Ni Ni Mama

We all get to die. This is one of the truths we try very hard not to look in the face. In fact we will say Pass Away, or Passed or Gone. But the truth is these poor bodies we wear when we are dancing, will one day stop dancing at all.  They cannot go on forever. So, more important than hiding from the thought of our ending, is the pursuit of our wonderful glorious beginning. Every moment is that beginning.  I know this sounds tiring maybe even a little challenging but Dying is OK.  We will all do it one day. ni-ni-mama-018

Mama died yesterday. My beautiful big old sheep. I know that sheep are pretty low on the totem pole for many. But she and I (as you know) had spent many, many freezing nights tending to her myriad babies. She always had four at a time and gave birth straight into my hands. She had washed her newborn babies and washed me as well. She had looked me in the eye and refused to speak, then looked back and spoken. She was not clever or startling in any way. Except there was a cable between Mama and I forged over all those years of nights as we worked together feeding her babies. I will miss her. ni-ni-mama-024

The vet came and while I sat on a brick, he talked Mama through the procedure. His student vet held her head ever so gently, my hand in her fleece, as the senior vet gave her a sedative and then the shot that helped her go into her final sleep. It was all so gentle and calm that Marcel continued to sleep tucked in behind her as she closed her eyes and sighed into death – Minty and Tilly stood on the other side like dirty angels, waiting for their next assignment.

I will miss her. But every animal, man, woman,  beast and tree has their time.  A long time is not necessarily a better time, a short time can be a full time,  but for a sheep, Mama had had a good long time. And Mama was ready. She was ready to lay all her burdens down and sleep. My dear old darling. ni-ni-mama-006

Later the vet checked out Daisy and his sewing skills. The teat he had stitched back on the night before last is not as swollen as he had expected and the catheter is still in place and dripping clean milk. He is cautiously pleased. It is possible that she will heal and the quarter might be saved.  He did say that he had been thinking about the injury and concluded that because her udder is so long and droopy and full, she gives a lot of milk, he said  it is more than likely that she literally stood on it as she winched her considerable body up. Not a nice thought. But she had a good day yesterday, even managing to pick the lock of her perfectly clean stall and take herself out to stand in the cool

Today will be a better day, I hope you have a good day too. I am off to find a street corner now. This vet bill is going to be horrendous! But I am deeply grateful that I have a vet who could come to the farm and help me. Deeply grateful.

Ni Ni Mama.

Have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farm,


103 Comments on “Ni Ni Mama

  1. Even though it was expected, Mama’s death is still a big milestone in the Farmy life. We will all miss her, even if your grief is more personal. Thank you for all the flowers you’ve given her (and us). I’m glad Daisy is doing well.

  2. Sad for us, but she was ready, as are so many older people I know. Just ready to go.

  3. I am so sorry. As always you did what was best for your farmy friends even if it was so very sad and difficult. Mama will always be a part of your place there and the memories that you have of her will always be in your memory. My heart hurts for you as she is no longer a part of your daily routine but I also know that such is life on the farm and in every other walk of life. We get attached and we have to let go at times and we make it through the other side. Maybe not without tears but we make it. So glad you have a vet that is the kind that you have. What a blessing. Saying a prayer for the farmy and you today.

  4. Thanks for sharing so much of Mama’s life, and her death, with us. We’ll be thinking of you as you walk on without her. (And ouch! Poor Daisy…)

  5. Mama was very much part of the family. A very refreshing narration here emotionally where animal and human are taken as one and of the same living creature element. Wonderful write celi!


  6. Blessings to you and to Mama. Her life mattered and you let her know that.

    Being a crazy cat lady who has taken in many strays, I’ve also had to put many down when their time came. It’s a constant struggle between your head and your heart. I, too am glad you have a vet that helped ease Mama’s transition. With sweet Marcel sleeping near (sigh)…

  7. I am sad and drizzing onto my keyboard. Hugs to you. Laura

  8. Rest sweet Mama, knowing the joy and miracles you brought to all of the fellowship. Celi, what ever happened to her fleece that we followed to Equinox Farm ? I loved seeing that dirty wool become white as snow cloud. My memory has failed me as to where that ended up.

