Friday, October 28, 2011
Breathing In and Out
"Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breathe in and out all day long."
--Sam Baldwin, Sleepless in Seattle
That's pretty much how I feel. Things are not going according to plan. The support I have received would be heartening, but I feel like my heart is in a box somewhere, I forget where. I spent all day Tuesday in bed with a migraine that was so bad I didn't think I would live. I hoped I wouldn't.
I watched her through the day. By 2:00pm, I knew she was dying. The vet was coming, I would have her put down. She got worse, the vet was not here, she got worse, the vet was stuck in bay area traffic. She got worse. She started to stagger and get down, then up, then down. She was hunched in pain, up, down, up, down. She hurt. I said:
"Just stay down and stop breathing." Up, down, up down, staggering, falling, up, down, up, down.
"Maggie, please, just lay down and die." Up, down. Finally, she did.
Beautiful Maggie, with the golden nose and soft hair. Maggie, who whinnied at me to come out of the outhouse. Maggie, who would just come up to me in her paddock and lean her neck on my hip. Maggie, who would leave her food to knicker at me not to leave yet. Her illness and hospitalization bonded us so closely. She brought out the best in me.
Then the nightmares. Horses flipping over onto their heads and dying, huge bodies crashing to the ground, bones shattering. One horse, then two, then five. Dying in agony all around me. I was helpless, and then I woke up and could not catch my breath. I went back to sleep and dreamed it all again.
I went back to the ranch to clean up. So many cards, so many people came. One person had become hysterical on Tuesday and had to be driven home by another boarder. It was someone I don't even know very well.
When she was dying, I breathed in, trying to hold her scent forever. But I had to breathe out.