Friday, July 01, 2016

Losing a Friend

The best part of horses....there are many best parts. I like to write about the best parts, but eventually the worst part catches up to us. The worst part is when we lose them. I'm writing about this part to share an important experience that I need to share about horses, some reasons I love them, and why they are so important to me.

We can never really be prepared for Losing them. Sometimes you know it's coming. When you have an old one in failing health and you know the time to make a tough decision is near. Sometimes it hits hard and fast and you feel it like a punch to the gut... neither is easy. Both are traumatic, Both, right after each other, incomprehensible.

I lost a beloved friend a few nights ago. So did Triscuit, the next morning. I was not prepared for my friend's passing. It forced me to relive a painful experience from my past where I lost another truly, best friend in a similar way. I knew what was coming walking the full length of the pasture to my friend the other evening. I've seen that stillness before-it's one you don't want to see the movement too. The movement reveals the end. I knew, I wanted to see him remain still. When I got to him, he knew and so I knew. You don't want to believe that it in these moments, even though deep down, you know it's the end of something.

I don't know if Triscuit was prepared. She should have been for her friend's passing. Copper's health has been on the decline, but Triscuit's loyalty, sheer will, and determination have been keeping her friend alive for awhile now. Copper would have long since been gone had it not been for Triscuit. I believe that Copper knew how much she meant to her, and so she lived as long as she possibly could... slowly dwindling away... in order to spare Triscuit the pain of living without her as long as she could possibly hold out. Triscuit needed to let Copper go.

Triscuit's job has been to care for Copper. To standby her friend, to wait for her...She has been a loyal, faithful, unfaltering, steadfast friend. Triscuit is still being that faithful friend to Copper. She is standing guard over her grave and that of my friend. They were buried together.

I started another long walk the following night in search of the grave site for them both, I knew it was going to be tough. I knew what seeing it would do to me...I've been there before.... I was again not prepared for what else I would find. As I walked by the giant tree and around the bend into the opening, I saw the large dirt mound. It hit me hard, as I expected. But as I walked closer, there was Triscuit. Standing quietly beside the mound facing me. She was still standing by her friend. guarding her, keeping watch. She was initially standing on the side my friend is buried on. As if to let me know, this is your watch. I knew what side her Copper was on by where she then continued to stand. This was confirmed to me later, where each was buried. But I knew Triscuit was telling me.We both sat for a long time with our friends and with each other. We needed that. Two gone, two still there. Four forever friends.

Although this was a heart-wrenching experience, there was a great power to it. It reminded me of core values and belief's that I need to believe in, that have been damaged by a decade of life experiences in the real world of adulthood. Commitment, Faithfulness, Loyalty, True Love, ....they do exist along with something far greater than ourselves....I felt it in that moment beyond a shadow of a doubt....Horses were my first teachers of these lessons, and Triscuit helped remind me of what I'd almost been lured into giving up on.

Goodness for the sake of goodness does exist!  Purity of heart and spirit does exist! Pure love in it's most selfless form does exist! Commitment and loyalty ARE possible! I've seen it in a scruffy, discarded, giveaway horse who befriended a fellow scruffy, pasture ornament. This moment clarified so many things for me that I've been struggling with. It enabled me and Triscuit to bond and share in the experience of mourning both of our friends, but it helped me believe in goodness again and purity of heart, in something greater than us both...I said out loud to Triscuit in that moment:

   "Triscuit, I am so sorry... you are still standing by your friend...I know you are hurting. I know you miss your friend. I lost a friend too Triscuit. I understand! You are the best horse on this place,...You are better than most people I've met on this planet! You are a good, honest, loyal friend Triscuit, and have taken care of your Copper. Now I'm going to take care of you! We now have to take care of each other while we are still here. This is going to hurt for a long time. We'll be there for each other. You are the absolute best and the very reason I love horses with every ounce of my soul! Thank you Triscuit"

Triscuit knows I'm hurting as much as she is. We understand each other's loss and pain. I believe that beyond a shadow of doubt! What I am surprised by is how Copper's loss affected me also. I've spent lots of time over the years caring for her. I've had time to prepare for her passing but I'm still not prepared. I miss her too. She was also a good, loyal friend to Triscuit to stay by her as long as she did. Copper needed to let Triscuit go a long time ago too, but loyalty, love, and true friendship made her fight to stay with her.

Walking out again to the site tonight...I needed to again...and I may still a few more times...I'd almost convinced myself that it was silly to think that this brown ghost of a pony would still be there. Until I rounded the bend and saw her again this evening by the site. Tonight though, she was focused on the last spot she saw her friend. In the woods. (See the Picture above). She kept standing by it and looking back at me as if to say, do you see her? Maybe she did see her...or maybe she is just missing her and wanting her to show back up? Regardless, I'm overwhelmed at the persistence and loyalty of this scruffy pony. She is far stronger than she looks. Her spirit is is is the raw, honest, powerful spirit of a horse, of a pure soul that is uncluttered by nonsense and focused on what is important.

It was in the moment, but also proof to me that they do feel, they do have emotion and are in touch with ours and tapped into something greater that they "understand." They have always been my guides, my guardian's, my examples of what is good and true. They are where I feel closest to that connecting force that is so powerful you do not question. They lead me back to me and show me who I MUST be. Connecting with them, connects me with myself, and that something greater which connects everything. This is why I fell in love with horses in the first place.

I never dreamed this whisp of a ghost pony could have such an impact. She has reset my course and strengthened my faith. I am honored that Triscuit sees me as one of her herd. That she trusts me enough to share this insight that is the very nature of what a horse is. All of my friend's.... the one's here on this planet....the one's who have gone on, are still with me. Still teaching me and still will teach me. This moment showed me a secret to life that is it's core. That has given me a strength and reason to stay the course and believe in something that will get me through when I need reassurance of what is important in this life! Triscuit just taught me one of my most valuable lessons. There will never be another like her to me either!

Don't underestimate the spirit of any horse... they have the potential to show you the value of what you need to see in life and in death.