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One Year Later… 365 Days Down, a Lifetime Left to Go

*To read our story, click here.  To see all of the posts about Knight, click on SG Black Knight under “Tags” on the right-hand side of the blog.*

 

To my beloved SG Black Knight,

It’s been 365 days since I last touched you, yet you are with me every day.  I see your face in the sunrise, I feel your breath in the wind, I smell your scent in the air and I see you twinkling in the stars every night.  It’s hard to explain how empty I feel even though my heart is filled with you.  I just can’t believe it’s been one year since I whispered “good-bye” in your ear as you left this world.  I wonder if I’ll ever stop mourning you.

We grew up together… inseparable and the best of friends, even during the worst of times.  You were my rock, my angel and my family.  For a majority of my life, you were everything.  The day that you left for the first time, I was lost.  My world ceased to exist and everything I knew was gone.  I forced myself to move on, I told myself that it was what you would have wanted me to do.  You wouldn’t have saved me all of those times to have me do something foolish in the end.  Always my teacher, the lesson of you leaving was the hardest, or at least I thought it was at the time.  It took 15 years but I started my life over.  Eventually, I found my way back to you.  I guess you were waiting for me to learn all that I was supposed to.  I’m sorry I was so slow.

The day you came back into my life, all of my broken pieces went back together.  Probably for the first time in my life, everything felt perfect.  To walk in the barn and say “Hey, Old Fella” and to hear you whinny back at me brought so much joy.  I looked forward to the end of each work day because it meant that I was closer to seeing you.  Our moments in the sun were always some of the best.  Just you and I against the world, like it always had been.  We were the oddest superheroes ever.

The day you left me for the last time, I wanted to die beside you.  The thought of losing you a second time was too much to bear.  When I think of it, I still cry until my hands shake and my voice becomes weak.  Why, why did you have to leave me?  I know that you saw me there laying in your stall well after you had left your body.  I stroked your beautiful mane and I felt so utterly lost.  When I slipped your halter off for the last time, I clung to it and I wished you back but you never came.  In the days after you left, I felt myself spiraling into a black hole.  I withdrew from everyone, I spent days in bed crying until no more tears could fall.  I began writing letters to my friends, letters that at one point, I was telling them “good-bye”.  Of course, no one knew why they got the letters and now as they read this, I am sure there are lots of “WTF”‘s being uttered.  One night during my weakest, I stumbled outside and I caught a glimpse of the sky and I saw you there, that bright star twinkling to catch my attention.  As the tears stained my cheeks, I swear I could feel you with me.  And so you pulled me out of the darkness once more.

As I sit here now with my stomach in knots and my heart aching, I think back to a young girl riding a beautiful black stallion through a field.  Their hair is flowing in the wind as they race away from all the pain in the girl’s life.  The two run until they can’t run anymore.  Once they stop, the girl slides from the stallion’s back and then she wraps her arms around his neck and she hugs him, knowing her life depends on it.  In that moment, the girl forgets the hurt and all she feels is love.

I still think of you like that.  Only now after I hug you, you spread your wings and fly away.

 

I love you forever.

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Unicorns & Rainbows

Let the Tears Flow

by: Nichole White

One by one the stars are aligning,
To guide you safely to the rainbow bridge
Where your friends from the past
Will be there to greet you with bittersweet joy
Your legs and eyes will be like new,
Pain and injury free
You’ll gallop through the fields
With the wind whipping through your mane
Just as you always loved to do.

Life with you is the only life I know
It’ll be hard without you
Some days it might feel impossible
But please don’t worry about me
I’ll be okay in time.
You taught me how to be strong
You taught me how to live, love and be loved
You taught me how to trust
And most important,
you taught me how to keep pushing on

You’ve touched the lives of many
And been loved by more
You’ve always been a fighter
Never giving up even when you’re in pain
I think you’d live forever if possible
You’re a horse who will always be remembered and never be forgotten.

