Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Not A Perfect Day

Yesterday, I lost the equine love of my life.

Despite that, and the ensuing heartbreak, I have a lot to be thankful for.  First, Mom immediately identified the colic and started treatment.  One of the wranglers from the livery was able to give Estes some IV banamine to ease her pain until the vet arrived.

Bill called me at work and my coworkers were wonderful; I had another instructor cover my class, so I was free to head up the hill as soon as I got my class started on their project.

The vet beat me to the lodge by about 45 minutes, so by the time I got there, Estes was gorked out of her mind and in no pain.  Mom had stood with Estes' head in her hands for three hours by the time I got there.  I loved on Estes and allowed her to graze (even though the vet wasn't super excited about it) for five minutes or so.  My mindset was that if this was her last day on earth (which we didn't know at the time), I was NOT going to deprive her of a few mouthfuls of grass, especially if she wanted it.

I was cautiously optimistic that she was looking better, though I knew it was probably due to the drug cocktail flowing through her system.  I went to bed hoping that she'd be feeling better when it was time to give her her 3:00 am dose of banamine.  She was resting quietly and didn't seem to be in any distress in the wee hours of the morning, so I loved on her and gave her the meds.

At 6:30 am, Compass called and said I needed to get over, that Estes was down.  I'm thankful that Compass was up that early and thought to look over at our pen.  By 7:00, her pain was gone.  If Compass hadn't been up working with her horses, Estes might have continued to lay in her shed in pain until I got up at 8:00.

Things just kind of fell into place.  I had the means and ability to end her suffering and I was surrounded by people who cared.  Mom and Bill were amazing.  I was alone when I put Estes down, but they were there within seconds, sobbing right along side me.  I know it hurt them as much as it hurt me to lose her.

I don't know what I would have done without them.  While I managed to find the strength to do what needed to be done, I did not have the strength to cover her with a tarp.  I couldn't do it.  So Mom and Bill did.  Estes had bled on her halter and I was going to just throw it out, but they took it off of her and Bill washed the blood out for me, all without saying a word.

They helped me figure out what to do with a 900# carcass, which wasn't easy.  I don't own any property, so I couldn't bury her - I had to figure out what to do.  Mom put in a call to their neighbor who owns heavy equipment and had to leave a message.  He does a lot of construction projects around the area, so they were prepared to go hunt him down to see if he could load Estes onto the truck.  Rarely does he ever check his voice mail, so it was a surprise when he called back.  Bill told him what we needed and he was at the lodge within five minutes.

Bill oversaw the details that I couldn't handle.  I stayed in the lodge while their neighbor put her on the back of the truck and then Mom and Bill re-tarped her and strapped her down.

I was going to follow the truck down to the rendering plant, but Bill suggested that maybe he follow me.  It's the little things that I wouldn't have thought of.  I'm glad that I wasn't behind the truck, watching my tarped baby ride along.

At the rendering plant, Bill stayed with me while I paid for her disposal and then I climbed back in the truck so I didn't have to watch them unload her.  I did, however, watch them once they got her off of the truck - I couldn't NOT watch them take her away, but they did it gently and, I feel, with dignity.  She still managed to look regal.

Not only am I super thankful that Mom and Bill were with me every step of the way, I'm unbelievably grateful that there are people who do the jobs that the rest of us couldn't imagine doing.

Jay and the kids were shell-shocked, I think.  Really, so was I.  Yesterday I was numb.  Today, the numbness is gone, replaced by a deep sense of loss - almost that something has been ripped away from my soul.

My online friends rallied and brought me comfort throughout the day.  Mrs Mom wrote a beautiful piece about Estes that I would not have been able to compose. 

Ashinator posted this on Facebook, which still makes me cry:
this morning, the world lost one firecracker of a horse and holy cow- her and my mom were quite the pair. my whole heart is going to miss Estes, but knowing she's safe and at peace across the rainbow bridge makes it all just a little bit better.
And Rachel spent a great deal of the night texting with me since I couldn't sleep.  She also sent me this amazing picture of me and Estes:

Despite it being a horrible day, it could have been much worse if things hadn't fallen into place the way they did.

Today, this is my theme song.  It's called "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On" by Jimmy Buffett.  I suspect it will be my theme song for the next bit as I adjust to not having her in my life.


Momma Fargo said...

Beautiful writing. You had me in tears again. You are amazing and strong. You and Estes had a great journey and adventures. It is a great loss. Your heart has been ripped out. It takes a lot of time to callus that wound. Horses touch our lives like no other animal. I can't explain it and only the ones like us that are lucky enough to be around them or own them know what that means. There is nothing like being on the back of a horse. They are more than just a "pet" and they are family. I can't make it any better for you, but know that I think of you often and sob right along with you even if I am far away. Love you bunches!

Cindy D. said...

I have been reading about this on everyone's blogs. Everyone's take is just a tad different but all with the same somber truth, A terrible loss for you (and your family). I haven't commented much, but this time I will.
Reading in detail the entire process for you, I am literally sobbing right now, and trying to keep it together at work. (it's not working) But I want to thank you for sharing the details with us. I know that the day when I have to go through the same thing is coming closer (as I have a very old horse and a quite lame horse) and your strength has given me strength. It has also given me some insight on what to expect. I know it probably was not an easy thing to write about, which makes it even more....oh what is the word I am looking for.....poignant. (for lack of a better word)

I am so sorry for your loss.

Mrs Mom said...

What Fargo said.

You know everything else :)

GunDiva said...

The blogging community is a wonderful one - thank you everyone for the comfort you've given me and my family.

I'll get back to posting happiez or funniez soon, I promise.

GunDiva said...

Oh, and I'm also quite thankful that she made it very clear when it was time to go.

Rachel said...

There is much to be grateful for in the midst of this heartbreak.

And I'm so thankful that you see that. And that you are willing to share Estes and with us - even now, when it just sucks so bad.

Again, thankful that she showed you so clearly she was ready. I heart her.

And that picture. I look at it and it looks just ethereal and beautiful and majestic all in one.

(and yet, it seems perfectly normal somehow :) )

So much love to you. I'll keep you company again if you can't sleep. Lord knows how many nights you've done so for me.

GB Girl said...

I hate that you had to lose Estes, but I'm glad that things seemed to fall into place the way they did. Sometimes it's those little things that can help to ease your pain, if only just a small amount.
My heart goes out to you and your family. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Candance said...

So, so sad for you right now.

Janet said...

Oh I'm so sorry for your loss! Animals have such a special place in our hearts, and it's so painful to lose them.