…And 2 months later…

I reestablished contact with my father 2 months ago for the first time in 3 years.  It was sudden and unexpected, but uneventful.  Or, as uneventful as something like this can be.

I visited my father, per his request, only a couple of weeks after we reestablished contact.  It went fine.  He was simply “showing me off” to his employees and colleagues and wanted to impress me.  I’m not fooled by his attempts, but it’s typical for him.

Life just continued.

Christmas Eve.  My father decided that he wanted to “hash out” some of what happened on the day that I told him I no longer wanted to have contact with him.  I asked him why we needed to go over it, since all is said and done.  He told me that he has a major problem with how I treated him.  He said he couldn’t understand what he did that was so bad.

I didn’t, and don’t, have the courage to tell him.. or ask him… if he did what I think he did…or know he did?  Do I know?  Do I really?

“Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.” – Oscar Wilde

I just tried to appease him enough by telling him I was sensitive and the things he would say were too much for me to handle growing up.  It was enough to end the conversation.  Apparently it wasn’t enough to satisfy him for good.

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” -Criss Jami

Today, I received a text message from him saying that he wanted to “talk.”  I had a very bad feeling about it, but I called him anyway.

He said we had a lot more to “hash out.”  I asked him, why do we still need to go over the past 3 years?  He said it was because he has such a big problem with the way I treated him.  I explained that I had to do what was right for me at the time, and while I understand it may have been hurtful for him, it also wasn’t easy for me, but it was still the best way for me to figure out who I was, take care of myself, etc.

“We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” -Malcom X

He didn’t like that answer.  He just kept pestering me, asking me how I couldn’t feel the need to apologize.  I told him that it was the right thing for me to do.  He accused me of never telling him “why” I didn’t want to be in contact with him anymore.  I did, partially, but he doesn’t remember.  However I told him that I was terrified, because any time I say anything that he doesn’t agree with, it turns into an argument that ends in a screaming match.

He switched tactics.  He said that it has become obvious to him that there is a major problem with how I was raised.  A dig at my mother, but also telling me that he sees fault in who I am today.  I told him, immediately, that if he is telling me that he sees a problem with who I am as a person today, I will end the conversation.  He mentioned our old neighbor, who used to spank his children (quite often, quite hard), and how his children turned out so wonderful and that they must have been doing something right.

I told him that I will not continue to have someone in my life who keeps telling me that he finds something wrong with who I am today, because I feel more secure in who I am as a person than ever before, and that it was those 3 years apart that helped me define that.  He told me how selfish that was and how selfish I was being.  I said that I am not being selfish by taking care of myself when necessary, and he insisted I was.  I “threatened” him that if the conversation continues the way it was going, I was going to go right back to not talking to him, because I don’t need a person like him in my life.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

He wanted to know why I didn’t “worship” him like my cousins worship their father, who is quite a mess.  He wanted to know what he did that was so bad that he didn’t get the same treatment that they give their father.  I asked him if he has any compassion for me, for the journey that I’ve gone through.  He didn’t answer.  He just said I’m unbelievable.  He said I’m selfish.  Several times.

I told him I can’t talk to him anymore.

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

No matter how strong I may have gotten, this still rips me to pieces.  It still makes me question everything.  It still makes me question my self worth, my value as a person, my character… all of it.  And even worse, everything that he said, all of his questions, make me question the very basis upon which I’ve built the stronger me.

I feel like my whole self is a game of Jenga, and almost all of the pieces had been put into place.  But now, I’ve suddenly had several key pieces removed, causing the whole structure to wobble and sway and threaten to collapse.  I’ll get over it, of course.  I always do.

And that’s the end of that.  Forever this time.

“As you become your own advocate and your own steward, your life will beautifully transform.” – Miranda Barrett 

 

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3 Years in the Making

It has been a long time since I have written a blog post.  However, considering I am not finding many other outlets helpful, except for a visit to my therapist for the first time in a couple of months, I am coming back here to air some of what has been going on in my head.

So here is what’s going on, in a short and sweet manner…One that, if there is someone reading this, will allow you to decide if you feel like reading further.  In October of 2012, I officially broke off all contact with my father due to many years of abuse (in every sense of the word).  It is now 3 years later.  I have not had any contact with him, and I have not seen him.  No birthday cards, no Christmas cards, no attempts from him to fix the relationship.  Nothing.  He didn’t even seem to care.  The only clues that I had that maybe he cared were his sudden habit of drinking – when he never used to – and being even more belligerent to his staff at work.

