This post is part of a series about how Pearl has coped with the death of her best friend, Blanche. Grieving a death or any other painful event is never easy, but maybe Pearl’s experiences will help.
“Why do you love Gracie so much?” Pearl asked me early one evening.
“I love all you girls with all my heart. You are all my chickens.”
“I know, but there is something special about Gracie. Your voice is different with her. So is the way you move.”
These are things I had not noticed about myself. Pearl could be silly, but she is a serious observer, just as all comedians are.
“Maybe it’s not a matter of more or less. Maybe it’s in different ways. I am growing to love you the same way I love Gracie.”
“Why is that? What is her trick? What did she do to make you love her so much in a different way? I want to know. Does she tell better jokes than me? I’ve never heard her tell any jokes. Not a single joke ever. Or wear any silly hats? She doesn’t even do that.”
It was difficult for me to tell if she was jealous or angry or simply curious. Maybe her heart was desperate for answers, any answers, since there seemed to be no answer to her most important question. Why has Blanche died and gone away?
“I will tell you what you and Gracie share in common, and that may help you understand. I hope so. It’s not easy to explain any other way.”
Pearl moved closer to hear better.
“I love Gracie the way that I do because she has always had that lump on her side, almost from the time she hatched. It is something she has had to live with. It keeps her from doing some of the things she wants to do. You might call it a wound to her body.
“Gracie loves every minute of her life even though her wound reminds her of unpleasant things.”
Pearl stayed quiet, thinking this through. She needed something to fill the ache in her heart, and maybe more love could do it.
“It is like what happened to Bessie. Remember the day when I was away, and she defended all of you against the stray cat? Her comb grew crooked and floppy afterwards.
“Some people would say it makes her undesirable, flawed, and even ugly. When I look at her, I only see what a brave girl she is and how much she loves all of you.”
Pearl grew restless.
“I don’t understand how any of that makes me like them,” Pearl protested.
“I don’t have a lump on my side. My comb stands tall and straight. It is as red as my feathers are white. I’m a practically perfect little hen. You have just as much said so yourself before.”
“Yes, I know. But when Blanche died, that was like a wound to your heart. No one can see your wound, but it’s there, and it hurts nonetheless. You are learning to keep going even though the scar on your heart reminds you of unpleasant things.”
Pearl stopped her nervous head-bobbing and pacing. She looked down at her breast. She saw the pure white feathers on the outside. She felt her broken heart on the inside, but it didn’t scare her any more.
This is the second of four posts which tell about Pearl and her grieving process. You may wish to read the next post in this series.
Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!