    So on we go, all of us by your side with our collective hearts weighing heavy and giving pause for Mama. There will be so many thoughts and prayers in fellowship I am sure you feel the bounty of love we send to you all on the Farmy.

    Love, Nanster

  9. I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m sure that, with you, Mama had the very best life a sheep could possibly have 🙂

  10. So sorry for your loss, it is too sad to see a great friend go. She leaves the sweet memories, bittersweet right now, as you know too well.

  11. So sorry for her passing – dying. Ahl, but she did it well, didn’t she, as did you in your care for Mama and in your tribute here. Thoughts and prayers drift across the state to your farm. Penny

  12. Who knew this farm girl (me) could sit weeping over a sheep. A lovely eulogy for a life well lived and loved. Sorry for your loss Celi.

  13. Beautifully said, I shed a tear for mama today. She will be missed and left her mark on the world. You gave her a good life and she knew that and had trust in you, take comfort in that. I love how you treasure all your animals, the world needs more people like you c.

  14. Mama was a special character in you list of favorite characters on the farmy. I’ve been reading about her for several years, and feel a loss after reading your beautiful post this morning. Your manner of acceptance in the Circle of Life is poetic and meaningful. Mama touched many hearts among your readers. She had a beautiful life with you. rest in peace, Mama.

  15. Dear Celi, you did Mama the ultimate kindness. Love the flowere pics. Thankful that Daisy is doing well. She is quite the escape artist. The vet bill is worth every penny. I am filling your cup as I walk by. A good vet for the Farmy is like found gold. Your visitor is experiencing both sides of farm life. Finding out just how much care and love goes into your daily life. Thinking of you today. Blessings.

  16. Ah, Mama…how good that you and C found each other. You taught her about sheep, and she taught you that there were humans to be trusted and loved…
    A gentle end for a gentle beast. Love to all of you…

  17. Having a big sigh now. I remember you once wrote that each little life that comes thru the farmy deserves to be celebrated. Good night dear old Mama. You had a good little life and will be missed. Big hugs to you Celi and via you to the rest of the farmy.

  18. With her loving faithful friends on the farm by her side and summer flowers nodding farewell, above a flock of cloud sheep welcomed Mama to the great sheep meadow beyond. Your words & pictures are so beautiful for her today, Celi.

  19. Ah, ah. Dear Mama. Her last days sounded peaceful…a gentle, gradual falling into sleep. I’ve just reread “The Story of the Day I Met Mama”…when was that Celi? How long ago have you two been together? I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately (related to that Menopause project, really, inevitable I think)…you do get more comfortable with the idea, that juvenile feeling that you will live forever gives up and fades away and you start to come to terms with it. Oh my. I know you will miss her. We are made of missing, aren’t we? x

  20. It must be so very hard on you to be so close to your animals & see them go!
    It is not always easy to surrender to the cycle of life…
    Blessings to all of you for living such a wholehearted life!

  21. You gave her a good and useful life. You gave her a good and peaceful death. And you’ve given us all a lesson in grace. Thank you, for writing beautifully about dying, for the flowers which are Mama’s tribute, and for sharing with your Fellowship so that we can feel with and for you.

  22. I would bet that there is no sheep in the world with a following as large as Mama’s. So sorry for your heartache, but take comfort in knowing she had the best life a sheep could have, as do all of the animals on your farm!

  23. Strange how one becomes so attached to another from so many miles away…the farmy has sneaked quietly into my life and both it’s joy and heartache touch me deeply with each new post. Thank you for sharing Mama with us.

