Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Noel's Last Day


May your knees be pain free &
your heart always mine. 

April 4, 2009

Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
The question of self-pity.

Joan Didion

What can I say about The Gentle Giant who filled my heart with so much love?

I could tell everyone he was a cutting horse who worked his body with savvy, and style. In his day, I suspect he was somebody special because of his rodeo abilities.

Instead, I’ll tell you why I think he was so special. He had arthritic knees that ached with every step that he took. He kept on walking. When I polo wrapped his knees with ThermaCare Wraps and rubbed on Surpass, he just waited for me to finish. When I held him and nuzzled my face into his neck so I could inhale his smell, he stood there waiting for me to finish this ridicules human ritual. Right before I would let go I would whisper in his ear, 'I love you more, than even one more day'. (The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion)

I called Dr. Allen on Friday, Noel was limping. He came. He said it was time. Once again, no backhoe people were available. That evening the man who helped us bury Tecs called. He could be here in the morning. The hole was roped off and I called Dr. Allen. He would be here after lunch.

Alfred got up early to make Noel’s favorite horse treats. They hid in the corner of the yard and Noel ate warm treats with his daddy before breakfast. Noel licked his lips all the way back to the barn. My tears were starting to fall as I fed and wrapped Noel’s knees for the last time.

Natasha and I were with him when he took his last breath. I buried my face in his mane and kissed his pudgy lips. Natasha pushed his head and ran around the pasture neighing and kicking. I wanted to scream with her, but I couldn’t. When Noel left for Rainbow Bridge, I wanted to go with him, but I couldn’t. It’s not my time. I have things I must finish before God calls me home.

Alfred and I wept as we worked together to bury Noel. Natasha stood at the grave until she couldn’t see any part of his body. She ran the pasture time and again, kicking and neighing over her loss. I tried to console her, but quite frankly I was wondering which one of my body parts was going succumb to an injury. I sent Alfred to take care of his girl. By dinner she seemed fine. She’s kicked Moose a few times since Saturday, but I just keep telling Moose he’s lucky to be alive.

This morning I wrapped myself in Noel’s winter coat and inhaled his smell. I sat on his stall mats and wept for the Gentle Giant who left me way too soon. The joy my friend, has left with you.

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