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To love and to lose.

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1 To love and to lose. on Fri May 03, 2013 12:29 pm

uno

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I want to start by thanking everyone for your words of support at this time of losing my young horse, Chevy. I know that we all struggle to find the right words to convey how sorry and sad we feel for someone when tragedy strikes. I want to let you know that each of you said exactly the perfect thing and it was all a hug for my hurting heart.

In our short and bewildering life with horses, we have had the dead stock truck pull into our yard 3 times to remove a dead horse.

THe first two times due to health and injury, the decision to end a life was just that. A decision. A gut wrenching decision, but one made with the best interest of the horse utmost in our minds. When we cannot cure, we will not allow suffering. Those two deaths were very hard. But I have to say this death, at only two years of age, has been much much worse.

I can best convey it by asking you to imagine you are out with your family, eating at your favourite spot like you always do. The waitress, who knows your name, brings you your order without even having to ask because she knows you that well. The day is going along like every other day when a huge man with bulging arm muscles rushes in from off the street, storms your table and punches you straight in the face as hard as he can. Nothing, NOTHING can have prepared you to deal with the utterly bizarre, out of nowhere, pointless random insanity of it. You will recover from the broken nose and split lip long before you recover from the senselessness of it. You will wonder, with a painful disbelief, WHY? Why on earth would this total stranger randomly run in and slug me? We humans do very poorly with unanswered questions.

One minute I was watching my horse eat. Stumble. Fall. Stagger. Fall again and die. It took 60 seconds. 60 seconds earlier I had given her a scratch on her withers. 60 seconds later I was pressing my ear on her chest and searching for a heartbeat that wasn't there. Shock does not convey the situation.

That horse was a HUGE part of the shape of my days. A goal, a project, rewarded with the energy and bright eyes of a living being. The other two horse deaths were sad and we mourned. But this is different for me on a whole other scale.

In discussing this with someone, they said it is foolish and dangerous to make any one thing that important that its loss can devastate you to this extent. This person (who is compassionate and kind) said that even her partner cannot ever hold such a focus in her life that she could allow herself to be so devastated by his loss. SO she keeps him in a certain place in her life, but maintains other things of equal importance so his eventual loss will not be so devastating.

I wonder, is that a better way to be? TO have no one thing in your life SO important that it's death is sad but not paralyzing? If you live that way, are you really being smart, or are you being selfish? It's true, the more something matters to you, the more vulnerable you are to devastation. If the goal of your entire life is to never feel the pain of life and loss, then I guess you have to live an arm's length life. I guess if you never want to be floored by grief and shock and struggle through that awful journey, then you have to make sure that nothing and no one is ever that important. Keep everything in its place so you never have to hurt over it.

Frankly, that is not how I roll.

If you are a being that I love, you matter. And I would rather risk the 100% hurt, so I can give and feel the 100% love. Because to only risk 50% hurt means I can only make you 50% important. That you must always be kept 'over there', slightly apart, somewhat away, so when you leave/die, I am able to get on with my life without too much mess. To me, that is a sheltered, self interested life. To live that way is to be more concerned with my own pain prevention than it is to enjoy the full banquet that life offers.

Would I undo this bewildering experience I'm going through? The only way to do that is to have cared much less about that horse, to have made her a much smaller portion of my life. To have focussed on the things that do not have beating hearts, things that aren't so fragile, and by doing so, make sure I am protected from death and pain. Would I change the past two years so now I could shrug and say, she was just a horse? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!

I felt I was being gently chastised for not branching my views beyond this sloped, bedrock acreage. That my tiny little existence of chickens, dog, horses, garden and family makes me narrow and frankly, stupid. That I am a small minded person living a small life that is not career oriented and of course these horrible things are going to knock me down, because I set myself up for it by making these things the centre of my life. Am I devastated, well of course I am because it's my own fault, duh!