  24. Poor Mama, but it was the right thing for her as you know. If only we humans could have the same kind of ending instead of all the pain and humiliation which can be endured at the end of our lives. On a cheerier note, I hope that you do well on the street corner – but DON’T wear the clown suit!
    A big trans-Atlantic hug,

  25. Farewell, dear Mama. May your pastures always be green and the air sweet on the other side. I’m so sorry, Celi, I know you’ll miss her terribly. We all will and I’m crying as I write this. You gave her a peaceful, gentle and dignified send off. Would that we could all go that way when our time comes.

  26. If I had one wish granted at the end of my visit to this earth, it would be to go the way mama did – next to the ones that I love and love me back, as quietly and as gentle as possible, just close my eyes and drift away. Like others have said here, I would sure like to have that choice! Especially having a great friend like you Celi to see me on my way!
    Big Hugs

  27. A step closer to God…The Good Shepherd and His Mama sheep.
    Rest in peace dear friend, you have given of your best, now rest in love

    So Sorry C but as you say it comes to us all

  28. My tummy took a flip when I read the heading, poor mama, but she had a lovely life, and thanks to you a peaceful death x

  29. I agree with Christine above, a dignified way to die and the kindest way to do it. Bless her. (and you) . Whatever it costs, I believe a kind vet is worth his/her weight in gold. Joy

  30. The image of Marcel curled up with Mama brought tears to my eyes. While it is sad she is gone such a peaceful end is what we would all hope for. Sending positive thoughts.

  31. I am glad that Mama gave you the chance to be with her yesterday. She was a very lucky ewe to have found you. I know how enriching it is to live closely with our farm animals, and it sometimes surprises me at how meaningful those relationships can be. Yay Marcel for staying snuggled up as well.

    We will be thinking good thoughts for Daisy’s udder recovery as well.

  32. So sorry for your loss. Death is peace for the dying, but pain for the living who loved them. I had to put two of my dogs and a three year old kitty down in the past couple of years. It doesn’t get any easier. Some people say that they can’t have any more animals because they can’t possibly grieve that way again, but they’ll never love an animal again either. I say it’s worth the price of admission.

  33. Part of the way of the farm or not *giant hugs* a loss is a loss, and I know this was a big one for you. She will forever be remembered and loved through memories and her beautiful babies.

  34. You described this friendship in a way that makes it feels equal to many human relationships… and it sounds like that was the case. I admire you for saying she wasn’t special, but she was a creature you loved. Love is love… sending mental hugs.

  35. So sad to hear about Mama. But as many have said, she lived a well-loved and taken care of life amongst friends, both animal and human. xx

  36. It is so sad to say goodbye to our loved ones, no matter what species they are. Thinking of you and every species on the farmy. xoxoxo

  37. Beautiful floral tribute for Mama and a gentle way to tell the Fellowship about it. You take your farm responsibilities with genuine care for the welfare of the animals who contribute so much to your welfare, physical and emotional, and those you share their bounty with. I’m sure today will be a better day.

  38. Farewell Mama ~ on to my rest ~ sleeping peaceful ~ no more discomfort ~ no more difficult caring for me from Mama Celi ~ my best lifetime friend.
    She will be deeply missed but Mama took lots of loving care memories with her from all those special moments you were side by side with her. Many of us love our animals so dearly ~ wouldn’t it be nice if all the people in this world would be treated as loving as many of us care for our animals and especially all the care that you, Celi give your beautiful animals. Beautiful pictures of the flowers Celi ~ a nice tribute to Mama. It’s nice that we can let them go to sleep so gently ~ I did the same with my dear 15 yr Pomeranian Klaus ~ the vet came to our house and Klaus laid in my arms ~ gently off to Doggy Heaven.
    Memories ~ memories. Carol

  39. Mama was a rescue sheep and she knew it. Her life with you was joyful and you kept your promise to care for her to the end. I was expecting to hear this but it was still a shock when I read it. An empty space now in the heart. Your beautiful tribute and the flowers says so much about you, dear Celi. Goodbye Mama. I am happy that Daisy is doing better. Stepping on a tit gives me shudders just thinking about it.

  40. You did the humane thing to do. We treat our animals way better than we do our human counterparts when there is pain and suffering with no hope of recovery.

