Monday, May 06, 2024

Your heart and mine

How do we say goodbye? You are one of my oldest and most beloved friends. You ushered me from childhood into adulthood. You have walked beside me on this journey of life. We were kids together. We were young ladies together. We went to college together - though I think you got the sweeter (grass) part of that deal. We moved all over the United States together. We both had our second babies at almost the same time. We explored everything together. You have been through all of it, the good, bad, ugly and beautiful.

I sat down next to you and you laid your head on my lap last night. I stroked my favorite soft spot underneath your ear. I wet your face with my kisses and my tears. For over an hour I held you there and I told you, again, our story... 

You were born on the coldest night of the year. I slept in the barn for days waiting for your arrival, and finally I was forced by the frost to go indoors, at which point you made your grand entrance into the world. You were still wet when I wrapped my arms around your beautiful self and absorbed the unbelievable miracle that not only were you alive, a pure bay, but that you were mine to love, and hold and cherish for the rest of your life. So, in a sense, you were born into my arms. 💚

We were instantly inseparable. You would nicker for me in the mornings before we came out to feed and watch for me to come outside. I was absolutely smitten with all of you. You would sneak underneath the fence and go visit all the neighbors who all adored you. You were on the hunt for treats before you could really even chew them properly. 

My first ride on you was bareback with only a halter. I can still feel my first gallop on you - I thought I had wings! You did that - a lot - you gave me wings. 

You earned the nickname "Stink" because you were truly a Stinky teenager. When I came home from my first semester at college, you picked the lock to get out of your stall and come over to demand kisses and belly rubs. I quickly decided that if I was headed to college, then so were you, so I found a nearby farm where I could keep you and care for you when I wasn't in class. Krista and I made so many incredible memories during those years and you were in the thick of all of it. 

When Kris married me he accepted that "me" was actually "me + you". You never had to do much to win someone over and your sweetness, kindness, intelligence quickly won over your new dad too. 

And then came along your first baby, Caspian - Krista's little devil child. You taught me everything I absolutely needed to know about how NOT to parent a first born son. :-) You were the most doting, coddling, absorbed and devoted mommy a colt could ask for, but that boy needed a good spank or four and you refused. You were convinced that you had birthed God's gift to the world and he was confident of that "truth". He was probably about the most beautiful baby ever created, but I never expected anything less from you. And he actually turned out to be his own brand of a dream horse and Krista's heart horse, in spite of your best efforts. ;-)

Then, my first son was born and before he could even walk all he wanted to do was go to the barn to feed you and "his goats". You followed the "bucket man" toddling around the barn in just his onesie, snitching a morsel of his goat food (actually my homemade granola that Madigan would only eat if he thought it was goat food in a bucket) and I never worried that you would knock him over or step on him because you just never would. 

We were both pregnant with our second born babies together and you birthed first. It was another chilly evening and when that filly was born, she fell into my arms. I pulled off the birthing sac and saw a beautiful caramel colored spice cake with a white lightning strike marking running down her face. I thought, "Uh oh, this one is going to be spicy!" I wasn't wrong. You gave me my second heart horse and I love her to pieces. I promise to love her and hold her and cherish her all the days of her life.

I had two more babies and you went into training to be a therapeutic riding horse - you needed little training as you were naturally wired for it. I didn't know my third born would be severely autistic, but God did. So, after your short tenure on-loan to the therapy riding school, you immediately started helping me raise Lochlan. You always, instinctively, knew more about autism and what Lochlan needed than I did. You never stopped teaching me. You've taught all of my kids to ride and you've instilled in them a profound love and appreciation of horses. You've taught them what they should do and shouldn't do. You were much harder on my first born son than on your own, and I'm eternally grateful because you get the credit for the fine horsemen he and his brothers have become. 

I have always been so proud to call you mine. No one deserves a horse like you, and to be given 30 years to love you and be loved by you is something too wonderful to fathom. I don't know how to adult without you. It's like being forced to build a life as a different person. The grief I feel is not dissimilar to what I can imagine drowning would feel like. When we love deeply, we live fully, we gain the most beautiful portions of this broken world, we are constantly surprised by joy and we have the most to lose when the chapter ends. My beloved friend... thank you. For all of it.

Oh, Stink, I miss you so much. You took such good care of my babies. I promise I'll take good care of yours too. 

Now, I must learn to walk without you beside me. 

I will take the next step... 

And I will never stop loving you with all my heart. 


Anonymous said...

What a testament of love and devotion. I cannot stop my tears…

Anonymous said...

My heart aches for you - the beauty of the life you shared and the pain of the loss. My prayers are always with you. 🙏💔 Such cherished memories!