This evening, I sat for a long time in the field with them while they grazed. Just watching, just breathing with them. After a time, it was just Jess and me. I went to the barn to get her mane and tail brush. She followed me. I needed to spend some time just with her. She knew that and followed me into the barn, away from the other girls.
I brushed her beautiful tail. I brushed her mane, again and again, softly, gently, like a little girl would. I was crumbling under the weight of the responsibility of helping her leave this world, and, in the grief and confusion, became very child-like. Perhaps this was the door that my heart needed. I’m absolutely certain that she invited it. What courage she has, in her last hours, to be the one to take me by the hand.
I told her, “I’m sad, Jess. I’m sad because you’re going home tomorrow, and I’ll miss you very much. You’re going home where it’s golden, and you’ll have wings and good strong legs. You’ll be able to run so fast. I wish I could come with you. I’ll miss you so very, very much.” And I brushed her mane as though it were the only thing on earth that needed to be done. I cried – very softly, so as not to upset her. She yawned and yawned again, the equine way of shaking off fear, stress. But, she insisted that I keep brushing.
I got her soft brush and groomed her brilliant, soft, copper sides, and her legs, and her feet – very carefully, with so much tenderness. I said, again and again in my mind, “I love you with all my heart.” and I know she heard me. And as I brushed, this heart of mine opened, and I thought: You are my friend, and I love you, and you are dying. And, I am honored to be here with you, just us girls, taking care of you and loving you, and brushing your hair.
Even though I was sad and crying, she wanted me to stay. And, she wanted a cookie. So, I got two for her. And, I kissed her face, and wished her a good night.
Good night, Jess. I love you.