Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Godspeed, Old Friend

I'm just posting this very quickly, in case I don't feel up to writing the post I had planned for tonight. If I do, I'll replace this post with the intended one, and in either case, I'll re-work this one to do the subject matter justice.

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.

Related Posts:

Last Embrace
Bey Sharose 1980-2006
Prognosis Negative


  1. Ach. Hurts to read this. You're a very good friend. I'm so sorry.

  2. *blinks back tears*

    Been there. Done that. Hurts much.

  3. Add you to my list of bloggers who can make me cry at my desk.

    What a poignant story. My sympathies to you all.

  4. Belinda, you did justice to the story. No need for a rewrite.

    What a wonderful story. I know all three of you found comfort in each other. I know Sig is grateful and is running in tall green pastures as we speak.


  5. Oh Belinda, how sad. This is one of the hardest things we have to do as animal lovers.

    When you're ready, I have something that might take your mind off the pain. I tagged you for a meme for sharing 8 little or unknown things about yourself. Someone tagged me and I am passing along the joy with someone I like to read about. If you’re not interested, no problem but if so, you just list your 8 things and then pass it along to 8 others. My post for this is up now. Take care!

  6. How devastating.

    Thinking of you, your friend, and Angel Horse today.



  7. There is so much compassion when it comes to our animals. They are lucky, in a way, to get to be euthanized when they are old, sick and in pain. Only human beings don't have that kind of respect for one another.

    You are a good friend, Belinda. A good friend indeed.


  8. Dangit. Now you've made me go and cry about my mare.

    27 years is a really long time.

  9. 27 years is a long time, if it's stretching out ahead of you into the future. When you're looking back on it, it feels like just a minute.

  10. Thanks to everyone for your sympathy responses. There are no words to describe how incredibly hard Wednesday was, even with the Xanax and Riesling coursing through my veins, and one of the best women in the world by my side. I had to just keep telling myself that Sig would have done it for me if our roles had been reversed. I couldn't be more thankful to Belinda for getting me through everything, and for Jess, who has taken care of me and my horses forever. I hope all of you out there have people like them in your lives. KD

  11. Had to do this 3 times within just a few months of each other, last year and this year. It's SOOOO hard to let go. I'm just thankful for the times I had with my pets, although, like you said, it doesn't seem like very long in hindsight. Thinking of you.

  12. I had a similar experience a year and a half ago, and I would not have been able to get through it without my best friend, who later became my husband. Even now, I sometimes am overcome with grief at the thought of what I decided had to be done--and, I'll admit it, sometimes guilt--but with my future husband there and a wonderful vet who also cried with me over the loss of such a wonderful animal, I was able to get through that day--and the days when I miss her now, still.

    It's wonderful you were able to be such a friend.