Friday, February 10, 2012

Funeral Song

Eden asked "What is your funeral song? Do you think about it? Are you terrified of death too - like, TERRIFIED?"

I am not afraid of death. I am, however, anxious and stunned by the effects of being the ones who remain. The emotional devastation, the panic, the depression and the enormous difficulty in getting on with Life. I worry about my son whose beautiful young wife passed away abruptly during her incredible battle against cancer. Rose fought like a champion and she was winning, too. They did not plan for her passing. They went about their business with not a single thought to getting their house in order or planning a funeral.

In an instant, a massive pulmonary embolism shocked her body and stopped her in her tracks. And everything went dark. Literally. The power went OUT in the entire hospital! For no reason, everything electrical 'died'.  All the oxygen machines, the heart monitors, the lights, the elevator, anything with an electrical pulse—shut down. The auxiliary power kicked in with eerie, loud thuds. It sounded like an deep earthquake hammering into the building. The lights stuttered back on along with all the gears and machines of a hospital. It was only a few seconds without power, but enough time for Rose to make her exit statement. She did not want to go and she raged against this cancer that took her away.

Later in the day, as we sat quietly in their living room, Micah played a song Rose had chosen in case she would ever die.  Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Cruel World"  is short and to the point and so very much like her!
"Goodbye cruel world, I'm leaving you today.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
Goodbye all you people, there's nothing you can say to make me change my mind.

RoseyPosey, you rock! We miss you like crazy...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Riding Drama

Yesterday, I helped be the lungeline-holder-horseman for my pal. She's getting back into a vigorous workout with her big gelding after a bit of rehab and some attitude adjustment. The young horse has been totally taking advantage of a sore ankle to act up and be a little bit ornery. My friend has been working on her confidence and overcoming some recent, huge emotional losses. It's a fine line between tenderly caring for an injured animal and falling off the Be the Alpha Mare wagon.

She thanked me for being her helper. If I hadn't been in the arena with them, she probably wouldn't have tried to ride alone. The drama and arguing that sometimes occurs when left to their own devices is something she is trying to overcome. And avoid. 

I am also in the same boat. I'm very touchy these days. Emotions run amuck when I need to be calm and confident. I am trying to overcome the grief of losing our daughter-in-law, Rose, last September. She lost a valiant battle against non-small cell lung cancer. Rose was 37 years old. Our son, Micah, is 32. They had been together, two peas in a pod, for 11 years. And it hurts like a sonofabitch. 

When my 20 year old Appaloosa came up lame about 3 weeks ago, I went straight to the dark side. What do I do if this is permanent? Will I ever ride him again? Should Chance be retired? My internet search (uh-oh. Too much information there.) suggested maybe stifle lock. That can't be good. After a full week of rest and anti-inflammatory meds, Chance started to shake it off. Slowly, we built up to a walk- trot-walk transition with 15 to 20 minutes of groundwork.  Yesterday, the old guy looked damn good. In fact, I was told that his pasture mate, Burley, was chasing him around the pasture in the morning sunshine. Chance had been picking up those hind legs like a prancing circus pony. We had another half hour of groundwork, Chance trotted and cantered very comfortably. Easy breezy. 

Turning the Appaloosas back out into their pasture, Burley casually walked off for the best grass. Chance, on the other hand, shot off like a racehorse to the top of the hill. Ok, there Mister Big FAKER!
I'm back in the saddle next week.  That fine line of tender-hearted care and over-compensating has been crossed and taken advantage of for the last time. (Or at least until the next time.)

Maybe we should use a different term when we are with our horses—replace the word 'drama' with
You know, more positive notes. "If you change the way you look at things, things will change."

Or we could just stock up on booze and Rescue Remedy for the tack lockers. Either way, it's all good. We will get back to our usual positive, confident selves. We won't dwell on past errors and judgements, the things we accuse ourselves of. We'll take things easy, have fun.  And we will live in the moment, dammit. 

We won't try to be confident, strong, faithful, hopeful and peaceful. We will simply BE that confident, strong, faithful, hopeful and peaceful Alpha Mare with our horses and our lives.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Sketchbook Project

Well it's 46° and sunny right now on my Island. I know it's just a big tease! But, we'll enjoy it while we have it. Kevin is in Denver where it's 53°.   That's just wacky.

I finally finished a sketchbook that I have had in  my hands since last June. I took it with me when I sat with Rose during chemo and other doctor appointments, fully intending to draw in it while we visited and she received treatment. Yeah, that didn't happen.
Then, all hell broke loose and our plans changed so very dramatically. 

The Sketchbook Project was a great diversion. Rose gave me some good ideas. She was definitely MY daughter. We had so much in common. (Micah is giving me some of her paints and other art supplies) Part of her is infused in the pages of the book.
Anyway, here is a link to my sketchbook.

Honest to God, I am so blessed by a wonderful Family and fabulous Friends. We are all over the place right now: sad, grieving, hopeful, exhausted, anxious, faithful, frustrated, lonely, comforted, joyful, peaceful, strong, and sometimes just a big puddle. 

One step at a time. We keep working, painting, writing, playing and living. And loving the stuffins out of each other.