3 years later.  On Friday of this week, I will be flying down to visit him.  At his request, his suggestion.  I said OK.

How does this happen, you ask?  That is a damned good question.  It’s happened so quickly that even I have a hard time keeping up.

To make another long story short, I sent him an email a couple of weeks ago with some unsolicited advice about a business he was helping his brother start in the town where I live (he lives 1,000 miles away).  His brother knows nothing about this town, but decided he likes it because his daughter, my cousin, is now in her first year of college year.  I sent the email to my father with the advice more as an “I told you so” if the business failed, because I was intentionally shut out of all prior planning on it.

My father was apparently very impressed by my input, and suddenly all contact with him was restored.  And part of me is pleased that he likes me again.  That he is proud of me….That I am doing things that make him proud that I’m his daughter.

And a whole huge part of me is disgusted at that.  HOW could I be proud that this man – who did all of those things – is proud of me?  HOW could I possibly WANT to be in contact with him again?  WHY do I want to please him?  Or, more accurately, why do other parts of me want to please him?

And then there’s an even worse part.  One that has tortured me for years, but has turned the heat up several hundred degrees.  What if I am able to be pleased, because those parts know that nothing happened?  What if nothing really happened at all…What have these last 6 years of therapy been about?  What about the last 3 years of no contact with my father?  Did he deserve it?

Rationality kicks in for a quick moment.  How often I dissociate.  The extreme fear I feel.  But…what if the fear is only of being wrong, and not of him?

And then I question the question.

And I panic, because through it all, there is a small part of me – a young part – that is curled in a corner, terrified, asking me why we have to see him again.  He didn’t change over the 23 years we had contact with him…What makes us think he would have changed over the last 3 when we didn’t?

Nothing.  Logic and emotion tell me that there is absolutely no reason to believe he has changed.  And so, despite all of the disagreement about who he is, what may have happened…Or what may not have happened…There is one thing we agree on:

When is the monster in him going to come out? When am I going to do the wrong thing or say something that will bruise his fragile ego? Am I – are we – strong enough to withstand the force of whatever (figurative) blow we may take?

My therapist – J – is not so sure.  Neither am I.  It has been many years, but the last time I visited him, I dissociated the entire time.  I was in a dream state.  the. entire. time.  We talked about the possibility of just not going.  I told her I already agreed to it, because I felt obligated since he is helping me get out of some financial trouble that I am in at the moment, and I do not want him to think I am using him for his money.  Is that bad?  J says it’s not. I’m not so sure.  For years I’ve been so determined to get out of this hole on my own, but it would be so nice to not constantly be in the red.

So, I told J that I was afraid of offending him by not going.  Or embarrassing him in front of his employees if I suddenly don’t go when I said I would.  J pointed out that I was taking care of his feelings.  That I had automatically – without even realizing it – fallen right back into the cycle of taking care of his needs.  She called it icky.  And it is.  It makes my skin crawl.

I feel like a failure for letting that happen and not even noticing it.  J warned me that it may happen again when I’m down there, and I may not realize it until I’m very far into it.  Which begs the question.  WHY AM I GOING?

I feel guilty.  And he already purchased the airline tickets.  And…not going is almost assuring that the monster will come out, while going may keep it at bay.

Then I asked J, how do I know the line between taking care of myself and being fair to him?  To phrase it another way…If I have made all of this up and none of it actually happened (except the fact that he’s a raging narcissist…I know that is true), how do I give him a chance to be a father, within limits, while still taking care of myself?

I’m already numbing myself out completely.  I have a constant compulsion to completely break down, but I can’t seem to let myself.  Even though I’m still safe.  I asked J if going would set myself back many months.  She said she didn’t know, but that she once had a patient who visited his family of origin for a period of time and it was a major setback for him.

I don’t know what I’m doing.  But I do know that I feel more alone that I have in quite a long time.  Ironic considering all of the parts that are chiming in lately.  Let the games begin.

 

What other shoe?

Oh, yes.  That one.  The one I was waiting for and nearly thought wasn’t coming.  But no, oh no, no, no.  There it is.

My mother has gone batshit cray cray.  Putting humor to this is the only way my mind can cope because this is just…Blank.  Wordless.  My mind can’t fathom it.