I want to thank you for everything
For all the hugs and kisses
All the smiles and laughs
All the times you let me bury my face in your mane while I cried
For all the smiles and happiness you’ve brought to others
All the lessons learned
Accomplishments made
And Ribbons won
All the memories made, good, bad and different
But most of all for loving me unconditionally.

I’ll see you again
This isn’t goodbye forever, just goodbye for now
More like a see you later.
I know you’ll be watching over me…
Watching over all of us
I know you’ll find a way to let me know you’re there
You’ll be my rainbow at the end of every storm.

One by one the stars are aligning
To guide you safely to the rainbow bridge
The time has come for you to finally get your wings and fly.
And your unicorn horn too… Both hot pink of course.

I love you with all my heart and then some.
I’ll never stop loving you.
Until I see you again,
Run free, fly high and love whole hearted.

17 years is a long time.  For a 24-year-old, it’s forever.  For as much of her life as she can remember, Nichole White was owned by a beautiful grey Arabian mare named Erin.  Of course, someone is going to say, “Hey, people own horses, NOT the other way around.”.  For that I give a resounding, “Uh uh!”.  The minute you meet the right horse, you become defenseless to their awesomeness.

On October 18th, Nicole and her mom Kathy had to say “good-bye” to the horse that taught them nearly everything they needed to know.  Erin schooled the pair on life, dedication and grace.  They learned to stand strong and fight, to be courageous and most of all, they learned about love.  There is no greater love than that which an animal gives so freely, so completely.  We could all learn so much from our pets.

Unfortunately, our beloved animals don’t stay on Earth as long as we do.  I believe it’s because they were already born perfect.  Pets are sent here to teach us what we need to know and then just as quickly as they appear, they are gone.  But never without leaving a lasting impression on our lives forever.

I came to know Kathy after Knight came back into my life.  Kathy stumbled onto my blog and when she read of Knight’s story, she reached out to me to thank me for sharing something so personal.  When I wrote those blogs, it wasn’t about sharing Knight’s story, it was about me getting my feelings out.

Kathy explained to me how the health of her mare was deteriorating and how difficult and painful it was for Erin’s everyday life.  The family had tried everything but to no avail.  It had come time to make the very excruciating decision to let Erin flutter peacefully to the Rainbow Bridge, rather than to let her suffer.  In a Facebook post meant for Erin,

You have been with us since 1996. You are 27 years old. People call you the million $ pony, because of all the vet and medical bills. You are the keeper of secrets, your neck has had more tears hugged on it than can be counted. You have been the glue that held us together. You are the reason so many kids didn’t take that path, but choose the trails instead. you have been hope, a teacher, a dream come true. You have 3 flat tires & no spare. How many nights did we sleep in the barn with you thinking it was your last ? How many injuries did you beat the odds come back stronger than ever? How many times did Dana Pantano, DVM have that talk with us? Then shake her head in disbelief, big smile and say clear! Go! Your heart brought you back. You have a heart the size of a draft horse. Now I need one more favor. I need you to tell me if its time for you to get your wings and become a unicorn.  -Kathy Randall

After Kathy and Nichole gained their strength, a promise was made to Erin.

I will not let you leave this world hurt or sick or ugly. I will not have your last memories of your beautiful life be a bloody, scary, painful. Your last thoughts should reflect this world that loves you & you loved. Groomed class A show perfect, You will enter & exit as you did each show ring. To shine so brightly,your own light to see your wings. Go girl, you’ve earned them. I’ll hold the gate. -Kathy Randall

As you read this, a pink unicorn looks down from the heavens.  Her wings are relaxed as she watches intently over a special place in Massachusetts.  The unicorn bows her head and her wings expand, releasing purple, yellow, blue and pink glitter from them.  The glitter gently falls from the clouds and forms a protective rainbow over  the place where the unicorn left her heart.  The unicorn isn’t worried though, she left her heart there on purpose.  She knows that some day, long from now, it will be returned when she’s reunited with her family.  The beautiful pink unicorn lifts her head high, her wings spread wide and she begins to fly towards a handsome black stallion.  Together, the two fly high above the sky, watching over the girls that they made into women.

