I spent most of the day helping a best friend help her best horse leave this life, after 27 good years. To say I'm drained would be an understatement, and it's nothing to what she's feeling (actually, I'm hoping she's asleep by now, and getting a respite from the grieving). By "helping," I mean that I mainly stood close by, cried with her, hugged old Sig with her, hugged her and Sig together, agreed that she was making the right choice, agreed that having to make that choice SUCKED, and steadied her on her feet when things got overwhelming...and then let her get just a little bit drunker, because dang it, when you lose a friend of that many years, what's a glass of wine or two?
Thank God for compassionate vets, who don't want to do this particular job any more than we want to tell them to do it, and who make it as easy as possible on us, and thank God also for understanding backhoe-operators who agree to wait until you can get the grief-sick "horse-mom" into the house before starting the mechanics of the burial. Thank God for Xanax, and in the absence of that, the odd bottle of wine. Thank God for friends, who feel your pain, and carefully tie up and wash and dry that lock of your horse's mane you saved as a keepsake. And most of all, thank God for the opportunity to BE a friend to someone who has never, ever, EVER failed to be a friend to you.
As for Sig, I can only again quote Anna Sewell, and the epitaph for Rob Roy in "Black Beauty:"
"He was a good and noble horse; there was no vice in him."
We have referred to Siggy as "Angel Horse" for as long as I've known him--he was just that good a boy--and now he's simply fulfilled that name. I can't help but think that some of Sig's beautiful spirit will live on in Clipper, the "new kid" on the farm. May he and Kerri forge as strong a friendship as possible, and honor the memory of wonderful Siggy in the process. Rest well and romp hard on the other side of the bridge, my friend.
And for my human friend: You did the right thing. He was so tired, in so much pain, and so ready to go, to rest. I know that he's thanking you for helping him. I love you.
Bey Sharose 1980-2006