For years, my mind, the big parts, the little parts (especially the wee little ones), held onto my mother being the sane one.  Being the more protective and safe of the two.  She yells and slams the door and I sit outside of it crying as a 6 year old and begging her to forgive me for God knows what?  Doesn’t matter.  Her arms were safer than his.

She would tell me I was selfish right after my parents divorced and I wasn’t taking care of her needs enough.   She still didn’t call me a bitch like he did.  She would tell me I was beautiful… during the times she wasn’t criticizing me about my weight.

She cried on the side of the road and told me her life was a deep, dark depressive hole.  I had her move in with me so that her burden of paying so much rent could be lifted and perhaps she could escape the wrath of my father.  It did not happen.

I cut off contact with my father, and instead of being proud of me, she begged me to apologize to him for the sake of her life and her job. I was getting stronger.  I did not apologize, but I told him to take out his battles with me and not her.  She was still unhappy with this.

She kept expecting my constant apologies like I always used to give, but I continued to grow stronger, thanks to my friends, my job, my therapy, my ever-growing, ever-changing adult life forcing me to establish my own identity, separate from her.  She did not, and has not, been getting those apologies.  I am now labeled as a selfish person who fails to take the blame for the “thoughtless behavior that I unleash on others.”

I am now labeled as “physically violent.”  My mother tried to physically restrain me the other night, grabbing my wrists.  I made a motion, not a violent one, but an automatic reaction to pull my hands away, and she fell backwards.  Dramatically.  I say this because she has openly admitted to a friend and me that she has intentionally thrown herself off of the stairs for attention (then quickly added, as a child, as an afterthought).  Coincidentally, a similar incident happened a couple of months ago.

Back to our argument.  She fell.  I tried to go to my room and requested she go downstairs, to her basement apartment, which we agreed would be kept separate from my upstairs apartment.  I shut my bedroom doors.  She yelled at me through the doors that I will be alone for the rest of my life if I continue to act this way.  I opened the doors and told her, “What right do you have to say that, seeing as I am the one with a plethora of friends and you stay home alone all day?”

She did not hear this.  I walked past her to get the phone to call my friend so that it would diffuse the conversation.  I tried to walk out the front door.  She blocked my way and I pushed past her.  She fell down again.  Her arm reached out for the banister as she fell, and then she took it back.  She never makes any attempts to catch herself.

She screamed at me that I will be alone for the rest of my life.  Curious how this started?  It all started because she spoke again with my ex-boyfriend who is only 20 years old (I am 25), and he told her intimate details about his sexual abuse.  She proceeded to tell me as if it would make me want to get back together with him. She started to tell me details.  I stopped her and I said, “Before you go any further, have you even thought about what effect this might have on me?”

She ignored me.  I took that as a no.  And it hit me…She is pissed that I won’t tell her any fucking details about my sexual abuse from my father – her ex-husband. And I realized that I want nothing to do with this woman.  Nothing.

I packed a bag and left.  I stayed at a hotel that night and spent the next with a friend.  I am stuck in this house agreement with her until we’ve earned some equity and can sell it.  She has plans to renovate her downstairs area.  I asked her to please prioritize the door separating our two floors and that I would like a lock on my side.  She agreed.

She sent me a scathing text telling me to “NEVER touch her in a violent way EVER again.”  I told her I don’t want to be around her.  She said, “Trust me, I won’t go anywhere near you.”  Apparently, I have the whole world snowed.  All of my friends, my therapist, everyone I meet.  None of them know the “real me.” Only her and my ex-boyfriend.

Apparently, I am a threat.  Maybe I should wear a mask like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.

It’s too bad…. My fingers are so tired from typing all of this, I don’t even feel like typing out the whole story of the guy that came to my door and requested a “ride” from me, had scoped out my house earlier in the day and was convicted of kidnapping, assault, and robbery a year prior, and the police hardly did a thing. It’s been a fun few days.

Finding the strength…continued. 

My mother went to her therapy session and didn’t speak about it until the day before her next one. She came upstairs and told me that her therapist told her that she’s (my mom) not a mind reader and that I have to tell her what I’m needing out of her. 

She then proceeded to ask me questions, details, about the abuse that occurred. I clammed up, physically, mentally, emotionally, and told her that I can’t talk about it because I was getting really triggered. I asked her if she knew what that meant. She chose not to answer that question and deflected to something else. It eventually got to the point where I was begging her to stop, to stop talking, stop trying to get details, stop invading my boundaries, but she just kept pushing on because she didn’t hear any of that. 

