Healing 2 minutes at a time

It’s not about the chicks…

YouTube Preview Image

This week, my grief expert experience broadened to include chick grief. Yes, you read that correctly…chick grief. I didn’t realize I needed to add this to my repertoire but, like all things grief, it turned out to have very little to do with the actual chicks.

This fall, my children joined 4-H.  They are true animal lovers and, as a result of our chosen project, are raising baby chicks for a few months. What I did not anticipate was this project becoming a lesson in so much more than farm maintenance and responsibility for a pet. Yesterday, 2 of our 4 chicks died- 1 unexpectedly and 1 a bit more expected as she had appeared sickly from the start. As you can imagine, my daughters fell in love with these sweet little peeps upon first meeting. So when 2 of them died, my daughters were very sad. However, my youngest daughter, 9, could not stop crying. She cried for an hour in the morning and for several hours after school. In the morning I found myself conflicted. The grief expert in me wanted to let her mourn while the mom in me didn’t want her late for school. I allowed her to mourn and then reminded her that the ones that were still alive were depending on her to keep them alive. They needed her to change their water and food and clean up after them. It was this life, this remaining love that motivated her to move from sadness to action. Knowing that she needed to care for the final 2 chicks helped her get going that morning.

Always in search of the teachable moment, I got to thinking about how this applies to all of us here. Our loved ones and dependents, which show up in the form of family, friends, pets or plants, help move us back into our life. They need us. They need our love. They need our help and it turns out, we need them too. Our caring for something outside of ourselves us motivates our hearts to heal a little faster so we can support the life that depends on us.

The parallel lessons did not end here though, amazingly enough. One of her teachers at school asked her if she was feeling OK because she wasn’t acting like her normal bubbly self. I asked her if she told the teacher about the chicks. She said she didn’t tell her teacher about the loss of these chicks because she’d only known them for a few days. She felt ashamed of her grief. I told her it doesn’t matter if you know someone for 3 days or 3 years, your heart is your heart and you have a right to your own grief.

Just like we are connected, our grief is all connected too.

While we have these catalysts in our lives, in this instance the chicks, it’s rarely about what has set us off. In my daughter’s case, I feel like part of her mourning was about the chicks, but I think a great part of it combined all of the losses we’ve encountered over the last few years. My daughter was 1 when my mom died and I think there was so much unprocessed emotion in her heart that needed to be purged. If I didn’t allow her to purge and release those emotions, they would remain stuck in her heart…and that’s just not healthy for anyone. That is why I encouraged her and supported her and just held her as she cried and cried. I wanted her to release that feeling of sorrow and never feel ashamed about it.

How many of us here find ourselves feeling ashamed about our emotions? Ashamed we’ve been grieving too long? Too short? Not enough? Brene’ Brown is so amazing with her research on shame. Here is one of my favorite quotes,

“Empathy is connection; it’s a ladder out of the shame hole.”

We don’t just need empathy from others; we need to provide that very empathy to ourselves. We need to accept and understand that we are worthy of having our feelings. They are ours to own and share. Another favorite Brene’ Brown quote of mine is,” If we share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame cannot survive.”

Shame cannot survive.

Can you imagine the speed at which your heart might heal if you eliminate this soul drowning emotion? Allow yourself to feel every emotion over your small grieves too.

Because it’s not all about the chicks.

We temper our own catalyst reaction, shaming ourselves into feeling like we shouldn’t feel this way or that way. We feel like we don’t have a right to feel this intense feeling because it’s not a “big enough” event, and that’s simply not true.

Both sides of the equation don’t have to add up.

Next time you find yourself in this position remind yourself, “It’s not about the chicks.” It’s about everything that has come before the chicks that still needs to purge from your heart. It’s the healing that hasn’t made its way to the surface because it’s been held down by the weight of past losses, disappointments and sorrow.

This week, take time to reflect and write down the connections to what is hurting your heart today. Be sure to put pen to paper. There is something so releasing that happens when you get out of your head and begin to write it out on paper. It somehow detaches you from the hurt and helps you get to the core of your emotions.

At the top of your list, write your catalyst event or name and underneath your catalyst event, begin to list all of the other events or people that are surfacing as a result of this catalyst event. All of these emotions are connected and they are all trying to surface to heal. Take two minutes. Set a timer. Be brave. This is hard work, but this is worthy work. Your heart will thank you for it.

What were your “chicks” this week? What connections to past hurts did you find while writing? We look forward to hearing your story. You may just inspire someone else to be brave enough to seek out their connections too.

Sending you big brave love!


Love and Blessings,







Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *