Saying Goodbye is Hard

Slim Randles is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a thoughtful piece about saying goodbye to things and people and pets we love. I almost didn’t post it because it made me cry when I read it. I could have used last week’s Home Country column, which was humorous, but this one fits my state of mind right now. I have been saying goodbye to some of my animals. My goat, Lucy, died. Banjo and Marie, the horse and sheep, went to a new home, as did my dog Hannah. I only had her for a couple of months, but I got quite attached to her. She did go to a good home out here in the country, where she will be much happier than going to the city. So that makes me feel better about my decision. Still, I miss her.

Sometime in the near future, I will be saying goodbye to Grandma’s Ranch, which has been my home for 16 years now. I hope I can do all that with the grace that Aunt Ada exhibits. We can wallow in the sadness all these “endings” create, or we can move on with a pragmatic attitude. Which doesn’t mean we ignore the sadness. We feel it. Cry a little. Or cry a lot. But then we step out of that dark place into a new place, a new adventure.

That’s what I am trying to do.

Desdemona died sometime in the night. Aunt Ada had had the cat since she was a tiny kitten, and she was naturally heartbroken. So was Boots, Desdemona’s partner in crime and play and food and everything else that makes life worthwhile for two old cats.

Image courtesy of Pet Bucket

Through her tears, Aunt Ada wondered if she could’ve noticed something or had done something differently that would have given Desdemona back to her for a while longer, but there just wasn’t anything. The cat had looked good at bedtime, and was gone before the sun came up.

What if? Well, what if she’d done this or that? Would it have saved the cat? No, of course not.

Even if your heart is breaking, you have to look at things logically. Cats get old and cats die. So do people. Aunt Ada Sandiford is old. Very old to some ways of thinking. But she still putters around the house and does her own shopping and cooking. She makes it to church every Sunday, too. Years ago she sang in the choir, but she stopped doing that when she discovered her voice had gotten old.

So she called a good friend and asked her if she would look after Boots if she died before he did.

There, that was something I could do. And she went quietly out in the back yard with the shovel and said goodbye to her old friend Desdemona.

Sometimes there’s nothing left to say except I love you.

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Brought to you by new book The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List. Look for it at

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Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here on the blog, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared with us.

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