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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 1999
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,877

    Default Still Grieving....

    I lost my equine friend of 23 years on November 8.

    Everyone tells me how well I handled her death and how well I am adjusting to the loss. However, I feel as if I am so "pent up" with sadness inside. It is worse at certain times...I feel like I just want to start crying, and, of course, it always happens at some inopportune time when crying would be inappropriate (such as at work).

    I feel like I am doing "all the right things." I am enjoying spending time with my other horse. I have made tributes to my deceased horse; I had cards made and sent them to all of our friends, am planting a tree in the spring in her memory, had an animal communicator, and visited with her previous owner. Friends gave me a beautiful pencil drawing of her and my mom gave me a beautiful horse necklace. I treated myself to a haircut and facial and joined a gym to lose weight. I am being good to myself. Yet I still feel very vulnerable underneath it all -- and I know it is because I am not over this loss. (I am also going to a therapist to help me deal with it.)

    Does anyone have any suggestions on helping me deal with this grief? I feel like it is stuck inside because I have been trying so hard to be strong. (Any time it comes to the surface, as I mentioned, it is usually at an inappropiate time.) Does that make any sense?
    In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)

    My newest book, "Sandsablaze," available now!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2001
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,963

    Default

    Time. Just give yourself time. Don't feel you need to rush to get over this. It sounds like you're doing all the right things. You'll just feel lousy about it for a while. It will lessen eventually . . . Try not to be strong all the time. Let yourself cry at the times when it's OK to do so. So sorry . . .



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2007
    Posts
    805

    Default

    It makes total sense. I lost my old boy 3 years ago this April. There are times I still have a horrible time with it. My mom is an artist and paints ornaments every Christmas. This year she painted him on one for me. I knew what it was before I opened it and couldn't open it until I was home by myself. Those times are fewer and farther between every day. I am so sorry you are having such a hard time. It will ease with time.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2006
    Location
    Southern Finger Lakes of NY
    Posts
    1,736

    Default

    Sweetheart, let it out. Grief is grief, and some of us just need to let it out. It's okay, it's normal, you're normal.

    There's no timetable for these things, so give yourself a break and just bawl it right out. If you're at work, take a "smoker's break" and step outside for a few minutes. Cry, breathe deep, and gather it back together as you can.

    Your grief is acknowledgement of your deep, lasting love. There isn't anything more noble than to love with all your heart. Be okay with the fact that it hurts and you need to cry and talk about it. It's okay.

    I'm sorry I don't have anything more to offer than reassurance that you're okay for feeling this way. But you are. Trust yourself.
    Foxwin Farm
    Home of The Bay Boy Wonder
    and other fine Morgan Sporthorses



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2004
    Location
    Rolling hills of Virginny
    Posts
    5,976

    Default

    Why do you need to be "strong"? You're grieving, which makes you vulnerable, and that's OKAY.

    First of all, you just lost your horse in November. Why do you think you should be over her death by now?

    Getting on with life is one thing, but burying the grief and not acknowledging it are only going to backfire on you.

    I lost my best and brightest in July of 2007. I still grieve for him. Not constantly anymore, but there are days where I miss him as if it was the first day after his death.

    If you need to excuse yourself and go cry in private, DO it.

    Time, and allowing yourself to grieve for your horse are the only things that will make it better.

    Good luck.
    The plural of anecdote is not data.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2004
    Location
    Red Bank, NJ
    Posts
    1,658

    Default

    Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your special horse. I'm in a similar situation since I lost my 29YO horse in September 2008- he was my first horse and I had been riding him for almost 20 years. Your post really hits home since I've been doing everything I can to help with the grieving process. You're getting good advice. Give it time and let it out when you need to let it out. I think it's going to feel like this for a while.