I was so miserable being in my own body, all I could do was crouch down and grab my hair and keep from screaming because I couldn’t even stand the skin on my own body. To try to get my mother to understand how triggered I was (and she said that she “knew what triggered means”) I said, “Well, all I want to do right now is drive my car into a fucking tree.” She had no reaction. She was just upset at how angry I was at her. Which really wasn’t anger. It was more despair and hopelessness than anything. 

The conversation ended abruptly when she said that my best friends, my closest friends that know me almost as well as my therapist and are supportive as hell and would kill for me, don’t know the “real” me, the “hostile” me. 

I visited with my friends – the ones who don’t know me well – and they talked me off the ledge. Quite literally. I also got in touch with my therapist via email just to let her know what was going on. 

To add horrible insult to a gaping hole of an injury: my boyfriend told me that he intentionally didn’t answer my texts or calls that day – the day when I was in so much despair – because he said he could tell “from my text messages” that I was angry. And he didn’t want to speak to me when I was angry. When I told him that I was in despair and hopeless, not angry, he argued that it was the same thing for him, but I told him it’s not for me. He didn’t believe me, because he did not believe my own perceptions of my own emotions. 

He has spent too much time with my mother. She spent months planting a bug in his ear about how easily I get angry and how loving and caring and altruistic she is. 

I have stayed with my best friend the past few days because I have been in too much despair to be home. She came with me back to the house last night to get a couple things and when she heard my mother and I getting into it, she came downstairs. We all, all three of us, argued for over an hour. My mother claimed she followed me after I said I was suicidal but all of the places she said she went were totally incorrect, so she was lying. She screamed at me when she asked more questions as a request for details about the abuse and I said that I couldn’t talk about it. 

The conversation eventually ended cordially but it doesn’t matter to me anymore. Nothing has really changed. And my boyfriend still won’t talk to me for some reason, and I don’t understand what I did wrong, and I can’t get him to talk to me. I finally got in touch with his friend today just to make sure he was ok, which he is. But this is all tearing me apart. My boyfriend is standing up for my mother rather than me, because he has only seen the side of her that is happy and sweet and unconditionally loving. 

And I feel like I have gone crazy and like everything and anyone that gets too close to me falls apart. 

Finding the strength to stand up to family

If anyone really reads this, I am sorry that I have not been posting lately.

My mother and I have had a very contentious relationship since I told her… You know. I had hoped that her knowing the whole truth would help her understand me a bit more. But it hasn’t. If anything, things have gotten worse, because I have just gotten more frustrated and angry that she has continued on with her life like nothing has changed and hasn’t echoed one word of support.

I’ve told my therapist our conversations and she has told me, “Oh she’s good” when it comes to how she twists things around to make them about her and pin me a corner without an escape. But today was different. Because this time, I knew there was no way she could pin me in a corner.

She got into it with me because I made a “unilateral” decision about the horses (she often says she will defer to me because I am the “expert”). The issue was only about some hay nets that I wanted to use. When things escalated, I walked away.

Then I decided to come back downstairs. Because I was tired. I want to come back to the house that I own and enjoy it, not be afraid of the occupant waiting for me.

I asked her to name one thing she has done to support me since I “told her”. For the SECOND time since I told her about everything, she actually asked me, “Since you told me what?” As if she has forgotten what I told her. I said, “Are you freaking kidding me?” And she said something like, “Ok, ok – but you said you didn’t want to talk about it.” I told her that that didn’t mean I couldn’t use some sort of words of support every now and then.

She then started going on about how she has always been supportive of me all throughout my life and how could I say that about her, so on and so forth. And I stopped her right then and I told her, “No. You don’t get to make this about you. What have you done for me since I told you?”

I told her how much it hurt that she has done nothing to support me since I told her months ago. Her ability to go on with her life as if nothing happened is like her not believing me. She kept saying that I told her I didn’t want to talk about it and that she didn’t know what she was supposed to do, and just like I have told her before, I reiterated that I don’t have the mental or emotional strength to teach her what she’s supposed to do or how she’s supposed to deal with it. She has to find someone else to do that. I asked her, “How can you expect me to help you do that sort of thing when I am still trying to figure out how to deal with it on my own?”

