Difficult goodbyes.




Each season brings its lessons.

Some are easy to learn, others are so difficult.

This summer has been a summer of early goodbyes. I've held off on talking about it here because I'm still sorting through the many "whys" and the shame, the guilt, the feelings of failure, the sadness.

Within two short weeks of each other we said unexpected goodbyes to Moonstone our angora rabbit, Smudge our barn kitty, and Mortimer our mouse.

And death – especially death that feels untimely – is hard to explain to children. It's even hard to explain to ourselves.

My view of death is not one of an ending, but rather a transition to another form. So when we grieve I suppose we're mostly grieving for ourselves – not the one we've said goodbye to.

All the same, I wish things were different. I wish we still had these friends with us, shining their light on our days.

And I am reminded to be grateful each day for Jasper and Olive, for Spike, for our chickens, for family.

We did our best with what we knew, and still we lost these friends. Sometimes it happens that way. As we look ahead to farming now I realize that we'll need to be ready for untimely goodbyes now and again.

Becasue that's nature. Life leads to death. And not always when you expect it.

We love you Moonstone, Smudge, and Mortimer. And we miss you so.

25 thoughts on “Difficult goodbyes.

  1. Melanie says:

    Aw I’m sorry. My condolences to your family. Its so hard to lose pets. And that’s a lot of loss in a short time frame for one little family. 🙁 Big hugs.

  2. Jayna says:

    oh dear! my heart goes out to you guys, they really do become part of your family, so sorry you had to say bye so soon…hugs to the kids and you as well.

  3. elizabeth says:

    death is the only guarantee that life offers. i feel your heavy heart and your mama’s brain spinning into owning responsibility but ultimately, each soul is on their own path and the end of that path is often unpredictable. its really good, deep work for your children to experience. we recently moved to our farm and when our first duck died and i was exploring my own mama responsibilities there, a long time farming mama said this, “i just think of it as the god tax. every so often, you’ve got to give something up to get to live with so many.”

  4. sue says:

    My mom hated mess so I wasn’t allowed the pets I longed for, so my children had many, many varied pets. Most of them, rabbits, mice, fish, and some birds, do not have long lives. Dogs and cats do live longer, but not as long as humans. I remember my daughter (my Rachel) crying that she didn’t want any more pets because it was so hard to loose them. Yes,it is so difficult to loose them, but currently, she and her husband have 3 cats and a dog, so I believe the pain we experience, eventually is offset by the joys from having animal family members.
    It still hurts like HECK when they pass, my sympathies to your family.

  5. Karla says:

    We lost our bunny the first night! I finally gave in and we bought a bunny from a lady at the farmers’ market, and that night he started having seizures and was dead by morning. I cried and cried and felt sooo bad. We just got two more bunnies, so we’ll see how they do.

  6. Grace says:

    I am terribly sorry about that…it must be so hard to be there for you children when you, yourself feel sad. Ido think it is worth it…we have chickens as well, and they are very much loved…and at some point, they will die and it will be hard. I am wondering if you knew what happened with your bunny…we just got one as well, and he has a similar living situation. Don’t respond if it feels like it is too much…I am just realizing that bunnies are fairly complicated animals.

  7. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hi Grace, I think that Angoras in particluar are very fragile. It has been unbearably hot here so we moved him inside, but since we got him he seemed a bit unwell – runny eyes in particular that got worse, not better with good care. He stopped drinking his water one day a couple of weeks ago and would only drink when we brought it to him. I thought maybe he couldn’t move but when I took him to a different part of the pen he would hop back to his hiding spot. Some something was up but we aren’t sure what. Poor baby.

  8. Trish says:

    Thank you for sharing this sentiment Elizabeth – wonderful for soothing hurting children and adults. Big hugs to all of you Rachel.

  9. Grace says:

    Thank you for replying. That was very kind. It sounds like you were taking very good care of him…loving animals, with their short lives, is hard, but obviously, worth it. I hope you will get another one, if it is what you want.

  10. susan says:

    You’ve been on my mind since I read this post the other day but didn’t have time to comment. Thinking of you and your family and hoping that you guys have the time and space you need to grieve. I realize that I don’t *know* you in real life, but I sure wish I could give you a hug!

  11. Susanne says:

    But I just read the posts about you bringing Smudge and Moonstone home! How could they be gone so soon? I don’t remember meeting the mouse, but he looked equally adorable. We said goodbye to two cats this year. It was hard because they had been a part of our family since I was 11 and I am now 27. It’s sad when something you grew up with is no longer with you. Even though I am an RN, I have a very hard time with the death of an animal. I seem to be able to be fine with my patients but there is just something about not being able to communicate with an animal and worrying about their comfort that devastates me. I know your furry ones were well-loved.

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