My first and forever horse, Apolinaire, long time leader and patriarch of the herd, the wise one, the love of my life and spiritual guide left his body recently. He was not ready to go, but his body gave out. He was 33 years old or somewhere thereabouts. It wasn’t an easy passing. He suffered as I stood near with love and pain in my heart, and squeezed droplets of water into his mouth which soothed him. After bracing against going down to the ground, he fell back on his rear without his permission and the end hovered over him, then moved in quickly. After the determined and departing gallop so common in the dying process, and with my cheering him onward to his new destination, he took his last breath and smiled peacefully. His eyes had closed in a moment of heavenly slumber and then reopened partially as a few tears trickled out of the corner and joined mine in the eternal lament of unfinished business.
We shared our love. We shared our grief of parting. Together. Not alone. I laid my body over his large body and wept, filled up with both the depths of love and sorrow. I loved and wept throughout the day.
I couldn’t get enough of his body, caressing the parts I had so loved…the perfect shape of his beautiful ears, the form from rear to hock, his beefy legs with 2 white socks in the back, his very long black tail, his perfectly formed nostrils, his kind eyes… His spirit lingered with his body for the remainder of the day…and so did I.
I’m heartbroken…lots of tears…not anguish…just deep sadness and missing him terribly yet very connected.
He was (and still is) a powerful guide. At first my life with the rest of herd died with him until he reminded that he had specially chosen each one and drawn them to the herd for the gifts they bring. We will carry on, I told them. We will continue what Apolinaire has started. I said what I was meant to say, but my heart felt lifeless.
He was buried first thing the next morning. The remaining 5 stood in formation in a corner of the pasture, facing where he had just been tucked in to his new bed. I led a memorial service, just the 5 of them and Henii, the dog. There was no singing.
Years ago I use to play the piano and sing at memorial services. I always looked forward to the part when people shared stories about their friend or loved one who had passed on. We use to laugh with tears as we lovingly remembered annoying but endearing idiosyncracies. As I stood in front of the 5 companions Apolinaire left behind, I asked them what they most remembered about Apolinaire. They all looked at me in silence with wide open eyes. Suddenly, Dollar started biting Mariah’s chest and rear end creating all kinds of havoc between the two of them during this sacred meeting. How could he act out this way?! (Said chuckling)
Dollar was speaking to my question about what he most remembered. The horse he was biting, Mariah, was Apolinaire’s lady friend who was lower in the hierarchy than Dollar but nevertheless was allowed to eat with the head guy. Dollar who is the new head guy was always aced out and couldn’t do anything to Mariah when she was being protected by Apolinaire. Mariah got the extra food that Dollar would normally have gotten…and Dollar was amusingly pissed. Their memories are so base! The humor was refreshing.
The service ended on that note. One lone robin stood on the newly formed mound where Apolinaire was laid to rest.