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When the Time You’re Given Just Isn’t Long Enough

None of us are promised tomorrow and we do our best to enjoy the moment and live for “today”.  People and things come into our life but we never know just how long they will be in it so we try to cherish those special times.  Unfortunately, pets fall into the list of things that just aren’t around long enough.  As I’ve always said, our dogs are born perfect and they don’t have to stay here on earth as long as we do.  Their job is to teach us how to be better humans and once they’ve done that, they move along, carrying a piece of our hearts with them.

There are no words that can heal a heart that is broken, there is no super glue that can mend the heart which has missing pieces, pieces stolen by an angel with four paws.  Time will ease the pain but the loss is always there, just under the surface and always inside the heart.

For all of you who have lost a pet and for my family that grieves today, remember those moments when life couldn’t get any better.  Remember those sleepless nights with a crying puppy that was scared of the dark, remember the way your house smelled when your dog came inside after the rain, remember the stuffing from all the toys that were shredded, remember the slobber and dog hair that covered every nook and cranny of everything that you owned and most of all,

remember that they’re never really gone.  Sure, our dogs can’t remain by our side forever but no one says that they can’t stay in our heart for an eternity.

R.I.P. Maxwell.  I miss you already!  I know you’re already at the Rainbow Bridge and you’re a bouncing happy boy who feels no pain.  I want to thank you for being a part of my life and to let you know that you’ll always be my very favorite Clawson.  There was and will never be a dog more loved than you, I know this for sure.  When you left today, you took pieces from each of our hearts and I know that you’ll keep them safe until we meet again.

Pieces of My Heart

Today is December 1st, 2011.  Beginning of a new month, a day that I am always excited for because it means my Shoe Dazzle and Just Fab showroom’s are ready.  Yeah, I’m just shallow enough to love shoes so much that they make one day in my life way better than the others.  Excited for the day, I woke up and made it to work only for 8:20 to roll around and ruin any chance of recovering my joy.

At 8:20 this morning, a good friend and fellow animal rescue worker, called me to tell me that a dog I was trying desperately to save, succumbed to injuries sustained during a car accident.  In that instant I was moved by such a strong emotion of sadness and disappointment in myself.  I listened to my friend tell me what happened and I could only mutter, “Uh-huh”.  After the conversation ended, I quietly got up and shut the door to my office, sat down in my chair and was overtaken by grief.  My entire body shook violently as I could no longer fight the stress and anxiety that I had felt since Saturday, when I first heard of this poor dog’s story.  I was a failure.

It’s been hours since I blamed myself for the suffering and death of a little furball with no voice.  I’ve heard countless people tell me that I shouldn’t feel to blame, but I still do.  She had no voice with which to scream out, “I am in pain, please help me.” or “I’m tired, please let me go.”  I should have thought things through better.  I should have made the decision that I couldn’t save the world, not this time.  Why didn’t I?

In the back of my mind and resting at the bottom of my heart lies the answers to my own question.  I can’t.  I can’t ever give up on something, whether that be a person, an idea or a helpless animal.  My heart tells me that it is hurting right now and my mind tells me that it’s okay to feel such pain.  Together, my heart and mind scream to me why I am the way that I am and they tell me of all the good things that can come from never losing faith in something.

I am an animal rescuer.  I have a kind heart and a gentle soul.  I will fight until the very end for what I believe and I will never give up, even when faced with failure.  I will show failure my “crazy eye” stare and I will do all that I can to destroy it.  Sometimes, I will fail.  Sometimes, small pieces of my heart will break off and go with the soul of the ones that I can not save.  Thankfully, the ones that I can save  offer me pieces of their own hearts, which allow me to repair all of my brokenness.  It is for this reason, this “regeneration” that continues each and every day, that I can continue on.  I will pick up the scattered parts of me and I will dry my tears, lift my head and slip back into that super hero cape I keep tucked away for times like this.

In honor of Lena, the beautiful, strong and courageous soul that went to the Rainbow Bridge today.  May you run free, visit me in my thoughts and help guide me through this cold world.

Lena

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