Saturday, December 4, 2010


Over the last week we have experienced death twice on our little homestead.

Last Thanksgiving night Abby's little cat, Alice, at just two year's old fell very sick and within 6 hours has died.
At about 10:30 pm that night, she woke us with two loud howling sounds and then all fell silent as Mike and I stroked her soft fur and her little body fell still.  That was the first time I had been beside a living thing as it departed this life here on earth.

We waited for family to leave the following day to share the sad news with the children.   Oh, so sad.

Yesterday, Sarah found a sick chicken out in the coop and asked to bring her in.  I said sure and suggested that she get a box and put some hay in the bottom.  Sarah spent about an hour feeding and holding and just loving that hen.  Then, just about 60 minutes later, the little chicken gave two loud last gasps of life and fell over still.  She had witnessed the last moment of life as just a week ago, my husband and I had experienced.

My thoughts have been filled once again with the question of my purpose here on earth - why have I been  given this precious life, and more importantly how I am to spend these moments that I have here.  How am  I to live a life that reflects God's love?


  1. Dear Tonya,
    I think this is one of the very hardest lessons and most important lesson little ones can witness... I'm so sorry to hear of your families loss, I hope that it brought about mindful important conversation for your family and that you will find peace. Wishing you all comfort and love during this time. xoxo

  2. Dearest Tonya- such difficult lessons for little ones to have to learn! But so important too. Our children lost their chickens to a fox once, their favorite two. It was sad for them, and they saw firsthand what life and death really truly are- and it broke my heart but it was also an important lesson, something they will never forget, preparing them for the other times death will cross their paths during their lives.
    I am so sad for you though- especially for your little cat- I know how sad my children would be if they lost one of their kitty friends.
    Lots of love to you and your family <3

  3. Death can give us a sense of urgency, that we must make the most of it all. When we see it slip away we learn how precious it is. Yet it is also in the day to day, the moments of quiet, of watching and noticing the simplest of things, of being aware. Then we are celebrating life, by living it with the best of intentions and doing our best heart and soul.

    I'm pretty sure you don't come up short in any of those areas. The cycle of life turns and turns, there will be renewal again soon I"m sure. Hugs x

  4. Hi Tonya.. There is something about life that is so precious regardless of whether it is a human life or an animal that we mistakenly hit with our car. It bothers us and when it is a pet than I think perhaps it is a lesson for our children to learn that life happens to all. It is then that we can teach them that so long as we know Him and realize that He directs our paths...They can find comfort...

  5. Must have been a very moving experience - very profound questions indeed. Time can be so fleeting, so intense, so fast. A wonderful reminder to be as present as possible, every day, with those we love.

  6. Dear Tonya

    Our purpose, our journey...we have come here to experience so many lessons. Our family too have faced death with little farm animals and special precious pets. Each one catches my breath as I say good bye. I often try so hard to save as if I have the power. Its heart breaking isn't it. I love life infact, I celebrate its every moment. Special hugs and kisses at this time Tonya. Death is a very large question. Often far to big to grasp. I long to know it all someday..

    Love to you

  7. We have had similar experiences recently with our own hens. It is difficult & offers a true time of reflection and the miracle of life. A magnificent gift for every being...

  8. nothing like death to make us think about the purpose of life and living for Christ! i witnessed my mom's passing from cancer when she was the young age of 51... very bittersweet...

  9. Oh Tonya - I am so sorry about the loss of such treasured friends! We went through similar about a month ago, and oh - the loss of innocence we felt even as we had the great honor of helping beloved pets to the next world...

  10. Hi, My children experienced the sadness of losing chickens and a guineapig over the last couple of years and I have been so amazed with the sensitive way that they dealt with it. In my job as a nurse, i have had the priviledge of spending the last moments of life with peope four times. It always made me feel very close to God and very peaceful that i was able to offer companionship at that time and comfort to relatives that their loved one was not alone at that moment, as they hadn't been able to make it there. It makes us feel very vulnerable I think, but I truly believe that children need to experience this to prepare them for the bigger losses that lie ahead. Exploring it now helps them to understand the processes that everyone goes through in grief. Having lost animals seemed to make it easier for them to talk about their great grandfather lost this year also.
    Big hugs to all, Jen

  11. Sorry for your losses, it is never easy whether it be a pet or even a wild animal. This is sometimes a hard lesson for children to grasp and I myself don't always understand it.

    We too have lost several animals on our farm this year, one being our beloved horse and the other my cow. Both were sudden and unexpected( the cow had an injury that simply couldn't be fixed, our horse had a sudden illness)

    It does make us realize just how short a time we have here.

    Some people don't believe that animals got to heaven, but I do and hope that when I am someday "Home", I'll see all of our beloved pets again. Again so sorry for the losses.

  12. I'm so sorry to read your news. But I'm also very glad that both your kitty and your hen were with loving companions when they "crossed over". It's so hard to believe that death is part of life. It's easier if you believe that it's a transition from the life we know to another life, though. And I agree with Kelle - I very much hope to see my beloved pets once again (along with some beloved people). I know you'll help your children wisely through their grieving.

  13. I'm sorry to hear this. I, too, in my late 40's, had experienced the first passing of a beloved pet as she took her last breath and last heartbeat. I've never been around death at such a time. I am glad to have been able to hold her and love her to the last. It still chokes me up after a few years. It's never easy. I believe we'll see our loved ones in the next life. I don't believe our pets will be left out of a joyous reunion in heaven.

  14. How sad!! I have experienced the death of my cat when I was young. It was terrible. I hope your children will cope with the pain

  15. Death always evokes such mixed feelings...there is the sadness, the pain of loss, and yet there is also the JOY of death...the peaceful passing of a loved one, and the reminder to ourselves that we need to fully embrace every moment of this life. We've lost many family members over the years, and I've been lucky enough to get to see death up close and very personal...I think in our culture we almost want to sweep death under the carpet, and so it's wonderful to get to be with the dying and see the process for what it is. At every death I've attended I'm always just awestruck by the sense of total peace that fills the's as powerful as being at a birth, (as it is a birth in a sense...into the afterlife)! It's important for our children too to get to see death up close and personal...that way they won't grow up with all the societal "hang ups" about death...and they can know that it's alright to feel sadness and pain, of course, you always miss that person or animal who is gone, but it's a natural part of this life and an important and valuable teaching tool for us all.

    Good luck, and many blessings to your family as you cope with your losses.

    xo maureen

  16. Tonya,

    I'm sorry for the loss. We lost our dog last year, and it was very difficult. Loss is a very difficult thing and life a very precious gift. I hope that your little ones are doing OK. Wishing you the best during this tough time.

  17. Tonya, our Pastor preached on death yesterday. A sobering sermon, but really one filled with joy! When we have Jesus we know we're we shall spend eternity:-) The Bible tells us our life is "but a vapor" and that our lives should "emulate Christ", sharing the gospel and message of salvation to the lost:-) I hope the littles are okay.

  18. I am sorry about your losses. That is a lot to experience in such a short time. I find myself pondering the same questions. My oldest daughter is asking a lot of questions about death. My husband and I find ourselves trying to answer her questions in a way she can handle and in a reassuring manner.
    Sending you hugs . . . .