Down, but not Defeated.
Somewhere in time's own space, there must be some sweet pastured place,
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow,
Some paradise where horses go.
For by the love that guides my pen -
I know great horses live again."
~ Stanley Harrison.
The above quote brought me a lot of solace the last two weeks, it has been hard to find the words to write down here.. to put out to the universe. But, I am ready now to begin writing again.
First off, I want to start by saying thank you for all of your kind words.
Losing Bunny was awful, it was earth-shatteringly awful. Waking up in the morning was hard, then leaving the house was hard, facing friends, going to the barn, going back to work. All of these moments were like trudging through dark, murky water, and not being able to see the shore. Many people didn't know what to say, but still - saying something - it was always appreciated. (Except for the one time a girl told me atleast it wasn't a family member.... she wasn't appreciated.) I KNOW it wasn't a human being, but for me - it was still a tragedy.
Secondly, the autopsy.
The preliminary autopsy came back with little to no clues.
"The changes in the intestine are more difficult to interpret given that autolysis was occurring. However, the small intestine was quite dilated and reddened and contained hemorrhagic and foul-smelling content. Given the gross appearance of the small intestine there was concern for an intestinal accident, but a mesenteric torsion could not be demonstrated. There was no evidence of trauma or a hemorrhagic event."
Lament terms: There was some slight issues in the small intestine and in the GI tract, but there was no twist to be found, and nothing looked as if it could have caused death.
The final autopsy, even worse.
"Unfortunately the cause of death has not been determined in this case. The changes in the small intestine noted on gross examination appear to simply represent congestion and postmortem diapedesis of red cells into the intestinal lumen. There was no evidence of a necrotizing or hemorrhagic enteritis. The inflammation that was present in the small intestine and colon was mainly composed of eosinophils and this change is quite common in the equine gastrointestinal tract and may be a reflection of parasitism."
Lament terms: We couldn't find anything, the prelims were wrong - all of that was caused in postmortem.
So, here I am...
My horse. My beautiful - but more importantly, totally healthy, very in shape, peak performance horse, is dead. At 3 pm she was given a 4 way vaccination, she was last seen alive at 8 pm, and by 7 am she was dead. I am now asking, "Can you tell me that the vaccinations did not cause death?" and they are telling me, "well... no... not really." So what do I do now? My vet is sending the report in to the vaccination companies (two different companies produced the two separate vaccines), but I have little hope down that particular avenue. I think in the stages of grief I have now hit mad... bitterly angry... someone needs to explain to me why my horse dropped dead.
I wrote this shortly after Bunny's passing and it still holds true:
This has been a very dark time for me. I have been dealt simultaneous blows. The blow of losing a beloved mare, a young, thriving three year old. The blow of losing what felt like the first step on a golden path i've been attempting to get my feet on for so long - cutting. There it was, the yellow brick road, all laid out in front of me. The right horse, the right time. Finally, then turning, halter dangling from my hands, swinging at my side, facing into a bank loan that I hadn't even started paying off yet. Now, a loan I will have to pay off, without anything to show for it. The injustice. The copper taste in my mouth. Looking up in the sky, and just not understanding. Then, there's the feeling... the feeling like maybe if I lay down on the cold ground, I will get swallowed up into the earth where I can just stay. This is where I am, this is where I will stay for awhile.
Yet, I am slowly starting to repair and pick up the pieces. I'm facing myself more and more every day. I am recognizing that sleeping all day is not okay, and I am trying to sleep a little less.. some days, it works. Other days, not so much.
Some day, this all will pass. Some day, this pain will be a faraway dull ache. Maybe... maybe, some day I will have "learnt" from this. Isn't that what it's all about? These journeys? These tragedies? That's what everyone seems to say and think. But for now, I will lay here, and I will think. I will figure out another way.
& for now, I just keeping telling myself that I am down, but I am not defeated.