Beautiful Good Bye's, A Life Well Lived
The diagnosis, was not a shock. She had been seeming really sick for about two weeks, distant, droopy eyes, lowered head, and slow gait that was so different from her usual. My intuitive self very clearly feeling exactly where her pain and heaviness was, even before the vet arrives. “I think she has some kind of growth inside that is hurting her,” I explain.
Quickly my suspicions were confirmed. A huge mass that would not be treatable. My body reacts, as if I stepped on an open electrical wire, jolts of shock hitting me everywhere all at once. It is one thing to intuit something, it's a whole other thing to hear it as actually true. Tears do not come, just the reality of what I suspected. We finish up and get her into her stall to allow the anesthesia wear off. I go up to the house to make dinner, as the kids are waiting. I was not ready to share the news.
As darkness came, so did mine. I fed everyone, did my chores, and put a bucket in her stall to sit with her and "just be" with what was to be. Then the tears flowed, lots of tears, and such utter gratitude for her incredible sweet self. Daisy was like a dog in a horse suit. Gentle, kind, and craved attention especially from children. When kids would come for sessions, either needing emotional healing, connection, or practice understanding social feedback, she was always safe and deeply connected.
I thanked her through my tears as she stands a few feet away. She steps toward me, slowly, one hoof and then the other, obviously sore from the exam. Craning her neck, she slowly and ever so gently reaches her nose towards my face as the tears fall, Nuzzling my face, she circles her upper lip, as if to wipe my tears, one cheek and then the other. It’s okay I hear from her. I’m ready to be at peace. I cherish our time together and I love you.
Her gesture of unconditional love and care for me touches me deeply. My own mother long since gone, I have not felt this kind of love in 20 years. It fills my being so fully, so intensely, it feels like I want to explode with happiness and sadness all at the same time. She steps back onto the softer, thicker shavings, and takes a hugh sigh of what feels like resignation, peace, and an absolute need to rest. I stand, grab my bucket, and head back upstairs to the family. As I turn out the light in the barn, she settles for a warm comfortable night's sleep, knowing that her relief is near.
I lay down in the grass with her on Sunday, as she napped contentedly, soaking up the sunshine, and the coolness of the moist ground as it contemplates the end of winter. I wanted to capture everything of her. Profoundly aware of the details of what I was feeling and seeing, the wind seemingly blowing her golden orange mane one strand at a time, her nostrils expanding and contracting, open, close, open close as she slept, and her gorgeous shimmering multicolored orange coat contrasted against the green grass, I am in awe.
She is beyond comfortable, medicated so as to not be in pain, and relishing the delicious uber presence that only a horse can, in this moment and this breath, and this moment and the next breath, as she and the other horses do every day as a matter of fact. This is the space of miracles. Here, we remember we are alive, and we find our utter gratitude and clarity of our why's and what's. I wanted to absorb every molecule of her on this last day. And suddenly, it all felt complete.
Tomorrow is her morning. I smile through my tears with such gratitude that even in her pain, she serves me deeply. And in the utter in the sadness of such a loss, there was such beauty of this last day for her. A life well done Daisy, well done.