I was warned not to write this post. I was warned that people might not appreciate my comparisons. I guess sometimes you just step out there into the mud anyway.
My mother will be 90 this year. She was one of 11 children born in Oklahoma. Although she was born in the middle of the group, she is the only one still living. My mother is healthy, has no physical ailments, has even gained about ten pounds since coming to Texas. She walks regularly and except for some eye sight issues does extremely well. She has this nagging disease called dementia that takes her further away from me mentally day by day.
I read each day about people dying, people younger than she. And every time the phone rings in the middle of the night, my heart beats faster with fear that it is bad news about her. Likewise, each time she gets a cold or seems under-the-weather, I get mentally prepared that this is it!
I know she cannot live forever. I lost my sister in her 20’s to a car accident. My father has been gone over 20 years. It just seems like God has left my mother and I alone, like nothing bad is going to happen to us. My mother has gotten through cancer and some other rough times. I have had some close encounters with death (highway near misses, visits to ICU) but I just feel I am protected and my mom and I will carry on forever. I get that it is silly to think that way, but I have not really, seriously, thought I would ever lose my mom.
Okay, here it comes, the part where I step off into the mud. I am NOT comparing my mother to my horse. Well, sort of! So, I got Kid when he was 20, already considered a senior citizen in the horse world although Kid had no idea. Now, he is 32! Old, by anyone’s estimation.
Kid has no physical aliments. He walks, trots and even runs occasionally. His eye sight is not as good as it once was but he has managed to maintain his weight and perhaps even gain a few pounds in the last year. I don’t know about any dementia that Kid has although he was once the herd leader and now must be ever vigilant not to get hurt or trapped by the other horses.
As I drive up each day I scan the barn to be sure I can find him still standing by the stalls. Each morning, as I feed, I am relieved to see he has made it through another night. He has had his brushes with death as well, like a few months ago when he cut his mouth so badly that I thought we would never stem the bleeding.
It is wrong, I guess, to make an analogy between my momma and my favorite horse. But I see them both in similar ways. They have successfully lived their lives. They are in the golden years. One of the hardest things to do, and yet one of the best things life offers, is the uncertainty of not knowing how their stories will end. Why is that a good thing, because if we knew what lay ahead for us, it would be so overwhelming. We would fear the end, knowing how it would end and not enjoy the days we have. I pray that my momma gently closes her eyes one night and dies peacefully in her sleep. It is the best I can hope for her.
I don’t know how long I will need to provide for my mother and honestly with the costs of care, it could get a little difficult if she lives into her 100’s. But I will always care for her.
Likewise, Kid can always count on having a stall to call his own as long as he can enjoy life. Literally for over five years now, Lauren has thought Kid would die, but he hasn’t and that is wonderful.
I compared my mom to my horse, but just in their stages of life. Obviously, my love for her is different, deeper and more powerful. While I love Kid, he is my horse and I get that. What they share is being allowed to have these years that so many did not get. How great it would have been for my sister to live into her 90’s? How I miss her.
Knowing the end must be around the bend, is challenging and frightening. But neither my momma or Mr. Kid have any idea that death is stalking them. They awaken and enjoy each day. I am grateful.
Thank you for riding along!