Having animals in our lives means we not only experience the special tricks and delights they bring to us in their living, but the crushing sorrows when they leave us. Death is not always an easy topic. I have found it to be a very sacred time, rich with a sweetness of memories and magical surprises in the parting, mixed with a deep and raw sadness in the grieving. This short story is about my time with Carob, a very special horse, just after she had taken her last breath and became still. It has left me with a beautiful and deeply intimate memory of having traveled a distance with her as she left her body. It carries a sense of closure in one dimension and an opening of another that is as real in a mystical way as her physical presence when she was alive in body on the earth plane.
Originally published in 2007
August 19. I don’t want to write. I can’t. Carob died today. There. I said it. She died. No fluffy imagery. She died. All the stories she created have gone limp. They suddenly have no meaning, no point, no purpose. She had overcome the odds so many times, we had thought she was invincible. Not today. It was not beautiful, not lovely like the last story. No magic. Not today.
My body wrapped around her as she lay lifeless. Quiet. Her struggle was over. Relief. Stillness. I was stunned. No tears. Not yet. This was not the way it was supposed to end. I lay there with my head pressed into her middle, her body still warm. I felt her breathing, but she wasn’t, but I felt it. It was sweet, peaceful, soothing. But she wasn’t breathing. I could feel it. I did. She moved. No. She didn’t. She did. I felt her. I let myself feel her. I let go and felt, no more resisting. It was real. At last! I crossed over with her. I was free to feel her breath, her movement, to believe, to be with her, to breathe with her, to ride with her as she made her departure. It was real.
I stroked her beautiful face, the curve of her nostrils, the shape of her mouth. I admired her slender ankles, the beautiful trim of her hooves. My eyes caressed the gracefulness of her legs. I couldn’t get enough, over and over I moved my eyes and felt the pleasure of her form. I reached out and touched them. These legs had galloped so beautifully in those last moments. A perfect rhythm and movement, strong, determined, flowing, harmonious,…a powerful dance. But now quiet. Never to move again in this body. I ached.
I brushed her gently while my heart whispered love messages as we remained together in silence. Her tousled mane that had often blown in the breezes reminding us of her unicorn nature was now still. I brushed it. And her tail. As I brushed, it fell to the wind waving behind her as she sailed onward. Questioning why. No answers came.
I found flowers in the garden, bright yellow ones, bold, perfect for her. I placed them in her white mane, a special bridal flower in her forelocks, lavender in her tail as it stretched out behind her. I let myself love her, miss her, feel her.
During that week prior, she had come to each of the four of us who loved her, one in a dream where she was beautiful, tossing her gleaming white mane as she breathed upon the dreamer. She came to her primary person, John, in a dream. She jumped over the pasture fence, did somersaults, landing on her rear and then bounced to her feet and trotted past him. John’s wife had seen an imagery of her with wings flying to a new pasture of horses. I had found her in the beauty of a reflection in the creek…
I knew where to go today as she lay there motionless but beautiful, her silver body adorned with colorful flowers. There at the creek, looking at the gently rippling water, I found her reflection once again. I breathed. In the distance, I heard her whinny. It was real.