but surely.

Day 30: React to this term: Letting Go

forgiveness, letting go, writing, fiction

I find that each time I let something go, I mean really, truly forgive myself and others and move on with my life, there is always another battle up ahead. It’s a constant cycle. Just because I let go of A doesn’t mean that B won’t happen. It’s something that is consistent as change itself… I will always have something I am working toward letting go.

Just like my public apology blog, this one seems almost too personal.

But here are a few things I have officially let go of:

The dream of being an amazing English teacher 

It simply wasn’t for me. I’m okay with that. I didn’t waste four years of my life by going to college. Instead, I had a professor who was a catalyst for my writing, I ruled out teaching as something I no longer had to falsely dream about, and I met some genuine folks who will always be in my life.

People who I thought I knew… much too soon to really know them

I think this is a common human mistake. Love at first sight? Eh… I think it’s more like attraction at first sight, and then if it works out, you can backtrack and call that love. The same goes with people we believe, right away, to be a kindred spirit…a soul mate of sorts. We want someone to understand us. We want someone to look at us and really see us. It just sucks when that belief is dashed before our eyes and we realize that we weren’t seen at all and we didn’t see who the other person was at all, either. That actually takes time and effort and care. It takes courage and honesty. It takes more than a few words shared here and there, that were mostly romantic, idyllic and untrue.

My little chick, Linus. 

I wasn’t sure if I would say anything on here concerning this. But last week I had one of the worst days of my entire life. I mean it, too. I never before understood the tears of someone who just had to put their dog down. I’ve never lost something that caused panic to rise from the depths of my very being, a part of me I didn’t know existed.

It’s how I felt when I realized that I had lost Linus. :( We were putting the four chicks out in the coop during the warmest part of the day (just a few hours) and then taking them back inside for the rest of the time. I sat inside to write, eat, read, etc. I had the day off and things were going great. My word count was stellar. The lunch I made? Superb. I checked on the chicks every twenty minutes or so. Each time they were as content as can be.

Until I walked out and Linus was missing. The other three, John Steinbeck, Ray Bradbury and Mu’reigh, were huddled in the far corner of the coop. The waterer was tipped over. It looked like a crime scene. Only Linus wasn’t there. The corner of the chicken wire had been pushed open by something, a cat we’re guessing, and the biggest, bravest chick of the four was gone. My heart pounded, my adrenaline surged through my entire body. First I moved the three remaining chicks back inside. Then I looked everywhere on our 1/2 acre lot. I mean everywhere. Under rocks. In the trees. In the drain pipe. I was acting like a crazy person. I only realized, hours later, that my left hand had been gripping the front of my forehead/hairline the entire time. I was sweating. I met my neighbors, who saw me crying, when I walked up and down the street, thinking maybe, just maybe, Linus was wandering down the pavement.

It was a sad day, folks. And we never found Linus. 

I cried for three days. It sounds silly. I know. If I read this, I might be skeptical, too. But I have never raised something from day 1 before. I have never held four little babies, kept them alive, made sure they had everything they needed, only for them to be taken and disappear within the twenty minutes I wasn’t watching. I didn’t think the coop we built wasn’t strong enough.

I know it should be looked on positively. That’s what Greg keeps telling me, at least. What if we put all four of them in the coop overnight in two weeks and they all disappeared? That would be worse. I know. I know it would be worse. But my heart still aches for the little chick who probably died a terrible death, filled with fear and worry. Linus was the biggest chick, the one who would run up to my hand when I held it down into their box. He/She (may have been a rooster, we suspect) was the protector. It’s no wonder Linus was the one to get snatched by a greedy hand. He/She was protecting his/her friends. Just the thought is enough to make my eyes well up again. I couldn’t even talk about it for days.

One good thing that came out of this: we got two new baby chicks. 5 is my lucky number. I don’t think it’s a good thing Linus disappeared and I don’t think it was meant to be, but I think that getting two more was a good way to deal with the loss of one.

Another reason why I was so upset about losing Linus is that it brought to mind all of the chickens who suffer so much just for a Happy Meal. Just so that we can eat chicken every day of the week in a million different ways.

My heart aches for the chickens who live in cramped quarters, unsanitary conditions, and can never leave their one foot section of “space.”

I try to let go of that sadness and believe me, it is an every day battle. If I walked around thinking about the animals that are mistreated in the current food system, I’d be in some very consistent and heavy duty therapy.

I have to let it go. I have to, to live a normal life.

The only saving grace, the only thing that makes me feel a little less guilty, is that at least the 2 1/2 weeks that Linus was with us, he/she had space to move, stretch his/her wings and a clean and loving environment. Linus got to hear all of my favorite music. I held him/her all the time.

So here’s to Linus, the bravest chick in the world. (The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown will never be the same.)

chickens, organic, gardening

the last picture taken of Linus

And letting go of things we cannot control.

We can only do our best. 

Love, Lou


Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

7 thoughts on “We Can Only Do Our Best

  1. Letting go is, I find, almost impossible at times. There are things, wrongs done to me, years ago now, that I still cling onto and refuse to relinquish. Perhaps my grip has lessened slightly over the years, and I hope will continue to as the years go by. But to be able to simply let go instead, would be sheer bliss.
    You write beautifully and with such soul and conviction! Thanks for your wonderful writing.

  2. Yes, Linus did have the best (short) life a chick could possibly have. And you will now give the other 5 the best lives any of them could ever have. You are someone who actually takes action to make the world a better place. I love you!

  3. You are just so sweet Melinda. I completely agree with you – Linus had one of the best little lives a little baby chick has ever had. You are a wonderful mom to your babies. I’m so incredibly sorry that you had to go through that. It is one of the worst feelings. Linus knows how much you loved him/her, though. It is a truly wonderful thing that you care so much. The world is a better place because of your care and your love!

  4. Thank you for sharing you story of Linus. I always think it is better to write stuff down, get it out in the open and have the ability to look back on what you wrote. Time will heal your heart and the new little chicks will help!

  5. I’m sorry, friend…that is very sad..

  6. Oh Melinda! My heart broke a little reading this post. I am so sorry you lost your baby chick. I could not even fathom losing Huckleberry. Steven says I love Huck too much and reminds me that he’s just a dog, but I’ve raised and cared for that little living thing since he was 8 weeks old. I get it. And I, like you, have a big heart for the animals treated cruelly in our food industry. It’s sickening. We refuse to buy store bought meat and eggs, but if I allow it to, the realization that that is not enough and that there are sweet, innocents out there suffering so we can be fed will drive me into a downward tailspin of depression (or possibly outrage depending on my mood).

    Thank you for sharing. Linus had such a great life with you two; albeit, short, but a happy and free life nonetheless!

  7. Oh my gosh! That is so sad! And so sweet that he was protecting his family. I’m sorry you couldn’t find him. :( Although maybe it’s a good thing. That might have been more upsetting.

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