    When I lost Alibar, it was as if a light switch clicked off and my whole life changed so suddenly. Alibar was in my life through it all- college, high school, everything. I am a pretty tough cookie but I find myself getting emotional at the strangest times- certain songs and movies just get to me. I don't really like to talk about it much but I have a few trusted friends who have been very supportive and are amazing listeners. Sometimes I just share an old memory or two and it helps. I started a blog to chronicle the beginning of my life without him. I'm also planning to scatter Alibar's ashes at all of our favorite places where I have my fondest memories.

    Another horse came into my life and working with him has helped me quite a bit. One of the reasons that I do so well with him is because he's the polar opposite of what Alibar was, looks-wise and personality-wise. I really tried to follow my gut instinct about going to the barn after Alibar's death. Some days, I could not get there fast enough and some days, I could not go at all.
    Last edited by Alibhai's Alibar; Jan. 13, 2009 at 04:54 PM. Reason: more info
    Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Blog | Horses & Hope calendar | Flickr | Website



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    2,619

    Default

    Kim - I lost my bestest horse pal In February of 2005. I miss her EVERY DAY still. But these days it is with less pain and more in celebration of the times we had.

    It never hurts less, but it will hurt less often.

    There is no time frame to grief. Some days it will come out of nowhere and hit you like a Mac Truck and you will cry your eyes out. Some days you will have the BEST memories and you will laugh out loud and rejoice that you knew her at her best.

    Hold tight to the laugh outs and try to let the crys take care of themselves.

    Sending you {{{HUGS}}} and sharing your pain it the best best best thing to do.

    Call her mom and dad if you are especially in memories and share with them. They will thank you.


    EDIT: I misunderstood that it was a human horse pal. Sorry. Same as above except for the calling of moms and dads. *blush*
    Crayola posse ~ Lazer Lemon yellow
    Take time to give...it is too short a day to be selfish. - Ben Franklin



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2006
    Posts
    7,384

    Default

    Kim once again, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.

    You are doing everything right, in looking after yourself. I think the others are right, perhaps you do need to just let it out. It is ok to grieve, be sad, lay in bed in pajamas and cry for a few days. Sometimes you just need to do that.

    It can be hard too, because I think non-horsey people expect you to be ok after a period of time.

    I lost Dan four months ago. I miss him daily, and the oddest things will bring on the sadness. For me it is grieving his loss, and also, all the should-have-beens. I am immensely sad for the years we did not get to have together, though grateful for the short time we did have.

    Have you made any attempt to go back to the barn or spend any time with the horses? I was sort of thrown back into the mix when an old TB came my way, and it did help. I returned to my childhood barn, with familiar faces (both horsey and equine) and that has helped immensely.

    I've found that I do not resent my new horse at all, which I was worried I'd do. I don't compare him, either-- I only smile when he does something that reminds me of Dan.

    Anyway, feel free to PM me anytime you need a shoulder. Hang in there.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 9, 2007
    Posts
    997

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim View Post
    I lost my equine friend of 23 years on November 8.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on helping me deal with this grief? I feel like it is stuck inside because I have been trying so hard to be strong. (Any time it comes to the surface, as I mentioned, it is usually at an inappropiate time.) Does that make any sense?
    It is going to take time. I lost my equine friend of 26 years in June and I still cry on occassion about him.

    What helped me IMMENSELY was reading A Second Chance to Say Goodbye by Marianne Michaels. It was written along with Anita Curtis, a well known animal communicator. This book helps you "get in touch" with the other side. I read the book and was able to communicate MYSELF with my beloved Dancer.

    It was after my visit from him that I realized what I wonderful LOVING life he lead, and how I was so lucky to have loved him....but that he wanted me to move on and be happy without him here in the flesh. That he'll ALWAYS be with me - and every once in a while, I feel his presence and just know he's watching from the other side.

    I know this probably sounds whacky, but I firmly believe that without this "visitation" I would still be completely distraught. It allowed me some closure, and he had closure too.

    Hang in there.
    Sarah in New Hampshire
    My Blog - Adventures in Eventing



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2007
    Location
    South of Georgia, North of Miami
    Posts
    1,118

    Default

    Admit you have a right to be sad and be sad.