But I choose this life and I choose the staggering pain and disorientation and I would not undo one single day with that horse. Not one kiss on the nose, not one scratch on the withers, not one time I could say to Horsey Daughter, gee, look, my horse responds to hand signals, guess that makes me the superior horse mom, neener, neener. I would not change one single thing. Call me stupid.

2 Re: To love and to lose. on Fri May 03, 2013 5:56 pm

Susan


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Uno, aside from my kids there is one thing I loved more than anything in this world to this very day. My horse. His name was Zachery. He was my first horse. Pure black. 16.3 hands tall and a throughbred. He was my nest freind. I could sit on him with no bridle or saddle and ride him. I could play with him in the paddock. He would start at one end. I wod start at the other. We would run full tilt toward each other and when we met he reared straight up and I jumped toward him (kids are stupid lol). He was not a fancy show horse. My trainer said I needed something more so I eventually got a fancy, phenomenal horse. But I would never let zachery go. He was the one I truly enjoyed riding and grooming and just hanging out with. He was treated the same as my show horse and had the best of everything. I was in my late teens and he was the one I went to with my drama. Crying on his withers or just hanging out, figuring out life. One day, he colicked. The vets came and tubed him. Have him banamine etc. said to watch him and I did. Awhile later the banamine started to wear off. He rolled once in his stall. I got him up and started walking him while the vets were on their way. I know now be had twisted his gut already. We got him in the stock trailer and started for the college. He must have went down a dozen times before we got there. The surgeons were already there but the anesthesiologist wasn't. We waited and walked him for two hours. They started surgery and too much of his bowel had necrosed. They couldn't save him. Part of me died with him. I quit riding after that. It was never the same for me again. I loved that horse and watching him suffer was devastating. It affects me to this day. I am glad she didn't suffer uno. That's the only thing worse than losing them. But I am sorry. I truly understand your loss and it's horrible. Something about a horse, a special horse that is unique. I don't think I have ever opened myself up for that kind of pain again. But I do love those memories. They were special times. And I am proud to have been owned by him. Hugs uno

3 Re: To love and to lose. on Fri May 03, 2013 6:02 pm

Susan


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Sorry, not meaning to high jack with my own story, uno. I just know that loss you feel and it goes deep. I hope you can enjoy her memory once the grief subsides a little. I'm sure your slinky little girl would have wanted that. Xoxo



Last edited by Susan on Sat May 04, 2013 8:20 am; edited 1 time in total

4 Re: To love and to lose. on Fri May 03, 2013 7:15 pm

ChicoryFarm

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uno wrote:
In discussing this with someone, they said it is foolish and dangerous to make any one thing that important that its loss can devastate you to this extent. This person (who is compassionate and kind) said that even her partner cannot ever hold such a focus in her life that she could allow herself to be so devastated by his loss. SO she keeps him in a certain place in her life, but maintains other things of equal importance so his eventual loss will not be so devastating.

I don't share this experience with many people, especially those I've never met but I'm feeling moved to do so now. This is for you Uno.

One beautiful sunny day, five years ago, I was out with my husband and our sons playing on a rope swing that his son had built in the woods . One minute we were having a wonderful time together and the next minute my husband was lying on the ground 15 feet below unconscious and struggling with each breath having landed head first onto a small cluster of rocks. I held him for half an hour until the ambulance arrived encouraging him to keep breathing.

He died from a massive brain haemorrhage a number of hours later.

No amount of distancing or keeping him at arms length prepared me for the trauma nor the sudden loss of someone that I loved and shared my daily life with. I had lots of other things on the go and he was not 'my world'. But yes, I loved him very much and he was a great man.

With all due respect I wish your friend luck if she should ever be dealt this hand. My guess is that she hasn't........with a human or an animal.

Your loss and pain is real and valid because it is what you feel. And when you lose something you care for suddenly and are witness to it, it takes on a different form of grief. No more important than anyone else who has had a chance to say goodbye or wasn't there to witness the death but it is different.

