Too Hard To Say

Sheila lost the use of her back legs three days ago. I tried and tried to get her to stand but she could not.

All through the night we talked about things, out there in the straw, as Poppy slept on. Sheila was sitting most of the time, all through that last night. Huge in the night. Shone by a little moon. Four times my size and gentle. I gave her drinks and hand fed her treats as we talked about old times – about bad pigs and good fields and how she would sit on command and wait to eat and walk down the creek with me and bring me her bowl for food then pick it up and run off with the filled bowl to eat it over there. And how she adopted Poppy when Poppy was tiny but never wanted piglets of her own. She was a pig apart. My special girl. Ni night she said again and again. The only word she ever learned – ni night I said back to her.

In the morning I brought the vet out for her. Amazingly while I was in calling him and getting dressed, she dragged herself all the way out of the barn and into her garden. I don’t know how. All I saw were the drag marks.

Then she turned her large body around to face the gate where I would come through and lay down.

I sat with her, she and I, for a long time again- waiting. Her voice had changed – it was urgent and low- after a while she was jawing at the pain, and she lowered her head to me.

Both the vets came out. The senior who has vetted me through all my farming (though it was his day off) and his young vet who pulled Del’s dead calf. Do you remember her?

By then I had no words / all I was saying to her was shh shh – shh, shh shh – as though to hush her to sleep. To not see them coming. My throat was closed around the awfulness of losing my companion of almost nine years. At the end my elder vet’s jaw was working, the younger vet was in tears , and I just stood and howled. My head down and my arms straight at my sides. I just sobbed.

The vets said things I don’t remember and left us with her huge dead warm body. John brought the tractor round, his hat low over glistening eyes and began to dig her grave.

I sat again with her – but in the end I let her go.

I miss her more than is reasonable. And I keep thinking I will tell her because I think she would get it. CShh shh I say to myself every time I begin to cry again. Hush, now. Ssh ssh.

Cécilia

94 Comments on “Too Hard To Say

  1. Oh Celi. I’m so very sorry. We all knew she couldn’t live forever, as much as we all wanted her to. Weeping for her from half the world away.

  2. I have been with your blog all those nine long years. I sent a fan, just for your pig, and sang her songs, only she could hear…from way over here. Hugs to you…it’s hard to lose our friends, our family, our hearts.

  3. Oh so hard Cecilia. Thinking of you at this terribly sad time.
    Pip

  4. I am weeping from north Carolina. I am so very sorry for you, Celi, & for John & Poppy & for Sheila who loved you all so much.

  5. This made me cry C. I feel your hurt. Sending you love from NZ.

    xo

  6. Oh Celi, I’m so very sorry for your loss. I knew it was coming and knew you’d be brave enough to never let sentiment turn to neglect. Still, so terribly crushing to lose a confidant and treasured friend. Sheila was always more than livestock. She was the beginning of the moorings of the bridge between the farmy and the lounge.
    There is nothing “Reasonable” about sorrow. You feel everything you are entitled to. I’m sure her loss feels like one of so very many in the last 6 months. Hugs from Texas as you move through the darkness of loss.

  7. Much love to you and John. Sheila was a very special pig not only to you, but to a lot of folks, and I am truly so sorry. We are all the better for having known her, even if it was just virtually. Knowing she was kind of short-timing it doesn’t make it any easier. I know what a wonderful bond you two had. She will be listening for your chats.

  8. Loss…it’s becoming a way of life, isn’t it? What a special kinship you two had for 9 years. I think she knew in the end what was coming, and may have welcomed it. You were with her in her last days and moments and your freed her from suffering, what friend could ask for more. Cry yourself out, and start again. It’s all any of us can do right now.

  9. Oh dear, I am so sorry that Sheila has left you and the farmy. I remember when you got her and Charlotte, the original Shush Sisters, and how from the very beginning you said she was a canny pig. But you always put your animals’ welfare first and it was the right thing to do. Letting her go was very brave and responsible. Sending hugs and gentle pats from Long Beach, CA.

