I wrote this blog in November, 2016, shortly after we said goodbye to Jesse and Wrangler. With so much loss, I wasn't able to post it then.
It's been a week since we said goodbye to Jesse and Wrangler. We had hoped that they would be with us longer. But their time came sooner than we expected.
Our veterinarian was out two weeks previously. Pete, Dr. Kennedy and I agreed that that was not the day. The pair were enjoying the sun and grooming each other. Maybe it would be in a week, a month, several months or more. But today was not the day. Pete and I were relieved. The horses were enjoying the day. There was peace.
Just two weeks later we were faced with the need to say goodbye to them. Jesse injured her leg and it was severe. She had been laying down a lot to release the pressure on her knee. There was a large bulge above her knee and she was limping badly. We treated her with bute daily over the week but it did not help. The vet felt that with the severity of the injury, her age and winter coming that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to give her quality of life. Jesse was declining and it was becoming clear to us that there were no humane solutions and we needed to seriously think about euthanasia.
We had the vet out on a friday afternoon, after I got off work. I've been present for the euthanasia of 15 other equines, and knew what to expect. The drop is dramatic, if one is not prepared for this.
It was so hard to say goodbye to Jesse. She was our first horse, for either one of us. She lived with us for 23 years. She was 33 years old.
Wrangler had come to us in 2012 when his person had died. He was almost completely blind. He soon bonded with Jesse. She was his bell horse, his eyes, his trust. He had developed cancer but one of our greatest concerns was how dependent he had become on Jesse. None of us would be able to replace the comfort and safety she gave him.
From the time she came to live with us to the very last day of her life, she nudged me with her head. As I stood by her crying with emotions of grief, guilt, uncertainty, certainty and utter sadness she pushed me off balance with her head and in that moment I knew it was okay. She was telling me that it was her time to go home. It was so painful.
Standing there, I felt the presence of Wrangler's person as she smiled and reassured that Wrangler was simply going home too. He would be going to her and staying with Jesse. Jesse would reunite with Apple, Bunny, Joseph, Bryce and so many others. River and Cisco would be there to greet her too.
The loss of so many in such a short amount of time is leaving me enveloped in a shroud of grief. In a matter of weeks we have lost Prancer, the goat, Sammy Tim, the biting bunny, Raven our senior dog, Trixie a senior who was given a joyful refuge for the last two years of her life and now Jesse and Wrangler.
There are bulbs planted over Jesse and Wrangler's grave. In the spring when they bloom they will bereminders of the love. I will leave this blog with a prayer I say, sometimes sing, for each of those who go home.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye