Aspen Adventures

Two Months Later.

So, 2017 has been a year of shit. On 25 January I lost Jephy. He had a bad bout of colic and had twisted his intestines and would not have made it the three hours to a University for surgery, though I would’ve done it in a heartbeat, regardless of cost, had he been able to travel. My dad and brother were with me the entire time the doctor was out, and I would not have made it without their support. I wasn’t aware of my suffering, just my poor Jephy’s. I’ve never seen a horse in his condition, and the fact that he was my entire world did not help the cause at all. Making the decision to end his suffering was easy, in a way. I couldn’t let my best friend continue to suffer. He was in pain. My dad and brother were with me in his final moments, just the four of us. We all sat around him, petting him, telling him what a great boy he was and sharing some of our favorite stories.

About 10:30 that evening he was gone.

The doctor was very kind and understanding, she gave me a hug as did her husband. I would’ve been an absolute mess the entire time if it weren’t for my family. My dad kept helping the doc, trying to rock Jephy up to a sitting position and to stand so he could be tubed. My brother couldn’t help with that as he had had back surgery not even a week prior, but he was either pulling me into giant bear hugs and letting me cry on his shoulder or pushing me to Jephy, telling me to talk to him, touch him, let him know I was there.

We buried him the next day. Dad and I talked over the best spot that evening. Originally I had thought in the yard by the house, as is tradition with the rest of our lost pets. Jephy loved to graze on the lawn, it had black dirt hauled in when we built the house and had the richest grass. But it had been oddly wet, not snowy, that month, and my dad worried about running into water while digging. Jephy was by no means a small horse, he was my big brown moose after all, and so we nixed that idea. Another came to me, the north pasture. It wasn’t fenced in, and Jephy and I spent many hours there together. Riding leisurely, working on barrels or him just grazing and keeping me company. I picked a spot full of clover; there was no snow on the ground and I could easily pick out the biggest patch of wilted clover. He lived for a clover patch. It was a perfect final resting spot.

Unfortunately Jephy was put to sleep in his stall, we couldn’t get him outside to administer the final injection. That hadn’t bothered me at the time, I knew we could get him out and to his final resting place. But the next morning, I realized I couldn’t be there for it; I couldn’t handle seeing his body moved in odd ways to get him out of his stall. My dad understood completely, though I know it wasn’t easy for him either. He loved the big brown moose just as much as I did. Before that, I cut off his mane and tail. Making the decision to end his suffering had been easy, but cutting off my final keepsake of him, god damn it was hard. It was reality slapping me in the face. I could only cut for a few second before I was fighting tears. His pain was done, and mine had just begun. How was I going to live without my best friend?

My dad and brother got Jephy to the pasture where my cousin had come over with his John Deere ho to dig a hole. My dad had removed his halter, which now hangs in the farm shop with his lead. I have at home his first halter and lead he came home in, and the one my amazing friend Faith gave me for christmas the first year I had Jephy.

I always knew that some day I would have to say goodbye to him, but I never dreamed it would be so soon. He was 25 years young. And do I mean it when I say young- my goofy gelding never acted his age. He was such a spitfire when he wanted to be, full of piss and vinegar. I thought I had at least until he was 30 or more. But one of my worst fears came to fruitation way sooner than I anticipated. And I won’t lie, I don’t know how to go on. What the hell does it even mean to be happy with a giant, gaping hole in your chest? When I do feel happy, I feel guilty. It has been two months today. Two months, and I think the only progress I’ve made is being able to sleep. Sort of.

I have more thoughts on this, but they’ll wait for another day. Honestly, I’m surprised I even made it this far. I’m not going to reread this so I apologize for any typos, words that aren’t actually words, or shit that just plain doesn’t make sense.


P.S. My mom had opted to stay inside during the vet visit.  She has lost a horse in the past at the ripe age of 32, and I don’t blame her for not wanting to experience the pain again.  She has been incredibly helpful and has wished on multiple occasions she could take my pain away, as she knows all too well what it’s like.

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