Sunday Morning: On A Small Grief

Pets die.

That’s probably the thing that makes pets so costly. Not the fact that they have to eat, like, every day. Not the fact that they pee on the floor. Not the fact that they need a vet every year or so. It’s that they live only somewhere around a decade (maybe a little longer, if you’re lucky).

They’re part of the normal everyday fabric of a normal everyday life and they grow old and die and then they aren’t there. “Why do I do this to myself?”, I asked one time as the artisanal euthanasia agents came over to the house to do their work with one of our cats. And fell asleep that night with another of our cats under my hand, feeling the gentle purring rumble. Oh. Yeah.

Well, there’s a lovely childrens’ book that gets into the whole “having a pet is wonderful… oh, having a pet is the worst thing ever… oh, you know what? Having a pet is pretty good” evolution. It’s The Rough Patch, by Brian Lies.

Sunday Morning: On A Small Grief

It’s a story about Evan and his dog. Evan and his dog do everything together… games, chores, errands, books, and gardening. One day Evan’s dog dies and Evan begins to hate the garden that he and his dog cultivated together. And this is a story about what happens with the weeds that start growing in the newly malignly neglected garden in the wake of Evan’s grief.

Anyone who has had the honor of mourning a much-beloved pet will enjoy this book and it’s a good one to read with children who are only wrapping their heads and hearts around the grieving process for the first time. Lovely and moving pictures showing the friendship that you can have with a pet, exceptionally sad pictures showing what happens after the pet dies, and insightful pictures showing what happens as you move along from a such a devastating small grief.

Highly recommended.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?

(Image is the cover of the book, The Rough Patch, By Brian Lies)

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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5 thoughts on “Sunday Morning: On A Small Grief

  1. Honestly, having pets is maybe a microcosm of human life, and especially having them as a kid helps you learn (? as much as one ever can) to cope with the joys of relationship and the grief of death and saying stuff like “I’ll never love ever again because it hurts too much.”

    I lost a good friend very suddenly back in February and it still hurts when I think about it. And I’ve had other people in my life who have suffered and I’ve said “I wish I didn’t care about other people because it hurts when they are hurting or when they die.” But what are you going to do?

    And the whole world. The world is a terrible place but it’s also a wonderful place and I admit this year more than many I’ve ricocheted between absolute despair over things like the state of the world and joy with people that I love…

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  2. I haven’t written much about it, but we lost Murphy, our Labrador retriever, back in February. I once referred to him here as ‘one of the great loves of my life’. I cried more than I did when my dad passed away. It was one of the most emotionally exhausting experiences of my life, but we love dogs, and we persist. I will definitely purchase this for the next time we have to go through that hard process.

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  3. Losing pets is not fun. After our beloved dog Soup passed a few years ago, we waited. And then we talked. And then we looked. We saw a couple of cute little ones at the SPCA and C remarked: “wouldn’t two be nice…”

    And now we have Barnaby, the six million dollar Napoleon. More personality than you can shake a stick at.

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  4. I need to start reading again lest I, irrevocably, become my current living partner.

    On my list: Being Colloquial In Esperanto by David K. Jordan with gems like, “Metu viajn aferojn en la bluan cxambron, cxar tie mankas fantomoj. – Put your things in the blue room, since there’re no ghosts there.”

    Time Loops by Eric Wargo. Precognition, jouissance, and the Minkowski block universe. One can read more of his stuff at for an idea of what he’s driving at with his maverick theory. Also he’s a materialist and one of the friends I’ve made while writing at The Anomalist.

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