    Mama will have a special place in all our hearts. Her story is a sweet loving story with a happy ending in that she was surrounded by her flock.

  41. Mama will be missed by you, by the Fellowship and by her children. Giving her a peaceful end is the best gift you ever gave her. I’m so sorry you lost your friend, C. Every time I see a snowball hydrangea, I will think of Mama, the good and kind sheep who let me run my hand through her fleece when she ambled over to say hello to me at the farmy. Marcel, Minty and Tilly will be missing her, I’m sure.

  42. My heart hurts for the hole in yours. You allowed Mama to know kindness and love when she wouldn’t have otherwise.

  43. Poignant writing this morning, my sweet friend. I feel so much emotion in today’s post. Words we all think and know, but rarely say. My eyes welled up while reading about your relationship with Mama. It touched a place in my soul that I don’t often visit. You and Mama had something very special – unspoken love and respect between two very different species. The connection we forge with some life forms is the true grist of life. There really are no words to describe losing a good friend and companion – we simply feel it as an ache from deep within.

  44. Am so sorry about Mama….my other half has gotten so attached to your animals, she was crying as she read this blog.We’re glad she went so peaceful.

  45. Eloquent passage – a door will open for money for the vet bill; love your animals, your writing; keep on truck’in

  46. Ni ni, Mama. You are a treasure we will always keep close to our hearts. How sweet of Mama’s “dirty angels” to stay close. That IS a painful thought re Daisy. Praying for provision for the Good Vet’s bill. You don’t have time to stand on the street corner! Hugs!

  47. I’m sorry for Mama’s passing but her life with you was a better one and via that Mama has a story and legacy that she would otherwise have not had. The day lilies are a poignant reminder that we all have a limited time to bloom. On a lighter note, I had visions of you on the street corner accompanied by the ever-present members of the Farmy Cast presided over of course by Ton… what a sight to see 🙂

  48. RIP Mama! You will be missed and always remembered.

    And Cecilia, your words were a beautiful tribute to Mama and the time you spent together. I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to meet her.

  49. Gently, with dignity, surrounded by family.
    We should all be so lucky.
    Much love to you Celi.

  50. Cecilia, I am so sorry for your loss of Mama. As The Fellowship has said, she was rescued from a hellish existence into an idyllic life of happy fields where she belonged, mid-wifed by your loving hands, and in the end, surrounded by her adoring flock. Every sheep should be so blessed .

  51. Mama went through the gates with love all around her, and those memories and gifts to take with her… the only thing that matters – the love she gave and the love she felt – love to you all, lovers on the farmy ,Valerie

  52. My tears fell into my coffee as I read about Mama, so sorry Celi. Mama wasn’t just a sheep – we got to know her personality through you, and have been with you both through all her many ups and downs. Yes, it was her time, but it doesn’t come any easier to those who loved her. RIP Mama, gone but never forgotten.
    On a brighter note, things are looking good for Daisy and I hope she continues to progress. Life goes on…….
    Hugs to you.

  53. We will miss Mama too. She had a great life and the connection you shared with her is very special. It sounds like everything was peaceful and as it should be. My heart feels heavy for you. Hugs to you dear friend.

  54. Valete Mama! You had a good life till the end which came gently and lovingly . . . . I can just see you gambolling in a sheepie heaven baaing and jumping across white fluffy clouds above us . . . meanwhile huge hugs to you Celi . . . .

  55. You have done her the ultimate kindness, a peaceful, pain free death with the person she trusted most in life nearby. While the bill may be horrendous, a kind, empathetic vet is like gold. I know, I have three. One from one clinic for our dogs – I believe he was as affected as John and I last summer when he eased our old Griffon out of this life under the birch tree in the front yard – two from another clinic, one for the donkey and horses and one for the ‘exotics’ (Percy pig and Otis and Ralph the goats). I would not trade any of them for the world. They have come in a blizzard, they have come in the middle of the night, they always come when I need them. While I might quake when the bill comes it is part and parcel of the agreement I have with my animals, to care for them through this life and into the next. Grieve for yourself in missing Mama but rejoice for her.

