It’s time for saying goodbye: Tilly 6/09~3/6/16


Saying goodbye, going away
Seems like goodbye’s such a hard thing to say
Touching a hand, wondering why
It’s time for saying goodbye
Saying goodbye, why is it sad?
Makes us remember the good times we’ve had
Much more to say, foolish to try
It’s time for saying goodbye

Don’t want to leave, but we both know
Sometimes it’s better to go
Somehow I know we’ll meet again
Not sure quite where, and I don’t know just when
You’re in my heart, so until then
Wanna smile, wanna cry

It’s time for saying goodbye

from The Muppets Take Manhattan

It seems like I’m so often writing about death in these posts: the deaths in my family that happened early in my life, the deaths of some of the patients that Rites of Passage took care of and just recently I wrote about the burial service for the oldest member of the community that I live in.

Maybe it’s because Death is my teacher. It has seemed to surround me since I was 9 years old…. but in fact, I think Death is everyone’s teacher.

I have heard the spiritual teachers say, “Find Death before Death finds you”

And Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said, “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Today, here at Hobbiton, we’re meeting death again, this time it’s our milk cow Tilly, the sweetest of beings….eli:tilly who we somehow believed, would be with us for a long, long time.

She laid down a few days ago and no matter what we tried, she couldn’t get up. She would have been 7 years old in June and she was due to have her second calf also in June.

“We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle…”

-Irving Townsend

Yesterday I sat with her and begged her not to leave us. After days of lethargy, she had a spurt of energy and what seemed to me like moments of joy, almost as if she were laughing in the way a cow might laugh. Even though she couldn’t get up, for about 30 minutes, she tossed her rubber water bowl high in the air, ate a large amount of hay, drank water and licked her salt block

Then she lay on her side, preparing to die.

I couldn’t believe it—minutes before, we had felt so hopeful and happy thinking she was recovering but then I remembered something Elisabeth Kubler-Ross had said in our film, We’re Almost Home Now. She had been talking about critically injured children and how a few days before they die they often become very calm, very quiet or they wake up out of a coma…and everyone says “Look she’s going to make it” “But”  Elisabeth said,“ they don’t understand, this is like the calm before the transition.”

Also in the same film is an interview with the mother of a 9 year old boy who died of leukemia. Kevin was in the hospital, very weak, very sick, his mom was by his side. Suddenly, she said, he seemed to ‘perk up’ and he sang her a song, Saying Goodbye from The Muppets Take Manhattan. At that moment, she thought “He’s getting better, he’s going to make it.” Only later, looking back, did she understand that he was saying his final goodbye.TILLY:SANTAWhat I will remember about Tilly is her gentleness, her sweetness and her sensitivity. A few weeks ago, I saw her reach her long tongue threw the fence and lick Shiloh, our wolfdog on his mouth.  I saw her do that with our horses too.TILLY GATE WAITING

Above all though, I remember something that happened a few years ago, something that I never would have believed if I hadn’t seen it. My companion, Jody Armijo always milked her faithfully twice a day and we were told that Tilly would come to think of him as her calf.jody milk june '14 Not too long after she came to live with us, Jody was thrown from a horse and badly injured — he was in ICU for a few days.

A friend came to help milk during those days that Jody was in the hospital and as I was feeding Tilly her hay and oats, I saw a big tear fall from her eye and trickle down her furry cheek.tilly bearI’ll miss you Tilly….I wish you didn’t have to go and I’m so sorry for the times we took you for granted, believing there would always be another day. I didn’t realize until now all the things we learned from you…a lot about milking and caring for a milk cow but mostly about unconditional love, the pure unconditional love you brought to us.




Jody Armijo with El Torro Armijo and Tilly

In her best times, Tilly provided us with between 4 and 6 gallons of milk a day, helping in our efforts to be self sustaining…..

jody-close-pourjody pouringmilk.stilllife2

Below is a beautiful film clip from Eckhart Tolle titled “Death and the Eternal” I never find comfort in the  overly used, maybe well meaning but meaningless words “She’s in a better place.” [how do they know?} but rather in words like these..

8 thoughts on “It’s time for saying goodbye: Tilly 6/09~3/6/16

  1. Thank you Elaine and Marian, about one true friend and passages into death, saying goodbye
    and paying it forward, Beautiful series of songs and clips.


  2. Cindy and Jody, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I am so thankful that I had the chance to meet and touch Tilly, and to feel the tenderness of this precious being. May you be comforted by knowing that others are with you in Spirit. Peace to you both, Kathy


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  4. They are not just animals…they ARE FAMILY.
    It seems that we are so much more connected to their pureness. They have no ego.
    No ulterior motive…just love. Just Love.
    They are truly our teachers.
    I always believe with all my heart that they are now our angels…they protect us….whether they are physically here or in Spirit. Yes, they are the best teachers.

    My heart is with you all.
    Stephanie & the entire pack
    Aug. 2nd, 2016


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