    Unfortunately even though we know its not true, you have that voice in your head saying "Hey, it was only a horse. Bull....he/she was your friend for 23 years. A true friend who you loved and who loved you back. That's a lot to lose.

    I also lost my mare of 23 years back in September. She had been with me longer than my neice is alive, through numerous boyfriends, job loses, money troubles, troubles with the family, you get the picture and she had heard it all. When she died I also lost a big part of my history, an attachment to many good and bad times. She was so wrapped up in the fabric of my being for so many years it was a real blow to lose her. Do I miss her? You bet, and as much as I love my other horses they will never take her place. And they shouldn't. They are all carving their own places in my heart.

    You don't need a deadline. Cry when you need to, laugh about the silly things you did together, and let time heal the wound, because the hole in your heart will never be filled. The sooner you accept that the easier it will be to put one foot in front of the other and keep going.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2008
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    829

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DairyQueen2049 View Post

    It never hurts less, but it will hurt less often.
    I totally agree with this statement. I put down my boy October 20, 2006... a day I will never forget. He helped me grow up. He saw me through childhood, teen years and well into my 20s. He was there through my parent's divorce, my bad choices, poor relationships... but he was also there for my happiest moments. I will never forget what we had. I will never forget how he felt or what he smelled like...

    And yes I still cry. A certain song gets me going everytime. But it does hurt less. He will never be replaced, but that is what made him soooo special. Time is all you need to feel more normal... those who haven't been through it will never understand, nor should you be pushed to deal with it in any other way.

    Hugs.....



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2005
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    1,539

    Default

    I lost my old girl in April 2008. She was 31 (well, a few weeks short) and we had almost 22 years together. I think I was more upset several months after than I was when she died. Don't know why. I still cry at odd times when I think of her and all of our memories together. Let yourself grieve (you lost a friend!) and don't worry what others think. I'm attempting to make a photo collage of Whinnie and me through the years that I can hang in the house. I cry every time I work on it, but I also remember all the good times we had.
    Crayola Posse - Pine Green
    RIP Whinnie Pine (June 4, 1977 - April 29, 2008)



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 1999
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,877

    Default

    Thanks everyone.

    It's tough.

    My work colleagues have been very supportive (sent me a card and flowers when Chutney passed) but I also feel that I have to be "strong" at work. One of my close horse friends says that she "doesn't grieve" - she says she just "moves on" (which I personally don't think is very healthy, but that is my opinion). Obviously I cannot talk to her about it. Other friends try to listen but basically say that there is nothing I can do to bring her back, so I should just remember the good times and move on. I wish it were that simple. (SIGH) Then, of course, I also think that I was lucky to have had such a great horse for 23 years, and she lived a very long life (31.5 years), so I try to convince myself that I shouldn't be upset.

    It's just that when I am alone and could cry for hours, the feeling doesn't hit me. It also doesn't seem to hit me when I am at the therapist's office...

    Thanks again for listening.
    Last edited by Kim; Jun. 4, 2009 at 05:56 PM.
    In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)

    My newest book, "Sandsablaze," available now!



  14. #14

    Default

    You don't need to be strong. You need to grieve and how you do that depends on you as each one is different. I lost my first horse on November 4th. I'd had her over 24 years. I know she is not suffering now it is me who is.

    My motto is one day at a time. It will get easier as time passes and you remember the good times.

    My sympathies. I totally understand how you are feeling.

    Nancy!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 10, 2001
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    2,661

    Default

    Kim,

    my deepest condolences on the loss of your mare. This past September marked 2 years since Canasta had been euthanized. It has only been in the past 4 months that I have truly felt that I am "getting over" her loss. Give it time and you will start to feel better.

    My poor Freddy had to deal with me comparing him to her for the first 2 years of he being in my life.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr. 16, 2007
    Location
    way out west
    Posts
    972

    Default

    Kim it takes time. How much time I can't tell you, but in time you won't find yourself crying at work, or other inappropriate times. And in time there won't be so many sad memories, but happy ones.

