Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Emotional Pinball

Lots of love.
It's been a month and a half since I lost Sug.  I still cry every day, though not as often as I did at first. Remember how you felt in high school or college after a bad break-up?  When you curled up in your room and read romance novels and watched movies on the Lifetime channel, ate 30 pounds of chocolate and made depressing mixed tapes with songs by Sinead O'Connor, Natalie Merchant, and the Smiths? Except instead of making mixed tapes, it's making playlists on an iPhone.  That's pretty much me right now.

August did not improve as the month progressed.  My Mom was hospitalized unexpectedly and we were told she needed to have open-heart surgery.  She had the surgery and is now home and recuperating, but things were scary for a while. On top of that, the day she was supposed to have the surgery we found out our lease on James, the OTTB the kids rode, was not being renewed. It was like the hits kept coming. You know the book Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events? I felt August should be renamed Amy's Month of Craptastic Events.  

What has kept me going through all of this has been the kindness of friends, family, and the wonderful people who have known Sug and I or followed us through this blog or Horse Junkies United.  Each card or comment on Facebook or on the blog brought a smile to my face, and a moment of peace.  It probably sounds corny as heck, but reading the sympathetic words someone took time out of their day to write gave me the strength to continue doing what I needed to do to get through the day during a time when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and wail. Some friends went so far as to send flowers, and my work team sent a tree to bury her ashes under as well as a donation to Mylestone Equine Rescue, the horse rescue I often support. All of the love and support was humbling as well as healing.

This past weekend was a weekend of firsts and hopefully a harbinger of better times.  Noah and I went to look at a potential barn (for when we find new equine family members) and he got to ride while we were there. It was his first ride since the lease on James ended and he rode Weed, a Haflinger with so much personality it was practically coming out of his ears.  That little horse was a riot, and, in Noah's words, clearly wanted a rider to continually be engaged in conversation with him. Noah got off that little guy with an ear to ear grin.

I also rode for the first time since the accident.  A wonderfully kindhearted friend let me ride her horse, a lovely chestnut boy named Wesley.  It was obvious I'd been out of the saddle a while, although Wesley very graciously forgave my mistakes and did his best to stay underneath me while I fumbled around on his back.  It still felt wonderful to be riding, and to be grooming and kissing on a horse again.  To my way of thinking it's the best kind of therapy there is.

I'm so glad I had that therapeutic weekend, as Sug's ashes arrived yesterday.  I'd be lying if I said it didn't knock the breath out of me. I didn't want to open the big UPS package.  When I finally did, I was taken aback by how large and heavy the wooden box holding the ashes was.  I guess I'd thought it would be some sort of medium sized vase/urn-type thing.  When I expressed my surprise, my son says, "Mom, think about it.  She was a half-ton animal, a lot bigger than Great-Grandpa." That shocked a laugh from me, bless my son's heart.  It just seems so weird to think of her as being reduced to something that could fit in that box, that she'd been transformed into what looked like ashes from a fireplace. I can't quite wrap my head around it.

I have to figure out where I'm going to plant her tree, and where I will keep her ashes in the meantime.  I'm terrified we might inadvertently have a recreation of the Meet the Parents urn scene.  God help me, that would be my luck.

So it's been a month and a half of emotional pinball, banging around, going in one direction only to be spun around in another.  Things are getting easier, and I know that moving forward there will be more good moments than bad ones.  Baby steps, right?

As always, thanks for reading.


  1. I'm so sorry that you've had to deal with your mother's illness and James's lease on top of losing Sugar. What a terrible, terrible month. I'm glad you had friends to support you and that the collective good will of the internet has been a comfort.

    I think planting a tree for Sugar is an absolutely beautiful idea. Something permanent and beautiful and graceful as a reminder.

  2. I just experienced an emotional "flying change". From crying over what you have been through and then an abrupt burst of laughter from your son's comment. Your son is great giving one those unexpected moments that get you through the tough times.

    Wishing your mother has a speedy recovery.

  3. Sending hugs. Sounds like you are definitely due for some good luck soon.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I had my old gelding cremated a few years ago and my husband enjoyed telling folks "she has a horse in her bedroom closet" just for the shock value. We now have a place with some acreage and after moving around from my apartment to old house to new house, Adam is finally home for good and will be buried under an apple or flowering tree.

  5. Things will get better, that's a promise from all of us. Some days will be worse than others and there will always be those reminders, but you have to look at the good stuff and the lessons you all have learned. That's sad about the lease, but it's a door shutting and window opening for maybe an even better opportunity. Chin up! If I can make it, so can you. Hope your mom is doing well.

  6. I am still reeling myself from your loss...my heart mare had to be put down after an accident 20 years ago...it gets easier. And I have never been without a horse, merely my love horse. Before you bury all of sug, I know there is a place somewhere in Canada possibly Calgary that will turn ashes of loved ones into crystal/diamonds you can wear as a pendant. Over your heart. Just a thought.

  7. Wow. My SIL is so talented. You have such a way with words. This article completely tugged my heartstrings. Even though I lost my dog who was only 12 lbs I still remember what it felt like and my heart goes out to you. Its so hard to make a non animal lover understand that its worse than losing a human. I absolutely love that your work sent you the tree and donated to a foundation you so strongly support.
    Glad mom is doing well. Love and support to you always...♡your SIL

  8. I was surprised at how big and heavy Visa's box was too. I guess we just don't think about it? I dunno... sometimes that part of my life is all a blur.

  9. Oh, Amy, you poor thing. What a month, indeed! No wonder you are reeling. I hope your mom makes a great recovery, and that you and your children will eventually find new equine partners. No one will ever take Sug's place, of course, but she'll always be in your heart.

    I horse-sat for a lady once who had her dear departed mare in a box on a closet shelf. This is the only reason I know how big they are... when you are ready I'm sure you'll find the perfect place for Sug's ashes. Your work family sound like awfully good people, too!

  10. August does sound like it was craptastic. I hope your September is better. Losing a horse, especially suddenly, is very hard. When my Trakehner died (from a blood clot near his brain), I cried all the time. If I hadn't already had another horse, I probably couldn't have made it to the barn at all. I didn't get his ashes -- he died at Tufts and it took them several months to do the necropsy -- but I did get some of his tail hair. It's been about four years and I've still not been able to open the box but some day I'm going to have a bracelet made. It does get easier, just slowly. Now I mostly just remember how much fun we had together. I hope you find another horse for your kids to ride soon.

  11. I'm very sorry for all you've been through. Sug looks like a wonderful friend and talented horse. Google directed me here as I researched brown boots n helmets for hunting. So glad I visited ~ you have a lovely blog. I'll check back soon as I anticipate that you'll always find a way to stay in the saddle and share your great sense of humor.

  12. Glad to hear you have a thoughtful support system. The pain never totally goes away, but treasuring good memories helps.

    Thinking of you... (((♥♥♥)))