Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Dead Fawn on the Lawn

I woke up this morning with a mental picture of the moment the doctor handed me my newborn son.

The wonder that after a dark-haired little girl who looked so much like her father, I had produced an unexpected son who looked instead like me with light hair and blue eyes. I was thunderstruck in that I had no idea how to be a little boy's mother, and realized even then that his father would be no help.

Then I was fully awake with the realization yet again that my beautiful boy is gone. Before I even threw back the covers, I had to pray and admit once again that I don't understand why this is how our lives had to be.

I turned on the coffee pot, fed the cat, and once coffee was made went to the front porch to enjoy it and wake up in the quiet, cool air, and hopefully regain my equilibrium for the day.

That wasn't to be.

In the center of the front yard was a dead fawn, a gaping wound of red meat, delicate legs splayed, the spots in its back letting me know without going any closer what I had to deal with.

Thanks, dogs.

Even before I went out to clean up the carcass, I knew it was roadkill. My dogs are too well fed and lazy to actually hunt and kill any real prey, and fawns are generally safe despite the tremendous number of deer in my neighborhood. When I got near with a garbage bag in hand, I wasn't disappointed to find the tiny back legs shattered with bones protruding through the skin. I wrestled the surprisingly heavy little body into the bag, discovering that the dogs had hid the worst of the wounds in their placement, and removed it from my yard.

But my memories and the fawn were linked. My emptiness and lack of understanding had found a soul mate in a doe sleeping alone somewhere. My morning was ruined.

I carried the bad feeling with me to church where I clutched a tissue and tried to avoid looking like a raccoon, although I didn't realize for a while that the two had been linked and that I was crying for Ethan and for a baby deer that I would have been willing to eat had it grown.

I was sad for another mother I met a few days ago who was in the same place I was in December, struggling to adjust to the reality that her troubled son had been found dead. I never knew her son, never met her before, but I know I was the only person in the room that understood exactly what she felt.

We're bound together in heartache and a loneliness in our hearts that we will never get over or come to terms with. Our loss is so senseless, so beyond our comprehension, so life shattering that even while we go on we know we'll never be back to who we were before.

Right now, the lonely doe is part of our misery, but I envy her.

Her life is short, even if she survives traffic and hunter's guns.

Her memory is even shorter. She won't look at other fawns and think of her own. She won't stand alone in a meadow and miss the flicking tail of her fawn as it nurses in the evening air.

Next year she'll have another baby, and it will replace the one that was torn from her side as though the dead deer on my lawn had never existed.

For her the circle of life will go on.

For me, it's the circle of grief bottoming out one more time in a process that I expect to repeat itself for the rest of my life.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss and can not even imagine how acutely you must feel it. I've known many grieving parents and don't think there is anything more difficult. Holding you in the light....and sending blessings.

    1. Thank you. The lows aren't generally as low or as long as they were a few months ago, but they still blindside me sometimes.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss, and for this painful reminder. I hope you'll find peace somehow.

    1. Thank you. Most days are better. I was due a rough day.

  3. Replies
    1. I still think of the deer and that despite our human intelligence, I'm no better at getting my head around what happened to my child than she is. I know I will think of that mother-offspring bond a bit more in the coming days.

  4. This makes my heart ache, reminders of our grief are everywhere and can bring back the memories at a moments notice. xxx

    1. I literally clean up road kill all the time. You'd think my dogs were unfed and there was even a stillborn calf earlier this year, but the fawn got me. I think I was due, plus the memories and having seen a mother and baby deer behind my house a few weeks ago. But I was surprised at how long it troubled me. Still, we move on. A little blog therapy, a little sangria, a good night's sleep and I'm much better.

  5. You're right. There are times when I envy those 'less thinking' creatures who share our world.