I asked her if she had any idea what it takes for me to simply make it through the day. She didn’t reply. I told her that it takes everything I have to not react to every tiny little trigger. She still did not seem to know what to say.

Then she said, with a resentful tone, “So all of your friends know?” And I told her that only one other person (besides my therapist) knows. Then I left. Because I couldn’t stand to be in the same room with someone who was making my problem all about her. Even after all of these months of me trying to nudge her in the right direction and give her tips and hints of what she can do to be helpful, she chose to make everything about herself. So I just left.

The next day, she told me that she sent an email to her therapist and told her everything that we had talked about. 

I will have a whole separate post about everything that followed. 

The cat is out of the bag.

Yesterday, I did what I had sworn, or parts or myself at least, that I would never, ever do. For my own protection and for my mother’s sake.

I can’t say it out loud but I can write it. I told her that I was sexually abused by my father. We have had major fights over the past several months, and last night, it got to the point where I just said, you know what, I don’t care. And that’s exactly what I did say. I got home from work and went downstairs to my mother’s “apartment” to ask her if we needed to straighten anything else out. She just turned her back and told me to read my email.

In my previous email to her, I told her that I had a right to be angry, and in her response, she said that if I find fault in everything she does, then of course I will think I have the right to be angry.

After I read that, I went downstairs and just said, “I’ve never told you this just because I wanted to keep from feeling guilty about dad. But I just don’t give a shit anymore.” All I could say was that the abuse was more than verbal. She asked if it was sexual and I said yes.

Point #1 that hurt me to the core: it mattered to her whether or not he completely “raped” me or not. That word makes me so squeamish… And for some reason I associate it with more “grown up” people. But I nodded.

Point #2 that hurt me to the core: she immediately admitted that she found him having sex with another woman in my room, with me in it, when I was two years old. She said she kicked him out, but she obviously let him back in and remained oblivious for years.

I should cut her some slack. And I’m trying to. But I am a complete and utter mess. And then I got into a car accident today, first ever, at my own fault.

I don’t know what to think but the pain of having her know is not relieving. It is suffocating.

Dealing with the grief of death

I’ve had several posts that have been in draft form in here for months. None as worthy of posting as this one.

I blessed to be able to own three horses now. However I always intended on keeping one of my horses – we will call him T – forever. And, forever in horse language is until they pass away from old age. T was only 11. He should have had at least 10 more years ahead of him.

Instead, I was out with a close co-worker friend of mine after work one day and get a panicked text message from mother, EMERGENCY – T. It’s bad.

My stomach drops but I immediately pick up the phone and call her. She is sitting with him and answers the phone. In between tears she tells me that she found him laying down and that she called the vet and they think he broke his leg.

I don’t hear anything else after this.

A broken leg is a death sentence. I broke down in the middle of the store we were in. We were trying on clothes… I never shop for damn clothes… And my friend heard me and was hurrying to finish up but in the meantime I had random strangers coming up and asking if I was OK.

No, I was not OK.

I had T for nearly 8 years. He got me through times in my teenage years when I was suicidal and had no one. When I needed to escape, I would go out to the barn and just be with him. Sometimes it wouldn’t even involve riding. Just being there with him was all the therapy I needed. And I would cry with him. It was the only safe place to cry.

We did some horse shows together.. Never as many as I would’ve liked due to money issues, but they were still good. That horse put me back together. In our first horse show together, we unanimously won our first class under both of the judges who were judging it. I was so happy and surprised that I cried after I left the ring. Not even when I won my world championship way back when I was 14 did I cry. This made me so much happier because the emotional journey that I had taken to get to that point had been so harrowing and yet there I was. And T was the one horse who willingly and bravely took me there, only wanting love – and some grain and hay – in return.

He wasn’t with me consistently through all 8 of those years.. For three years while I was in college, he was leased to a woman in Texas where he got to eat grass and hay all day. He was happy there.

Then we tried leasing him to another woman who had a nice, reputable trainer to guide her. 4 months later, T had lost so much weight, you could see all of his ribs as well as each of his hip bones. So despite the fact that I wasn’t sure how I would afford it, I took him back just to get him out of that situation. I had no idea that he had lost so much weight or else I would’ve taken him back much sooner. I’ve never been so angry in my life as I was at that woman for neglecting my horse. She didn’t do it intentionally – she didn’t know better. But by golly if you are going to take on someone else’s horse, you sure as hell better make sure you know better.

