It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and it’s been a very long time since I have had to do one of these “catch up” blogs. But a lot can happen in a month, and a lot can happen in a month that makes all the things I enjoy some of the last things I want to do.
For the last weekend in January, I took a half day and flew to Orlando to celebrate the upcoming wedding of someone who has, very quickly, become a very close friend. Flying is one of my least favorite things on the planet, but I arranged to make the trip down with a couple other friends and the whole weekend was set up to be an absolute blast.
Not even a full day later, I got a call that made the tips of my body go numb. Hannah, our sweet, loyal, and wonderful dog, had some kind of severe neurological event. My husband rushed her to the emergency vet, I flew home on the next flight, but at 7:30AM the next morning, the overnight vet called me to give me the worse news. She had continued to decline and it was clear that there really wasn’t anything anyone could do. It was, by far, the worst 24 hours of my life.
In one of those moments where life gives you a little grace, we had a trip planned to Cabo several months earlier for the next week, so I buried myself in all the work that needed to be done. I managed to drag myself to the barn and ride on Tuesday in a lesson where May stepped up to the plate in every possible way. She hadn’t been ridden in nearly a week. I mentally wasn’t strong for her, but somehow, she knew I just needed it to be really, really good. And it was.
I tried riding again on Thursday, but I ended up just picking out her feet, feeding her a cookie, and watching a friend’s lesson. May hadn’t had a week off in a very long time, so I passed on the pro rides and just let her be a fuzzy, wild beast while I was away.
The trip was wonderful. Cabo was beautiful. The people were friendly. The trip was, by all accounts, seamless. We watched the Superbowl in a beautifully catered party, and I had one of the best massages of my life. But coming home was more difficult than I had prepared myself for.
Opening the door up after being gone for a week, we weren’t greeted by the sound of excited paws running up and down the kitchen. We were greeted by a wooden box on the mantel and the silence of an empty house. Maybe one day I will be able to write eloquently about it all, but for now, my heart is just still broken. Friday was a long day of travel and sleep came easily, but even my exhaustion (and lingering amounts of Dramamine in my system) couldn’t keep nightmares at bay.
On Saturday, I dragged myself to the barn. I curried May and marveled at the fact that she is already shedding. I ran my hands over her neck, legs, and back, and when the snow began to fall and the only sound in the barn was the quiet munching of hay, I buried my face in her neck and sobbed. I’m not really sure what May thought of the whole thing. To be honest, she mostly looked bewildered at my outburst of emotion. But she didn’t move or lose patience with me. And when I climbed on for the first time in nearly 2 weeks, she wasn’t wild or bad or stupid, she was just May. And that was enough.
For now, I’m not yet looking at the show schedule or building out plans and dreams for the year. For now, I am just trying to find my new routine and put love back into our empty house.