Sunday, March 3, 2013

Beauty in Darkness...

I stood within a swirling maelstrom of snowflakes, their gossamer flickering a brilliant contrast to the depthless black of the surrounding night. Di remained unmoving, her head pressed into the length of my side, ardent breaths seeping into my coveralls and warming my hip.

Those moments of unity remain  wielded to my heart. Stretching back to the beginning of time, and out into all the days of the future, even beyond my own small existence in the world. Because life is ephemeral but love is infinite.

Within an hour Di would be dead.

The snow waned. The halcyon moment faded. The pain returned. Di left my side, once more pacing back and forth, me trailing along on the end of the shank. When she lay down, I let her, intervening only when she tried to roll. No drugs I had could alleviate her discomfort. The situation was beyond that.

The vet was already on his way, but I knew what the end result would be even before he confirmed it. A section of Di's small intestine had twisted, the tissue dying. Sometimes surgery is an option, but under even the best circumstances, the success rate hovers around just 50%. For my sweet Di, even getting to the clinic was an insurmountable obstacle. She couldn't bear to stand for more than a few minutes at a time.

Once the vet arrived, we dosed her heavily with the strongest painkilling narcotics available to medical personnel. They gave her only minutes of relief. Just long enough for us to confirm diagnostically that Di's intestines had twisted, and would soon rupture, causing even greater pain (inconceivable, considering what I knew she was already going through) then septicemia, shock and, eventually, death.

Our course of action was clear. Di deserved the kind of mercy that comes from letting go, rather than hanging on. So we set her free.

My sister Rachel, and close friend and coworker Bekah were already there. They'd come for Di, as much as for me. Because that's what you do when you love horses. You rush toward the impossible. Brace steadfastly against the unbearable. You endure the unendurable.

And then you go on.

With, or without the horse you loved, depending on which way fate decided to swing, but always with the memories of those moments of unity when you and the horse were one creation. One being in two bodies.

It is so with all of life. We occupy these bodies and this place for only the briefest of spans. Some even briefer than others. But the moments of connection between our souls and the souls of others, human and animal both, cannot be confined within a paltry lifetime. Those connections exist infinitely. And as painful as everyday life can sometimes be, we always have those moments to fall back on and remember.

No matter how dark the world around us gets, there is always beauty within it, always the speckled light of the souls we've already met, and the glimmer of those we have yet to meet.


  1. Oh Artemis, I'm crying right now for you! There are no words to make it better, so just know that I'm here for you should you need a virtual shoulder :(

    Christi Corbett

  2. Thanks so much Christi! I know I always have your virtual shoulder :) *sigh* Nothing to do right now but let my emotional wounds fester a little. Di would be the first one to tell me just to plow onward with life. That's the way SHE was, the little Sherman tank. Of course, that's easier in theory than practice. But I will keep breathing. Eventually.

  3. So sorry for your loss! The death of a loved one (human or animal) is hard. Be kind to yourself.

  4. Our dear friend Christi sent me here to visit, to share and to remember. The day I held a calico cat in my lap and watched her slowly leave the pain and leave me and the two kids. I remember the day ... four days before Christmas when a long distance phone call from my daughter confirmed we had lost our lovely blonde lab, Zoe.

    Artemis, there are many who know how these loving creatures of nature share our life and move into our hearts. Di will always be young and carefree, her image held in a corner of your heart ... cherish those moments.

  5. What a beautiful horse. I hope you'll write more about her. I'm just stopping over from Christi's blog to wish you well.