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Living Within the Circle of Life

Every living and breathing thing is somewhere within the circle of life. No matter what we do, we are going to take our 1st breath and we're going to take our last. It is what we do in between that makes the difference. I see the circle of life around me constantly. Calving season usually gets me thinking more about the balance that we all continually work in life. The fight between hardship and survival and enjoying the ride.

Life is work. Whether you are a new calf being born on a subzero night, struggling to take its first breath or a 98 year old man on a bright sunny afternoon wondering how many days you have like this left. We are never promised a life of ease. You could have everything that you could possibly need and everyone looking in on your life thinking you have it all. But, there will be always something that is eating at you and\ or trying to take away what you have. We struggle day in and day out but how we embrace the struggle determines how we learn to adapt. Attitude defines how we are going to handle the individual struggles that occur and how we look at life.

In my life I have taken on the roles of animal steward, hospice nurse and mother. Each of these

roles are intimately intertwined with the circle of life. I have helped bring calves into this world and prayed that they take their first breath. Many times they have not and then attention turns to the cow and making sure her life is being saved. We pray and work at making sure that she lives for she is playing a role in the next generation and ensures that we will continue on. We work through cold and heat to ensure the animals have what they need. If we don't take care of them, they are unable to take care of us. Nothing comes easy for man or beast. We are at the mercy of the weather, disasters, or simple bad luck. I try not to take for granted the simple breath of a calf or good fortune of getting through the year without something disastrous happening to members of the herd or family.

I have stood next to an old mare that my heart loves so much, praying that I never have to make the decision to ease suffering. I pray that the good Lord will help me make that decision and that God's will be done. Tears rolling down my face into her soft coat the entire time I'm thinking how tough that

goodbye is going to be. Would I exchange the pain of goodbye for the nearly 20 years I got to spend with her? Again I was living the circle of life and I wouldn't trade a minute for she was a huge part of my life and helped shaped who I am today.

I have aided many families through goodbyes. I have had patients as young as 2 months and as old at 102 struggle through days and the goodbye. I have also had loss in my family where the work of saying goodbye was at hand. I always depended on how people took the experience, dealt with it and embraced it on how I needed to handle a situation and how the story would end. Death is a part of life and it's unavoidable but the beauty that can come from death if embraced can be something to cherish. Every story is different but my goal with families was always to have no

regrets. Helping them say what needed to be said before it was to late, to give family a peace of mind that the suffering and the pain was eased as much as requested or able, and allow them to come together as they needed to provide support. Depending on whether the family was prepared and how they saw the circle of life played a large part of how the circle would play out. Some ended in being united, stronger, and had a beautiful understanding that the end was only a new beginning. Some fell into denial, misunderstanding and at times hatred toward those that held the material items closer than the circle of life. Again life is work right to the end but there is also beauty to be seen.

I have given birth twice. Each time it was a complete workout in the circle of life. The struggle of even the promise of parenthood for both my husband and I was real. Through trying and failing was a test of our beliefs and our strength to struggle on. The struggle of bringing a child into this world while continuing to meet daily demands was real. Making plans, having them turned upside down and learning to adapt was real.

Parenthood never has been easy and never was it promised to be easy. But did we know the joy that we would experience from raising the next generation, the belief that we have some backup on getting it right and prayer that we have that they will one day make a difference? These are reasons I'm not willing to throw it all away and enjoy what life hands us.

Now you might think what does this have to do with CHB and soap. CHB is just a part of my circle of life. It's actually one of the smallest part of my life but it has helped me embrace my journey and helped give me direction. It reminds me that life is what we make it. I could focus on all the negative that this world has to offer but CHB i s a company of simple pleasures and hard work. These are two qualities that have been handed down through animal stewardship, motherhood, and an intimate relationship with death. Had my grandparents and parents given up through the depression, through the wars, and through personal struggles I wouldn't be here today and I wouldn't have learned that life is short and sweet. You have to embrace the circle of life and live! Live with struggle but also find the simple joys of what each day can bring. Something as simple as a pretty bar of soap.

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