Loss and gratitude

My best friend

These past few weeks have been a time of loss and deep gratitude for me. I said goodbye to my darling horse of over 18 years a month ago. I loved Metro the moment I met him and he was more than I could have ever dreamed of as a horse-crazy girl. We had such a deep bond of trust. Riding makes you both physically vulnerable, but also completely transformed and liberated through the horse’s enormous strength, speed and flight. Metro gave me wings.

A plain bay with black stockings and a bit of white on his right ankle and a few white hairs on his forehead, he had huge ears, a giant ground-covering stride and unusually large and kind eyes… matched only by his enormous heart. A remarkable athlete, he was wise and gentle with children. I loved every inch of him and am impossibly grateful, but I am here and he is not and my heart is shattered.

Metro and I in the show ring
Metro greeting my grandson
Me and my darling boy

I have ridden and loved and owned and leased horses all my life and yet have never met another like him. He seemed to operate on a deeper level of wisdom, kindness and understanding. After retiring him from competition in the spring of 2018, he was able to enjoy a few years of retirement before he got sick. He came through so many other life-threatening illnesses – I wrote about them here. Looking back I think that my magically thinking brain thought he would never die because he had survived so much.

Metro in the full bloom of youth
An evening frolic in the early days of his retirement
My husband and I with my darling boy on his last day, during which he was able to enjoy green spring grass and even a big buck for the first time in months – courtesy of heavy duty pain meds and a caring vet

A poem from Mary Oliver:

Where has this cold come from?

“It comes from the death of your friend.”
Will I always, from now on, be this cold?

No, it will diminish. But always it will be with you.”
What is the reason for it?

Wasn’t your friendship always as beautiful as a flame?”

I know so many people have lost so much this year – loved ones, jobs, income, face to face school for their children, time with friends and family, travel and vacations, opportunities, experiences, the health of our democracy. Perhaps some folks might think losing an older horse pales in comparison, but I have learned that each person’s loss – whatever it is – is the biggest loss for that person. Comparing losses makes the winner the biggest loser. And, as always, those who know – know.

There is so much grief and loss and sadness in the world right now. I hope this story of a boy, a mole and a horse will lift you up a bit. It is magic.

And, some magical music. It’s The Keep Going On Song by the Bengsons. “I pray that my pain is a river that flows to the ocean that connects my pain to yours, and I pray my happiness is like pollen that flies to you and pollenates your joy, oh boy.” I listen to it over and over and over…

More from me soon… in the meantime, please stay safe, get vaccinated as soon as you can. Let’s keep going on together, in sadness, grief, hope and joy.

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