Sometimes you’ve got to dig a big hole


Digging a hole like this is a ton of work. Nothing about death is easy. It shouldn’t be.

Our family dog died only four hours ago. I rushed home from my job at the farm, and was actually going to drop the dog off at the vet clinic to have them take care of putting her down. Then, just 5 -10 minutes later, I planned to be high atop a ladder to finish a house-painting job and collect the cash. A dog dying in your arms has a way of knocking some sense into you. Death is never convenient.

Rather than rushing off to a job, I picked up a shovel and commenced digging. Resisting tears, I drenched this soil with sweat instead. It was really cathartic.

Then, each of us wrote our favorite memories of Tillie on this note, and placed it atop the cardboard casket we fashioned.


Our kids filled the hole back up. Tears were shed and feelings shared. It blows my mind to think that I nearly deprived my children of this.

We’ve been saying goodbye for about the past week. Here’s a note my daughter taped to the wall at Tillie’s height a couple days ago:

note 1

There has been lots of loss lately. Friendships, broken appliances, financial distress in multiple areas, and now this. Leading up to the dog’s death I was starting to feel sorry for us, and how life has seemed like a sad old-time country song of late. Now, not so much. Death, and any kind of loss, really, isn’t something to handle clinically, or somehow, sealed off and wholly other.

Perspective. Gratitude. Fortitude.

Well, now we’re having a little family night,  so I must go and be present. Until next time, take a look at our dog who was in this ancient blog post that has me cooling off in my underpants at the beginning of a typical workday for a telecommuter:

(Check out how our family collectively saved up for a new puppy here.)

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