Herman, a sweet and loving man we only just got to know, passed away this morning in a local hospital.
I am grateful to have met him, and grateful to have introduced him to you, so many of you got to know him also. He seemed an especially warm and good man to me. I noticed that Red was skittish and anxious around him, something that can sometimes be a sign of serious illness.
Herman's good nature and his great love of animals was touching. He had a mug with his cat's photo on it by his bed. I appreciate that Mandi Mulready from the Mansion staff brought him a stuffed lamb on Saturday that someone from the blog sent to me to give him. He had it by his side at the end. I have several goat sculptures, photos and paintings I planned to bring him when he came home next week, as was expected.
I had hoped to see him in the hospital before he came back. He had lost a great deal of weight and was struggling to recover from some serious falls.
I have been doing hospice and therapy work for a decade, and while I am certainly not hardened to death, I am used to it, and had a lot of training in how to deal with it. I hope and trust those of you who read this are not unduly disturbed by it, death is, as many of you already know, an integral part of the therapy process and of work with the aged. It is a recurring theme of my writing about it on the blog.
It is not drama for me, it's life. That is how I deal with it. I feel nothing but good about Herman.
Make sure to be thoughtful and take care of yourselves. It is easy to attach to people, even in this way, it can be painful to experience their death, even as it is as much a part of life as breathing. We all need good boundaries. There was something about Herman that touched me and many others. It is part of it, as I have learned not only in therapy work but in my life on the farm. I have learned not to hide from death but to accept it.
The staff at the Mansion never gives up hope, they were working to get Herman home right up to the end. Their lives are emotional roller coasters and they never seem to lose heart.
I have learned in this work that death is sad, but not only sad. My brief times with Herman were beautiful and uplifting He was much loved by the staff there. Herman was a gift, and you were a gift to him. He was able to feel great love despite great pain.
I hope you feel good about reaching out to him in so many ways. You brightened his final days.
I have a tin goat sculpture someone sent me, I'll bring to the Mansion, perhaps they can hang it up somewhere. I have an idea where it should go, I'd like Mandi Mulready to have it, she drove to the hospital to give Herman the baby goat.
Herman had some special and very happy moments this past week or two. He loved seeing Red, we had some good talks. I loved hearing about his goat farm – he spoke of it with great passion. I appreciate Treasure Wilkinson bringing her five-day old baby goat to Herman in his room, he loved that goat so much, I am told he never stopped talking about it. Treasure was planning a visit on Monday.
I thank those of you who wrote letters, sending pictures and paintings and goat sculptures for Herman, I know there are many animal lovers at the Mansion who would appreciate the things you sent to Herman. I intend to continue doing this work, of course, there is so much joy and satisfaction and meaning to it, and I hope you will continue to join me and Red.
Godspeed, Herman, I pray your journey to the other side is full of light and joy, I believe animals are spirit creatures, and I imagine you holding that baby goat in the other world. She is a magical helper for you.