About 11 months ago, my family adopted a lost chick. I told my girls not to name it yet because he looked too fragile and weak that I didn’t think he’d survive. But he did. We named him “Hope” and I happily adopted him, thinking he was a “she” as I hoped for some future eggs from “her” who started to crow instead of laying eggs at week 18.

On March 24, we came home from dinner at around 8 p.m. and I was surprised to hear a faint sound of Hope in a kennel that I use to feed him once a day. I was surprised because he never sleeps in the kennel though I feed him there to train him to come to the kennel as a safe haven in case of rain or an attack from a neighbor cat, though he’s never used it. Then I saw him slumped in the kennel with his tail still out, as if he collapsed as soon as he stepped into it. I knew right away that something was wrong. Andrew went out to carry him and said he was still warm but I knew it was his last night. We don’t know what happened but I knew he wasn’t going to last.

The next morning, we found him cold. What made me break down wasn’t just the fact that he passed. I could not believe he unprecedentedly found his way into the kennel (in his condition) as if he wanted to be close to us during his final hours. I feel so loved and appreciated by him knowing that he considered us to be his “safe haven,” his family.

When we first adopted Hope, he’d always follow me around as if he thought I was his mother hen. I’d try to trick him and run away but he’d always catch up. I’d carry him in my hand and hold him close to my heart as my girls would do the same. I yelled at him when he dug into my pot of chives and he never did it again. He protected my cherry tomatoes from other chickens in the neighborhood and we harvested more than 60 tomatoes from one plant.

Life and death are inevitable facts of life. But Hope has reminded me once again that the only thing that leaves a mark, the only thing that makes an imprint in life is… LOVE. I’m glad Hope felt loved by us. It’s a comforting thought. I appreciate his love for us.

Goodbyes are especially hard for me. Leaving our beloved church, family, and friends is not easy. But Hope has shown me that when we have love binding us, we’ll be together no matter where we are. And my family will continue to love God and love people wherever we’re sent by the Almighty One.