Thank you for all of your kind thoughts over the last few days. We are holding up here. Yesterday was a trial for all of us. I think on Wednesday I was so focused on helping Paco out of his pain that I had no space to think about ‘the day after’. And the jennies didn’t notice that anything was much out of whack … just that Paco seemed to be laying down a long time. I’m glad that I kept them all together while we helped Paco leave this life. He was reassured by their presence. I kept his body in the paddock with the girls for that day. They kept checking him out … at times moving quietly by him as if giving him the space to sleep. Eventually they began to try to nudge him awake. That is when we decided to wrap him up in a tarp and separate him from the main paddock. And that is also when the girls began to try to think through this strange thing that had happened to their buddy. When we did take him away I kept the girls in the front paddock.
But yesterday when he was gone we all felt the hole in our hearts. It is always a surprise to me how heavy sadness can be. The girls looked and looked for Paco – and called and called for him. They did not want to leave the back paddock. I think because they always stayed together and when they did move it was because Paco was leading the way. (Even if some of the time Darby was herding him from behind!) For me … my heart didn’t catch up to my brain until I found myself having to realize it had all been for real … he was really gone. Now I have to shake myself to remember that my whole incredible friendship with him was real. It sure was magical. So today we shook ourselves off … did the chores together … spent extra time on brushing and grooming and just being close by each other. Darby gets upset when either Ede or I leave the paddock and go inside. It is like it has dawned on her that buddies can ‘go away and not come back’. Our next door neighbour dropped by to give them extra hugs. He too has been hearing them braying – especially as mostly… they don’t.
I hope it doesn’t sound too awful for me to say that I was relieved today that I was so happy to be out there with the jennies. I was nervous that the heaviness of the sadness would affect how I love them all. Not. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Even knowing the ending for Paco and I. And I’m all the more aware of how special this time of my life is – being retired – and spending time with my beautiful, gentle, loving four legged family. Each day really is a gift. Life can end so suddenly. I plan to enjoy the dance as long as I can and the donkey hugs along the way.
Hugs from the Meadow Mice and the other critters to you.