A memorial post for Liam the ram

On April 25th, a freaky little storm came through our farm.  The sky darkened. Wind whipped up from one direction and then another.  Thunder and lightning followed.

Without warning, the gale disappeared as quickly as it arrived.   Five minutes later it came back.  Then it vanished.  Then it came back again.  Like I said:  freaky.  I've never seen a storm like that.  I hope I don't again.

The first time the sky darkened, anxiety seeped into the core of my being.  I'm a little kid about storms. This one was worse than usual.

The second time the sky darkened, my brother called to tell us my sister-in-law was losing her battle with leukemia.

The third time the sky darkened, I looked out and our ram, Liam, was having a seizure. He'd been hit by a jolt of lightning.

Compared to the news about my brother's wife, I didn't have it in me to express my feelings over what was happening to Liam.  I went to him and comforted him and called the vet.  No one expected him to live.

The next morning, I went out early, prepared for bad news.  Instead, Liam kicked his legs and looked up at me with trusting and vulnerable eyes.  I helped him up and he stumbled a little.  Then he went to his food and started eating.  I couldn't believe it.

I kept checking on him that day and I worried when he didn't respond as usual.  After some trial and error, I determined that the big guy had gone completely deaf. I had to touch him to get his attention.

The personality (sheepality?) changes in Liam also startled me.  Once independent and stubborn, our ram became sweet and affectionate. The fear in his eyes settled down when I approached and a hand against his nose made him quit shaking.

Liam seemed to be getting better.

Last Friday, June 3rd, Liam had another seizure.  He got up one more time, on shaky legs.  He leaned into me and ate from my hands.  He died the next day.  The lightning strike caused neurological damage from which he couldn't recover. I still find myself looking for him in his pen.  I miss him.


  1. I was blinking away tears which finally won and spilled over. So much loss. To have been given those last days with Liam was a blessing, mixed though it was. In the face of deep loss, we band together and keep the world turning with casseroles, tea and bundt cakes. At least you were spared the casseroles and bundt cakes. Thank you for letting us know Liam.

    Take care,

  2. Thanks, Jess. It's been such a rough spring. Maybe summer will be better.

  3. That's so sad. Thank you for sharing the beautiful story. I had goats growing up and I could always tell based on their "personality" when they were sick.

    RIP Liam: He was a fighter.

  4. I'm so sorry! I'm glad you got a reprieve with Liam, but the hope hurts when it goes, doesn't it?


  5. Oh, Johanna, I'm so sorry. About your sister-in-law, about Liam. Indeed, certain seasons feel as if they're all about loss--I hope your summer is much better. (But I can't leave this page without telling you that your photo at the top is quite stunning.) xoxo

  6. Thank you for your kind words, Sara. And yes, animal behavior speaks volumes.

  7. Thank you, Marian. You're always here for me. I so appreciate your friendship.

  8. Thank you, Amy. I took that photo when we'd just pulled in our driveway, just as the storm arrived. The curve of the front windshield made it look like the silo was tipping and that's so much what my world felt like that day--like it all must be an illusion, a trick of mirrors and light.


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