  56. You two were the Dynamic Duo 😦 I know each one you say your goodbyes to hurts but you two were so close and again I am so sorry for your loss even knowing each of us will pass this way it hurts no less and yes she will be missed XO Glad Daisy is doing better than expected hope it continues that way. Take care of yourself.

  57. I remember reading (after adopting a dog from a rescue) that when you rescue an animal, it also rescues you. Now feel this is true, we don’t know we need rescuing, but adopting a rescue animal teaches us more compassion, to appreciate life even more and also the power of love. You learned a lot from Mama and thank you for sharing her with us. She lived and died with dignity and grace.

  58. You gave Mama the life she deserved until the very end and she trusted and loved you for this wonderful gift. We all should be so lucky. A big hug for loosing a friend. Take good care of yourself. Gerlinde
    I have read your touching post and the sweet comments several times. Thank you for sharing them.

  59. My condolences on Mama’s death. I am very aware of the pain of seeing an animal (dogs in my case) come to the end of their lives, they all know, look at you and just want you there with them. You gave Mama that, you were there with her while she left the shell. It’s obvious from your writings that she loved you and you loved her. You will always have that love. May Mama run free and joyous in the sweet green fields across the rainbow bridge. She’ll be watching over you and waiting for the day you’ll meed again. You gave her a gentle and loving end. Bless you.

  60. Ah miss C I’ve been reading your updates and now having read this beautiful post I’d say she’d had a good innings and you enabled a good death.
    Now about this street corner. … sounds a bit well you know street cornerish ! Big kisses x

  61. I’m sorry, Celi. You really did have a special connection with Mama, one that began when she gave birth for the first time. I’m glad, for the both of you that you were there for her last breath. A dignified death. Isn’t that what we all hope for and the best gift we can give others — even when the “other” is of the 4-legged kind?

  62. Celi, I’m so sorry for your loss of Mama, she wasn’t uncomfortable for long you did the right thing quickly. It doesn’t matter furry or feathered, it’s never easy, they are all our family.
    Take care Celi

  63. Ah Cinders…I can’t say it any better or more eloquent than what some of the others have said before me. I also couldn’t comment until today after thinking about what you wrote yesterday about your beloved Mama. As always your writing was exquisite…so much so that you had the whole lot of us dripping tears on to our keyboards. What a beautiful, beautiful tribute to Mama and another lesson in grace for all of us. You gifted her the last show of kindness, compassion and love…all that any of us 2 or 4 legged could ever hope for.
    Sending much love to heal your heart….

  64. Blessings, Celia. Sorry for your loss. We’ve had to bury several good animal friends, and it’s always heartbreaking, especially when we have to assist them. Luckily many have died a natural death. Nice tribute.

  65. I gave a quiet chuckle over the “street corner” image. I have thought the same thing many a month wondering how the bills might get paid with so little in the bank. My dear husband, bless his heart, swears that we could make a million if I went into “the oldest profession” but he is hopelessly in love with me and can’t see the forest of flaws. Time marches on and the bills somehow get paid, and new little ones bounce into our lives to remind us of others we have loved.

  66. Your writing and your images are so beautiful that this post brought me to tears. – also because it has not been so long since we had to put our old dog, Rozie, down the same way as your Mama went. Thank goodness for the travelling vet who came to our home too, so Rozie could be in loving surroundings.

  67. I am so sorry to hear about Mama. I know that she had a very good life with you and that she was loved and cared for right up to the end.

  68. Life and Death on a farm are so odd. There are the animals we eat. There are the animals we love. And sometimes they are the same thing. My dad never let me name the stock cattle or hogs or chickens. He’d say, “They’re bound for somebody’s freezer—don’t get attached.” Being vegan now makes all that easier.

  69. I read about this particular meditation one time. You sit there and you say the following to yourself:

    I know I am going to die.
    I do not know when.
    What am I going to do about it…

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