Don't let it take you out but grieve as long as you need to. Your horse was fortunate to be as loved as it was by you.......and isn't everything worthy of being loved by someone - animal or human. These experiences stretch your heart in unimaginable ways. Take this experience of yours and turn it into medicine that heals....when you're ready.

5 Re: To love and to lose. on Fri May 03, 2013 7:38 pm

Susan


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Wow Chickory. You said it much better than I could have. I'm so sorry. But thank you for telling your story.

6 Re: To love and to lose. on Fri May 03, 2013 9:18 pm

ChicoryFarm

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Susan wrote:Wow Chickory. You said it much better than I could have. I'm so sorry. But thank you for telling your story.

Your welcome Susan and I don't mean to hijack the thread with my own story but I felt it was appropriate. And back on the topic of Uno's grief, we have a good friend who has been recently diagnosed with ALS and he shared with us recently that one of the biggest losses he's had, aside from his diagnosis and what it all means, was the death of his horse that he still misses dearly.

The loss of his horse changed him, in the way these experiences can, but we who are left behind must keep moving forward, never to be the same again...but that is life. And I think that is one of the lessons - not to distance ourselves so we don't feel the pain but to embrace all of it.

Anyways, enough said by me. I love you

7 Re: To love and to lose. on Fri May 03, 2013 9:40 pm

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What you said Uno is real , some people like to not look at the big picture as relistically as you do and thus distance them selves as far as they can within there own comfort zone .Sadly they also push people away ,and we as human beings need to feel all the emotions involved in this life and that includes loss's of what we hold dear to our hearts .Sadly these people will someday be lonely and wonder why ? ....so feel the emotions ,they make us who we are ,if you didn't mourn ,then what would that make you or anyone of us ?






The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity - designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny of man.

The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity

I would rather live and love where death is king than have eternal life where love is not.

8 Re: To love and to lose. on Fri May 03, 2013 11:57 pm

uno

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Chicory. Face to face I would be speechless after what you have shared. Speechless and so sad for you. But to be speechless on line just shows as no reply, so I reply. To say I'm speechless.

Horses do seem to be special in some way that I can't define. I think for me the specialness of Chevy was that I wasn't afraid of her. I don't really like horses. THey scare me. I am not comfortable with them. But Chevy was small, not over 12 hands. A little horse, she did not intimidate me. Oh she tried, she pinned her ears and gave me the stink-eye, but she was a puff. All show. The only one she ever released her attitude on was the dog, and even then she never killed him, when she clearly could have, 20 times a day!

Chicory, despite how truly horrible I feel, I know that I will continue on, changed forever in some way, but still wanting to go forward. I think in your situation most of us would wake up the next morning mad as hell that we had to go on, when we bloody well didn't want to! The horror and shock would be accompanied by a much deeper anger and rage that your heart keeps beating when you wish the damn thing would just stop. There are times in people's lives, the loss of a spouse or god forbid, the loss of a child, when your continued living feels like a cruel punishment. I watched my horse die, true, it was a horrid shock and a ridiculous, bizarre accident. But I never thought, I don't know how I'll go on. If I were to lose my husband or child like that, I would not want to go on! And that makes the two events worlds apart.

We can all agree that a deep and profound shift takes place when that special animal leaves us. But when it's a person, it's a whole different thing. The two cannot compare.

9 Re: To love and to lose. on Sat May 04, 2013 7:16 am

ChicoryFarm

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uno wrote:
We can all agree that a deep and profound shift takes place when that special animal leaves us. But when it's a person, it's a whole different thing. The two cannot compare.

Of course the depth of pain and trauma is profoundly different with a human that you love but I understood your friend to say, human or animal, we need to distance ourselves so as not to suffer too deeply when these things happen.

My guess is she has not experienced what either of us have (animal or human - regardless of the species and the difference in loss) and so can lovingly suggest that.

Big hug to you this beautiful sunny morning.

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