Monday night, Death stole him from the earth and from life, and took half my soul, too.
I don’t want to have to say this. It’s fundamentally personal and private. My love for him was my own, I and no one else could feel it. My grief for his loss is my own, I and no one else can feel it. My grief and my love are held above and away, as the sacred should be.
But I have to say something. People will ask about him. People will notice the absence of pictures and posts about my beloved horse. People will ask to visit or ride. Some of you knew him and care for him.
I cannot believe this is real. It has not fully sunk in yet. Even when I saw him lying lifeless on the ground, it did not seem real. He’s going to wake up, right? He’s going to be waiting for me next time I’m out, and lovingly rub his head against me as he always does, right?
I was not there to say bye. I was not there to see him leave. To kiss his face and nose. To kiss him near one eye, then the other, then his nose, as I always do. To look him in those deep, loving eyes of his. They were warm and comforting and welcoming. I wish I could have been there to offer him the same in return as he left. But Death is cold and uncaring.
If I’d have known what was going to happen, I’d have let him go for a few romps in the woods these past two weeks. I’d have ridden him out for three hours in the serenity of the woods, and taken him out to some fields lush with grass and weeds to graze to his heart’s content, to let him have some last deserved joys in this world.
And I wanted to get him a better life. A bigger pasture to be in. Some friends to run around with. A girl friend.
But now he, and my soul, are cold.
I go out there every day for an hour or two to take care of him: clean his stall, clean his turn-out, fill his water buckets, give him the alfalfa that he so loves. I was out yesterday from around 1:30 till 3:00.
He was fine. He ate grass. He ate alfalfa. He walked around. He ran eagerly toward a mare. He was alert and active. I did not notice anything wrong or unusual, nor have I for weeks. I hugged him. I kissed him.
Then, at 9:21, I received a phone call from the guy who owns the place where I kept Heiric. He said Heiric was lying on the ground, not moving.
I turned off a movie, threw what remained of dinner on the cold stovetop, changed clothes, ran to my truck, and drove fast. I don’t know how or why Death struck. Death left no signs, but only, around 8:00 PM, took a loved one from me. Suddenly. Irretrievably.
Life is forever changed.