  10. I remember her from the very begining. Hoping that it was a painless ending. Loss of an online friend.

  11. It’s right that we howl at the loss of those we love. She was loved. And she still is. Hugs, c.

  12. Poor Sheila – I’m sure there’s never been a happier pig, though Poppy must come a close second.

  13. So very sorry to hear about dear Shelia piggie celi, sending virtual hugs to you all….xxx

  14. Oh Celi, your words have brought tears to my eyes. Sheila has been your constant companion for so long. You will be missing her so much. I’m sending you lots of love in your grief. Sheila will never be forgotten.

  15. So very sorry for your loss. Sheila was a wonderful friend all these years. I’m so glad you had a chance to say goodbye all through her last night. Juliana in South Dakota

  16. Thank you Miss C, for sharing Sheila with us over these years, and for sharing this last goodbye. She was a wonderful girl and will live on in my memories of the farmy and this blog. She was one special pig indeed.

  17. Tears spilling from my eyes. I’m so sorry. I’m so glad you spent that last night and morning in vigil with her. She had a peaceful death with her loving human by her side. Sending love.

  18. Thank you for your words… so brave and caring in so many ways so we may carry a little of this experience as we shared the joy and wonder of Sheila it is fitting, although you bear the heavy grief of it. I’m reading this in the early morning with a coffee as is my habit but today through tears and with a large weighty dog positioned across my lap who offers solace to me as I and your many other friends and Sheila’s, offer to you. I hope it lifts you up some. Vale Sheila, a special soul in porcine form.

  19. I am so sad to hear about Sheila, I’m having a hard time to see through my tears. You had such a special relationship. You were able to give her a great life. She will be missed and remembered.

  20. Tears. So very sorry to read about the loss of your sweet girl. Having lived on a farm for the past 40 years, I can feel your pain. Thank you for loving her for 9 years.

  21. It’s so awful when we lose them. Animals live such short lives and yet offer us so much in those quick moments they get to be here. I am so sorry. I’m crying with you.
    I’m glad she got to live with you on the farm. She was a good pig and she lived an excellent life.

  22. I will burn some Candles to light her way…🕯🕯🕯

  23. I am crying with you. I am so, so sorry for your loss. She had a great life with you, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer pig.

  24. Oh C, I’m weeping. I have looked at every title when you post over the past couple of months hoping it wouldn’t be this post. I’m so sorry dear, we all loved Sheila and how lucky you two were to be best friends.

    xoxoxoxox

  25. I am so sorry. I cry for your loss, and I cry for my memories. I am reminded of a thought from C.S. Lewis, I find it comforting.

    “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal.”

    You love Shelia and I am certain she loved you, too. You each brought much to the other’s life and as sad as you are now, I think the love is worth it.

  26. Your heart must be breaking, such a difficult loss. Sending love and strength, allow yourself to mourn for her wonderful life which was so well loved. Take care my friend xx

  27. I’m so sorry, Cécilia. I know it won’t help right now, but she had such a nice life thanks to you. And she will live on in your heart and your memories. And ours, because you were really to share her with us.

  28. I have had to do this with so many animals and it doesn’t seem ok even when it’s the correct “time” How can something so right feel sooo awful. Just sent my 23 old cat on ahead…. it’s the pits !
    Love and hugs

  29. Oh no no, C…when I saw this title my heart sank as I knew what you were about to tell us. I have no words now either other than I am so so sad for you and everyone who knew and loved Sheila. What a wonderful, glorious bond you two had and this was your last show of love and compassion for your dear friend and I think she knew it. I remember the one and only time we met..in Portland, I wore my Sheila t-shirt that day..to honor you both. I still have and love it. It will be my remembrance of her always. I am in tears along with everyone else here that loved Sheila and for you because you have to go on without her….
    Ditto Zazzy’s last sentence. Sending much love…

  30. I recall a post you made at another loss: A life is a life, no matter how long or short and all life deserves to be celebrated.
    And when any animal dies we must pause. It’s as though their tiny beating hearts become part of our own heart’s rhythm, intertwined somehow, like the bass beat in a loud band or the repeating brush from a drum. So we need to pause for a while and readjust our own hearts to beating along with them.
    It touched me so then that I saved it. I think it’s appropriate right now. So sad.

  31. There is so little to say when we lose family, it’s all feelings that don’t have words. I am so sorry for your loss.

  32. Thank you for allowing us to be there at the end. Methinks all of us are with you waiting for the pain to subside . . . day by day . . .