It’s hard to be grateful that he was in that situation, but I am, because that’s what led to him coming back to me permanently.

I rent a nice little house with a 4 stall barn on 6 acres. I found it by accident.. I was just looking for a pet friendly apartment for me and my dog. But then when I needed to bring T back, this was a blessing. The fencing situation where I rent my house and barn is not very good. Mesh wire on the bottom with one barbed wire strand along the top. I’ve hated it since I moved in, but my horses never had a problem with it until last month with T.

When my friend got out of the dressing room and saw all of those people crowded around me, sobbing uncontrollably, she knew something was terribly wrong. I told her between choking breaths and she started to cry, too, and stopped and gave me a hug and told me she was sorry. Then she to me to give her my keys so she could drive me home and stay with me.

When we got home, T was laying in the paddock, covered in sweat. When he saw me, he started to pick his head up and almost whinny, but it only came out as a groan. I glanced down and over at his back leg to see and immediately knew with just a glance that he needed to be put down. All I wanted in that moment was for him to be free of pain. Screw what I was feeling.

I was in a white t-shirt and flip flops but I didn’t care. I laid down on the ground next to him and stroked his face and his neck and spoke softly to him. He lifted his head a bit and I shifted myself so that it was resting entirely in my lap and I just softly ran my hands along his face.

I asked my mother furiously where the vet was, since she said she had called him at least 30 minutes ago. He had apparently complained that it was his day off.

I called a friend who knows someone that’s close to the vet who typically can get him to show up quicker. I told her that T needed to be put down now and we needed Dr. L here 30 minutes ago.

Dr. L pulled up about 10 minutes later. Fucker.

He came up all cheeky, talking about how T had worked himself into a sweat and then saw the damage. I just begged him to stop wasting time and please put him down. Maybe if I hadn’t rushed him, he would’ve done it right.

He gave T a sedative that should’ve made the process of giving the final injections much easier but he didn’t give enough. Probably didn’t account for the fact that his heart was beating at twice the normal rate due to the amount of pain he was in, so it would take more sedative to have the same effect.

I think he partially missed the vein for the final injections. T started seizing before he finally laid his head back down for the last time. It took far too long for my sweet boy to be put out of his misery.

As far as what happened and what kind of injury he had – it appears that T was rolling and got his leg caught in the mesh wire fencing and dislocated his hock (the equivalent of a human’s knee, except in the back leg) trying to get it out. I believe when he tried to stand up on this dislocated hock, it caused further injury up his leg, resulting in worse fracturing higher up. However, we will never know for sure exactly how it happened.

We laid him to rest under an apple tree at the back of the property. I took most of the next week off of work, because I was crying too much and too often to do anything effectively. And, I had decided I wanted to create a garden for T’s grave, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else until that was finished. I did it all in 4 days. It has a natural rock border with a wave petunia pot hanging in the center on a shepherd’s hook. There are two sunflower plants, two Shasta daisies, and two Ruby Tuesday heleniums. In the center is a Linten Rose. It has evergreen leaves but doesn’t bloom until toward middle/end of winter. I thought it was nice because it gives T flowers almost all year round. I have solar lights dotting the garden with refracted light. In the center of the garden, I arranged the slate stones around the base of the shepherd’s hook and put a solar light there. At night, the reflected light looks like a halo and the stones look like wings. I didn’t even mean for it to look like that, but it’s so beautifully fitting that it does.

In dealing with the grief of this, I feel guilty for celebrating the positives that have come out of it. When I was laying with T as we were waiting for the vet, I told my mother that I wanted to move. And so we are. We actually are in the process of buying a house with 8 acres and a barn. The barn needs updating, but a gift that T has given us is an insurance payout. We’ve had him insured for years, hoping we would never need it. But it is now allowing us to renovate the barn to accommodate my two other beautiful horses that I’m so blessed to have. So if all goes well, we will close on the house at the end of August. My mother is co-signing on the mortgage with me and is moving with me as well, however this house has two entirely separate living spaces, each with their own private entrances.

I’ve been shown how supportive my friends and coworkers are. They were all extremely understanding, although I know none could understand the depth of the relationship.

T has been giving me gifts for years, in many forms. These were his last ones to me. But something tells me that I will continue to find small gifts left by him for years to come. Nonetheless… The grief from his loss is still so powerful. It will take me a long time to learn how to adjust to life without him.