Last Monday the bomb dropped: Neil and his parents won't be farming anymore.
It has been a difficult couple of weeks for all of us. Many tears have been shed. When I had a few minutes last week, I jotted down my thoughts (see "Continue reading..." below). I'd like to change half of it now, but I won't. That's how I felt that day. I don't feel quite so well now.
Now there's a knot in my stomach that won't go away. I feel like I'm holding my breath much of the time. The stinking reality of the situation has sunk in. And if I feel this bad, it must be excruciating for Neil and his parents. I'm sure we have all experienced a wide range of emotions -- none of them good, except perhaps a tinge of relief (I may be the only one though). I can't even explain how it feels (I don't really want to), but this website does a pretty good job. Basically, it's a lot of grieving for many types of losses. On top of that, we're facing the fact that my maternity leave income is not enough to live on for the next nine months. There probably wouldn't have been enough income from the farm this year anyway, but for some strange reason, it's a hell of a lot easier to continue hoping (or pretending) there would be.
We are taking steps. We created a resume for Neil this week and sent it to a prospective employer today. It was a difficult first step, especially for Neil, and yet when I think of all that needs to happen with the farm over the following year, it seems like such a small thing. Many challenges lie ahead. I could go on and on, but I won't.
Instead, I give you my new favourite quote (which I just happened upon this week):
Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist, but also the ability to start over.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
March 27, 2006
It's a gorgeous spring day -- sunny, calm, and seven degrees -- and yet for this family, especially Neil and his parents, this day is all too overcast and stormy. This is the day they decided to stop farming.
Though we had been talking about it recently, it's still shocking to all of us that this is it -- the time to end it is now -- not after this crop year, or next year, or later. And even though (at least in my mind) it makes perfect sense, I know it was a very difficult decision to make. Quite possibly the most difficult decision in a lifetime. I won't forget the look on Neil's face when I asked if he was okay.
I have mixed emotions. I have not been supportive lately when it came to the farm business. No, to be accurate, I was downright bitchy about it for the most part. But I do understand the pain of this decision. It is the end of an era, a lifestyle, a legacy. It is sad in many ways, but it is not everything. When I look ahead, I see a good future -- a bright sunny future, without the farm.
Perhaps it's one of those things you have to end completely in order to really move on and begin something new. Close the door and open a new one. I believe that if ending the farm business was inevitable, then the best time to start building a new future is now.