    I put my beloved horse down in July of 2006. It took me until November to actually start feeling like myself again. I was lucky, I had other horses to ride. Like you I put together tributes, planted a tree, had an AC out, made a point to be kind to myself. It's weird my calender from all those months is absolutely empty. Normally it is full of notes and appointments and plans. There was no way I could plan for anything.
    Also I was "strong" as well. I wouldn't cry in front of my husband, but I would cry when I did night check. Everyone kept talking about how strong I was. But for a long time I was just dying inside.
    Keeping doing what you are doing. You are doing it all right. It just is going to take time.
    Oh and the best advice I had came from my chiropractor around October. I mentioned that I was still grieving. He said "No one would expect you to be "over it" if it was your brother. "
    "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=eca0d15457



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    14,870

    Default

    I can't help you with anything wise or deep - Just wanted to say that the people who care the most are the ones that hurt the most inside. That means you are a kind, decent and sensitive person, and the world could do with more carers out there. Pain is pain and you cannot 'tell' it to go away. Be patient with yourself. I'm sorry.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 16, 2007
    Location
    way out west
    Posts
    972

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim View Post
    Thanks everyone.

    It's tough.

    My work colleagues have been very supportive (sent me a card and flowers when Chutney passed) but I also feel that I have to be "strong" at work. One of my close horse friends says that she "doesn't grieve" - she says she just "moves on" (which I personally don't think is very healthy, but that is my opinion). Obviously I cannot talk to her about it. Other friends try to listen but basically say that there is nothing I can do to bring her back, so I should just remember the good times and move on. I wish it were that simple. (SIGH) Then, of course, I also think that I was lucky to have had such a great horse for 23 years, and she lived a very long life (31.5 years), so I try to convince myself that I shouldn't be upset.

    Right before she passed, I was also dealing with a breakup with a guy that I had been dating who turned out to be very emotionally unstable (and actually, more than potentially violent). I really did care for him, so that "wound" is also still there so to speak. I find myself thinking about him, and I think it is just because I feel so vulnerable without my wonderful horse. She was the one who was there for me through all of the milestones of my life, and I hate that I cannot put my arms around her neck and feel safe anymore. I do love my other horse and am bonding with her much more now, but we don't have that history of being together since I was a kid.

    It's just that when I am alone and could cry for hours, the feeling doesn't hit me. It also doesn't seem to hit me when I am at the therapist's office...

    Thanks again for listening.
    Kim,
    I went through something similar. You are not only greiving for your Chutney but for who you were with that her.
    I didn't just grieve for my horse, but for the girl I was when I bought him who could just pick up and go to a horse show or drive across the country at a moments notice. For the 32 year old that I was with him. I only had him for a short 8 years, but grew up a lot of that time. With out him it was like loosing an anchor (yep a hot OTTB as an anchor )
    I did spend quite a bit of time on the Hoof beats in heaven yahoo group site. I was able to talk about memories and my horse for way longer than all my friends would listen to.
    Hang in there, I can promise it will get better. I just can't tell you when.
    "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=eca0d15457



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2007
    Posts
    4,227

    Default

    Kim,

    My Mickey died 2 years ago this coming April 27th - Just typing this I am crying. God I LOVED that horse! I miss him every day! And even though God sent me a new horse to love(it's a great story - because I was never going to get another horse just for me), He is not my Mickey.

    My Husband bought a stone for Mickey's grave - which is in my big pasture. It says "I will listen for your hoof beats in heaven". And I will I just know God I just know I will hear them too!!!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2008
    Posts
    670

    Default Totally Normal

    It takes a long time to get over the loss of a special companion. There are pet loss hotlines - like this one at the University of IL that can help you with the process if you like.

    http://vetmed.illinois.edu/CARE/

    So sorry for your loss.....



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