  33. Crying buckets. It never gets easier. It’s always such a horrible wrench when we lose our dearest friends. She was so much loved and you were a wonderful Momma to Sheila. I too found comfort in Zazzy’s C.S. Lewis quote. I shall light a wee candle in my window tonight to help sweet Sheila move onward into the universe. X

  34. Oh Sheila, you will be missed. She was your friend like no other. I’m so sorry. We grieve with you Celi.

  35. So sorry and my deepest condolences about Sheila. She was a great big part of the farm, with you right from the start! she will be missed by all.

  36. Sheila had a great spirit that was illuminated through you through your blog to me!! Such a sweet soul!! And you cared for her deeply!! Will be thinking of you !!

  37. I am so sorry, I am crying for you an Sheila. Miss Sheila was a character, we will miss her stories. Our animals are more than companions, they are true friends and confidantes, unconditional. They give and teach us so much in their short time with us. Hugs and love to you.

  38. I just decided to go to my reader for the first time in weeks and there you are at the top. It’s taken a while to dry my eyes enough to write how hard it was to read. I can feel from your words how hard it was to say. I’m still blubbering but mostly because I know how deeply you feel for each creature that crosses your path. it’s your heart that sucked me in when you gave your talk in Portland all those years ago. You have a heart the size of Sheila. She will never be fully gone as we all carry a bit of her with us daily. I knew it was coming but it doesn’t make it less painful. I am so sorry for your deep, deep loss. I felt every word you wrote.

  39. I’m so sorry to hear this. I knew what you were going to say and as I read your post, I started crying too. I wish I could hug you and just be with you at this time.

  40. Never thought I would be brought to tears over the loss of a pig but I sure am! My heart goes out to your lie!

    • Celi not Lie!Oh my what a type! My hugs to you regarding the loss of Sheila!

  41. I think however much you miss her is entirely reasonable. A heart breaks to the same degree it loved. I do not know of anyone who had a companion (pig or otherwise) for 9 years without feeling a huge loss. Hugs to you all.
    Goodbye for now Miss Sheila. You were a proper good pig.
    Chris S

  42. Oh Celi ~ I’m really crying for you ~ Sheila was so special and I enjoyed hearing about her. She was your Buddy ~ she loved you bunches ~ she knew she had the best loving Master in the world. You love animals the way I do ~~ it’s very hard to give them up. But Sheila knew you were always there for her ~ and especially now in the end ~ so passed on with you at her bedside ~ and closed her eyes loving you. I’m so very sorry for you ~ sharing your tears ~ Hugs to Sheila for all the great pictures of her and all the entertainment stories she gave us. Love ya Sheila ~ and we’ll all keep your Master in our thoughts ❤❤❤❤

  43. oh dear….so very very sad….we will all remember this sweet Sheila…pig of our hearts. Much love to you and John and all who will miss her.

  44. I’m so sorry, Miss C. Life is so terrible and horrible right now and our animals bring us such joy. To lose someone so important to you is probably soul crushing. Please take the time to grieve. We’ll be here for you when you get back.

  45. Oh no! I’m so sorry and my heart aches for you! I am with you in spirit! This is such a hard loss. All your Celi and farmy friends are with you. Sending so much support and love.

  46. She was a goddess of the porcine race, the beautiful, shrewd, intelligent and determined Sheila. What a great girl she was. I have missed hearing about her, so I can only begin to imagine how big a hole her absence must make in the fabric of your life. I am so glad you had the chance to spend that last important time with her, and that her light was extinguished with care and compassion by people you both trusted. Now is not a good time for the kind of hugs you need, but know that you are virtually surrounded by people who love and admire you and who wish they could buoy you up when grief is bending your back so hard. As long as you and this blog continue, Sheila lives on in our memories.

    • Shiela, the legendary pig. What a huge loss for you to bear. You will though as you always do. Big thoughts to you and John.

  47. Quietly weeping here in South Africa. Hugs to you, Sheila taught us all so much. Laura

  48. Words are stuck. I can’t get any out. I wish I could hug you. And thank you for preparing us last week. God bless your vets.

  49. I am so sorry, Celia. We all feel the loss, but I can’t imagine the depths of your feelings. I had just copied a FB post from Common Sense Home. I wasn’t sure why. It seems appropriate here.

