Dead and gone, lady

Today an era came to an end. The last of Eve’s daughters, and her daughters’ daughters died.
Eve was my first ever sheep – born 18 years ago, a lamb rejected by her mother, who survived many lambhood illnesses to live to ten years old and die surrounded by her flock. I kept her first ewe lamb to be her friend and companion, and she was called Polly Esther. Polly moved here with her daughters Cotton Wool and Cassandra, and last year Cotton got cast in the field and died. This year, I came home one day to find that Cassie could not stand. There followed an emergency call-out of the vet, followed by treatment and hope, always the most painful aspect of serious illness.
Cassie improved, but her back legs remained unable to support her weight. She stayed in a small pen eating hay and comforted by the presence of her foster-lamb Martha. Then on Saturday I found Polly in the field, unable to stand. I will cut the miserable business short. Today the swift merciful end had to be ordered. The last of Eve’s line ended.
But I still have Martha – who is baaing inconsolably for her mother. She cannot be let out yet for fear she wriggles under the fence to seek for her Mum. Death never seems to get easier. All around me are healthy sheep, and the two Martha and I want are dead and gone, lady, dead and gone.
But in the countryside, death is never the end of the story. Presently the shepherd will arrive with another ewe lamb, probably one that has been bottle-fed and is tame, and she will become a companion and playmate for Martha.

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