Maybe I should back up a little bit. We first acquired chickens way back in 2001, when esposo's mother wanted to find a home for her four (one rooster, Poppy, and three hens). Those four had a clutch of eggs, which would become our first babies. Penguin, Frank, and Peety were in this group. It was really interesting, as I had never kept chickens before, to see how different each one's personality was (yes, chickens do have personalities!). Penguin was very stand-offish, yet proud and caring of "his girls." Frankie, on the other hand, was a wonderful companion, more like a flying dog than a chicken, who would come when you called him and sit on my shoulder and sing. He, like Peet-Peet, would frequently sit in my lap in the sunshine and fall asleep. Frank was so mellow that you could tug at his wattles and kiss him on the beak, he would never so much as consider pecking you. He loved to have his back and neck scratched, just between the shoulder blades, and he would "bop-bop-bop-bop" when he was happy. I loved them all dearly.
When we moved from San Antonio to Ciudad Colon, the first thing we did was have a chicken coop built for the chickens. Then we moved again, and again had another coop built and took the chickens with us. Along the way here, we acquired other chickens, including Arnaux and Nikita, and gave some away to friends. But the original group always remained with us. I would not give Frankie and his siblings away. And Princesa Morgana was so sweet, I was determined to keep her as well. So they moved with us yet again to yet another house, but by this time we had also acquired the Numi Monster. After she killed both of our rabbits, I didn't want to take the chance that something might happen to our beloved chickens, especially Frankie. So I sadly sent them to live at my mother-in-law's house, where I knew, at least, they would be safe and taken care of. I missed them, but I knew they were in good hands.
Then my MIL made the incredible decision to get rid of all of the chickens without consulting esposo or myself. When we found out she had taken them to esposo's cousin, we were not happy about it, but she assured us they wouldn't eat them, they had a coop, etc. Then a few weeks ago, esposo's cousin's husband made that stupid remark above, and we insisted that MIL go get them and bring them back to her house. Then MIL got sick, with a sickness we all had that leaves one lying in bed for days on end. Finally, she went this past weekend to pick up the chickens, and was told something got into the coop and killed them all. Personally, I find it very hard to believe; I think they probably met a more untoward final exit, and you can guess what that might be without me having to type it out. But at this point, it doesn't matter that much, since they are gone and nothing will bring them back. Last night I went through all of the emotions one associates with loss -- anguish, anger, sadness, guilt (at myself for having let them go, mostly), but most of all, deep, profound sadness. I can't even give them a proper burial.
What bothers me most is that a couple of weeks ago, we were going to go up and visit them, because I really felt like I needed to see Frankie to see how he was doing. The stupid Haunted Hyundai wasn't running well, and you know what happened the last time we drove it to Poas. So we decided against taking the risk, and now I never had the chance to say goodbye. The last time I saw him was at esposo's mother's house a few months back. He was happy, scratching around in the yard, lying in the sun in the dirt. I gave him a kiss goodbye then, but I never could have dreamed it would be the last time I'd see him.
The one consolation I have is that, unlike the Catholics, I do believe all animals have souls and we all end up at the same place. So I'll be seeing them again someday. And at least they're all together, where nothing else can hurt them. I'm still so sad, though, so sad.
Me and Peet-Peet
My main man Frankie
Baby Kelly and mom Princesa Morgana
Penguin the Proud
The chickens during happier days in San Antonio