“I didn’t think it would end this way.”
“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. They grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it.”
“What? Gandalf? See what?”
“White shores. And beyond, a far green country, under a swift sunrise.”
“Well, that isn’t so bad.”
“No. No it isn’t.”
When someone dies, life sure feels stupid, doesn’t it? When you lose someone you love, everything you still love feels dumb, and you feel stupid for loving them. But you still love them anyway.
This morning, somewhere around eight o’clock, my sister’s twenty-nine-year-old gelding died. Registered as I’m the Music Man, Music was about as healthy as a twenty-nine-year-old horse can get. He never really
deteriorated besides getting a bit thinner. He looked fantastic, and he was big ~ bigger than most Quarter Horses and red as a sorrel flower. He never had to deal with any health problems besides joint stiffness.
This morning I was awakened from a strange dream by my mom calling for my sister’s help. She sounded scared and was crying. She explained to us that Music had been standing in the field and started shaking violently, then fell down. Mom wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead.
I ran out almost before she finished talking. I reached Music. He was lying on his side under a small tree; he didn’t move, but his eyes were open. I spoke his name and his head jerked, his eyes wild, but he seemed to recognize me and calmed down. I couldn’t see him breathing. As soon as Andi reached us, I sprinted back up the hill to tell Mom, “He’s alive. He’s not breathing. I don’t think he can.” As soon as I told her, I went right back down to Music.
Andi stood up. “He’s dead,” she said.
I wasn’t sure how to take this, but I wasn’t exactly surprised. I had never been with anyone when they died. I crouched down by him and stroked his head. He still felt warm in some places. I couldn’t smell death. They say you can, but I couldn’t, for the hours that I was with him afterward.
Yesterday he was standing, but not moving. He wouldn’t even eat, he was breathing fast, and he had some abrasions on his head and flank. When I touched him, he felt cold. Mom called the vet but he wouldn’t come out because he thought it was probably just an allergic reaction. I was thinking, He’s 29 years old. You don’t just “wait and see” with a 29-year-old horse. But nobody else seemed to think it was serious enough to insist that the vet come out. I don’t know, maybe they all thought that Music would be strong enough to fight it off. He’s tough, and he’s in great condition. Surely he could fight it off.
I’ll tell you, though, I learned a few things from Music’s death. One, that I could never have been ready for it. None of us could have. Two, that when they’re dead, their eyes do actually glaze over. I never knew that. I
never saw any of the chickens when they were dead, and I think when Joy (one of our dogs) died her eyes must have been closed, or at least it was too dark in the woodshed to see. Three, that they really stiffen up when they die. Maybe their muscles just fail to work. But I tried to move Music’s leg, and I seriously couldn’t. How did they fit Man o’War in that box if he was as stiff as Music???
And fourth, I don’t know how people in books put their dead/dying horse’s head in their laps. I tried to lift Music’s head, and it was freaking heavy. I could barely lift his muzzle.
Luckily each of us females got to spend some time with Music before he died. Mom said he and Domino (my mare) got to walk around the pasture together this morning before it all happened. Mom spent some time
petting him and loving on him, I was there after he’d fallen, and Andi was with him when he died. It’s a funny thing. I cried for a couple of hours, but my heart didn’t hurt until after that. My head hurts now, an hour after
the truck came and took him away.
There is one thing I’d like to ask of you people on WordPress and Tumblr and anyone else who might read this. Some time before we got him, Music was a stallion and had been bred a few times. If any of you have or
know someone with one of Music’s sons or daughters, I would love to see pictures, names, locations, etc. Just to see where the remaining pieces of Music are. Music’s registered name, as I said before, is I’m the Music
Man. His sire is Hand Made Music and his dam is Ricky Dilly, by Ricky Taylor. Here is the link with his pedigree: http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/im+the+music+man
I could talk forever about Music, and the memories will probably just keep popping up the next couple days. I’ll miss his gorgeous head, which he never liked anyone to touch. The way his coat shone in the sunlight, and the endless flow of winter hair on his belly in the spring. The way he was always raring to go when he was saddled, and how he loved to run. The way he loved clover, and how he’d leave craters on the ground when he trotted across the yard because he was so big. The way he’d never do anything but canter in circles when Andi tried to lunge him, her running circles with him because he was so big he couldn’t turn very sharply. His distinctive, friendly nicker that I heard just yesterday, and the aggravating way he’d keep breaking into the lower pasture. He was bombproof and Domino could hardly be parted from him (who knows what she’ll do now). I’ll even miss his jutting backbone when we tried to ride him bareback.