Silly old fool

Dec 19th, 2007 | By | Category: Personal Columns

I stood last evening in Dalkey with tears running down my cheeks. I realized from a shop window that Mog had died. I am a silly ass.


Mog was an important character in our house in the early 90s. ‘Mog on Fox Night’ was one of the favourite books when the children were small, the antics of the fox cubs coming into Mog’s house causing hilarity and curiosity.

I had gone to the Spar to buy milk and stopped at the bookshop window. The shop was closed and darkened but there was plenty to see in the window, prominent among the books displayed was “Goodbye Mog” with Mog heading starwards.

Checking Amazon, I discovered that poor Mog actually died five years ago, I am very slow in catching up with news.

Why the death of a fictional cat should trigger tears, I’m not sure.

The battle against depression at this time of year is always difficult, the lack of daylight and the high emotional pressure attached to Christmas make it an uneasy time.

Mog is attached to memories of painful times in parish ministry, not that the people were difficult, but there were times of isolation and an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Ministry in traditional rural communities is just like that at times.

Maybe it was just the accumulation of a lot of sadness, culminating with burying a little white coffin last Saturday.

Clergymen are not meant to stand in the street in tears. I drove up through Killiney village thinking myself a complete eejit.

I understand “Goodbye Mog” is a very sensitive treatment of death and dying. I will buy a copy next time I am in Dalkey

Leave a comment »

  1. Nothing silly about Tears Ian.
    Tears are salty, and salt is healing.

    I shed a few myself this morning for a good Samaritan neighbour as her husband was taken to hospital by Ambulance.

  2. You most certainly are not a silly old fool. Sometimes the strangest things cause an accumulative response. I barely cried when my father passed but repainting his bedroom before BabyBro moved in, or finding the odd golf ball in the back yard or even dusting a rather overly large bottle of Chivas that he won years ago can exact the same response. Maybe that little white coffin irked you more than you thought. How sad for that family. These things can’t happen without you feeling something. I am proud of your compassion (Oops, is that a sin?)

  3. If I remember it correctly Mog was tired, dead tired and felt like she could sleep forever so she did – that’s the beginning of the story. Make sure you read the rest. Angela and I – stupid pair – stood in the playcentre in tears over Mog’s death.

  4. I have stood in refugee camps and shanty towns unmoved. I have conducted tragic funerals and sat at bedsides as people have died, and remained dry eyed. It was daft that a silly book could produce such a response. I think I must be losing it!

  5. Hi Ian

    This is my first visit to your blog and I feel very privileged to have shared in that post. Mog was also a great favourite in our house and I’ve kept all her adventures safely stored away in the hope that one day I’ll be able to share them with a grandchild, or two!

    I don’t think you’re losing it at all, or a silly ass, or an eejit! I agree with you that this is a difficult time of year and most especially for those for whom day to day life is already a struggle. I’m sure your job is probably very draining emotionally. I think the fact that you can talk about how you feel is a great sign. We all need to lean on others at times to re-charge our batteries so that we can give more of ourselves back when needed. Thankfully Mog was there when you needed her. Good old Mog!

    Take care and I hope Christmas goes smoothly.


  6. Hi Steph,

    Perhaps I’m too long part of a culture where men gave no expression to any thoughts or feelings. I attended this morning, as a member of the congregation, the funeral of a young man who had committed suicide. There were rows of young men there standing completely impassive, they took no part in the service and displayed no emotion. Yet if they had been at a football match and their side had lost a cup final or had been relegated, they would ahve been entirely different – we’re an odd lot!

Leave Comment