Reported by Harley Burger
Grieving is a complicated process, and every individual handles the matter in his or her own way. Averly Huerta is no stranger to the adversity of the grieving process. Yet the dedicated Ag student has not allowed life’s trials to alter her optimistic demeanor.
On November 5th, 2022, the high school Junior’s heart was shattered by the unexpected passing of her beloved pig, Earl. “We don’t really know what happened to him. I just arrived at Ag on Saturday morning, and he was no longer with us” she explained. Continuing, the Ag Student explained how emotionally jarring it was to lose Earl saying, “We take care of our animals from September to March. I wasn’t expecting to say goodbye so soon.”
Huerta spent much time with her four-legged friend. Ag Students are expected to feed their animals every morning and night, as well as walk them, tend to them hygienically, and overall serve as the primary caregiver to their animals. Averly’s long list of responsibilities and time dedicated to Earl certainly created a meaningful bond between the pair. “I only had Earl a month and a half, but I loved him so much.”
When Earl passed away, Averly was struck by a deep wave of guilt. “He was so young and healthy. It all happened so quickly, and I couldn’t help but blame myself.” However, the pig’s passing was not the 16-year-old’s fault. Earl showed no concerning signs beforehand, and there was nothing that could have prevented his death. The unpredictable nature of Earl’s passing was met with, “a lot of crying and isolation” by his caretaker.
Thankfully, Avrly had a strong support system of students to counsel her through this period of grief. “Everyone grieves differently, but it’s important to acknowledge that tragedies happen, and they are not your fault” she explained.
There is no one “proper way” to grieve. Life is full of turbulence. Yet Huerta’s struggle and ability to overcome this tragedy can serve as a source of inspiration to those also in the grieving process. Taking time to understand the full scope of the situation, giving oneself space to feel their emotions completely, and leaning on others for encouragement are a few ways one can approach the grief process in a healthy way.