    Midwives of the Soul
    April 25 ·
    My grandmother once gave me a tip:
    In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
    Do what you have to do, but little by little.
    Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
    Wash the dishes.
    Remove the dust.
    Write a letter.
    Make a soup.
    You see?
    You are advancing step by step.
    Take a step and stop.
    Rest a little.
    Praise yourself.
    Take another step.
    Then another.
    You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
    And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.
    – Elena Mikhalkova

  50. So, so sorry to hear this Celi. Sheila will always be with you in your heart and memories. Sending love.

  51. So sorry Celi and John:( No words for the sadness I feel.

  52. I read your words as they come. I’ve read this post through many times. Weeping for you and sending solace from afar.

  53. She was loved. Thank you for sharing her with us all these years. Seems like these hard things are even harder during this time. Take care.

  54. Oh, this heartbreaking loss. You loved and cared for Sheila so perfectly; I am grateful to have had a window in on your life together, through your posts over the years. Sending you love and comfort. Kristen

  55. I remember when you got your special girl and how you bonded to each other … I, along with everyone else, cried over the loss of this big girl! She had the best life any pig could ever hope for!

  56. My heart goes out to you, Cecilia. She was a special girl and you two had a special relationship. She did have the best life with you. For that you can be grateful. That and all the wonderful memories. Shh shh, C…

  57. Thank you for sharing. I love your relationship with Sheila. ❤️❤️❤️

  58. Oh, Cecilia! This is truly the saddest day. I hope it is of some consolation to you to know that Sheila knew she had you all to herself this last sad night and day. She made such an extraordinary effort to let you know how she felt about you. No pig, no creature, had a sweeter, more enriched life than Sheila thanks to you. And what a testimony to your extraordinary care that both veterinarians came to be with you and Sheila. Thank you for sharing Sheila’s unique personality, her wild antics, and her gentlest of passing.
    I have read every single message to you above and hope you take comfort from so much love for you.

  59. My condolences on sweet Sheila’s passing. You gave her the most wonderful life. I will miss hearing about Sheila the marvelous and grand. Words are so inadequate. I’ve had to do the same for my dogs, it’s never easy even when you know they’re suffering and the choice is obvious. My boys each took a piece of my heart with them and I know Sheila did with you. Be gentle with yourself and grieve, it’s the only way to get through the loss. You’re a strong woman, Celi, and I know you’ll reach a point it isn’t so painful. Blessings to you and John.

  60. P.S. I’m remembering how you obliged me by feeding Sheila an egg, shell and all. (I couldn’t imagine! Also I was wanting to look in Sheila’s mouth.) I’m remembering how she’d toss her bowl out her window when she was finished eating. And how anyone who came to the farm refused to believe how long Sheila was. They would say, “Umm.”

  61. Oh no! I am so very sorry to hear about Sheila. I know life will not be the same without her. Grieve freely and openly. Big hugs.

  62. Oh, C! Sheila was such a good friend to you, and you were so good to her. I’m very sorry you had to say goodbye.

  63. Oh my goodness, my heart breaks for you. This had me in tears. Sheila knew such love, compassion, and respect. Her’s was a life well lived.

  64. You have my deepest condolences and I sob for your loss. She was a good gal and you were her admirable guardian.

    I joined the Fellowship having read a shared post of yours while you and John were grieving a previous loss. As wise as you are about such things, your pain is not muted.

    Wail & howl as you must to move through this chapter. We’ve learned there is no navigating around it… just through. Many blessings, always…

  65. Oh Miss C, oh so sorry for the loss of dear Sheila- I have been following your blog for almost from the beginning and Sheila has always been one of my favorites on your farm- she was an exceptional pig❤️.I bought one of the Sheila t- shirts – I think I will make it into a pillow. So sorry for your loss- you and Sheila had a true connection 😢

  66. I’ve never shed tears for a pig until now. She was a special creature and you gave her a lovely home and a lot of love. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  67. I am back after a week away – I too join the chorus of sorrow and wish words could help.

  68. I am so very sorry. Sheila was a gift in your life and you in hers.

  69. So very sorry. I’ve enjoyed your stories about Sheila for years. Such a good pig and friend.

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