Sunday, February 7, 2010

"LOVE is how you stay alive, even after you are gone"



This was the sticker slogan on my take-out coffee cup today. It struck me as fitting, since my ex-barn owner died yesterday. She fought it like a tiger for 2 years but lymphoma won the last round.

We were not close after I moved my horse, but prior to that we rode together and once even traveled together with our horses to the Black Hills for a week of gaited horse camping. We also camped on a memorable Memorial Day weekend when it snowed. that was the night my horse got loose and wandered all around our campsite looking for tasty blades of grass. When I asked if the commotion woke her up she said, "I never really sleep".

She was a true character, like many horse people. She addressed all horses as "Son", even mares, even her own mare. "Ho, Son!"

But when she used a pronoun of a horse it was always "She". This produced some odd conversations.

"I've been watching your horse in the pasture. She's eating too much and getting fat!'

"But...my horse is a gelding!"

"I know, and she is too fat!"

Whenever she had to call a boarder about anything, the first thing she said, even before Hello, was "Your horse is fine!"

When she received the lymphoma diagnosis, she made a project of knitting all the barn girls wool sweaters in their favorite colors. In the depths of chemotherapy, she could be found sitting on the porch in the sun, a scarf on her head, knitting extravagant colors and complex cable patterns.

Throughout the treatments, and the subsequent ups and downs of t-cell counts, she stayed unbelievably cheerful and optimistic. She was looking forward to riding again this spring.

She built the horse boarding business out of the shreds of a wrenching divorce, and subsidized her daughter's career as a riding instructor for two decades. Literally hundreds of horse-crazy kids were able to live their dreams thanks to Rose's hard work: carrying hay, worming 50 horses in a day, enduring the stream of little kids and teenagers with muddy boots in and out of the house all day long year-round.

Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone. Rose loved horses enough to let them take over every corner of her life and privacy. And she passed on that crazy love to so many 'city kids' who would not otherwise have had the chance to grow up with horses. What a blessing! Well done Rose. Rest and sleep now, excellent cowgirl. The love is alive.

24 comments:

sue said...

that was so well written, I am sure that "Rose" would have been pleased to know that she touched your life in that way... thank you for sharing....

cdncowgirl said...

What a beautiful tribute. My condolences.

c2b said...

What a wonderful legacy she has left. So sad.

jennybean79 said...

I'm sorry :(

Kate said...

What a lovely tribute to an amazing person.

Funder said...

She sounds like an amazing person! Thank you for telling us about her.

Molly said...

Lovely and sad. I seem to remember a picture of her on a tractor, working right through her cancer treatment.

Once Upon an Equine said...

She sounds like a wonderful person. Those are nice memories you wrote about her.

Pony Girl said...

What a wonderful tribute. I am so sad reading this, but also glad that Rose had such a wonderful life and touched the lives of so many horse lovers out there! Thinking of you and sending warm thoughts your way....
You left a comment on an old post of mine called "Hope in a Tub" about using Horse Tech products (joint supplement.) Can you send me an email? I have a few questions for you about one of their products, Hyla Sport, which one of my commenters recommended.
Thanks!

allhorsestuff said...

God bless Rose! I am so happy that you did get to know her and shared this with us too...makes one ponder how we are living now!
KK

horse blogs said...

I am so sad reading this, but also glad that Rose had such a wonderful life and touched the lives of so many horse lovers out there!But it is indeed very sweet.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Wow-That tribute is so sad and yet uplifting. It sounds like Rose was a person who had a satisfying life. Gone too soon, but yet left so many with a part of her.

Breathe said...

She left this world better by her presence. Thank you for sharing your reflections on such a generous soul.

allhorsestuff said...

Hay sweetie...miss you and your Gentle, loving, John horse.
Pray you are well and so is he..please let us know~
XO
KK and Wa mare~

jacksonsgrrl said...

You are such an eloquent writer. Rose sounded cool as... I really liked that when she called someone about their horse she would start off the conversation with, "Your horse is alright." Now that is what I require when it comes to my own horse. My friend who keeps him knows it too...
That all being said, WHERE ARE YOU?
Are you OK? I sure am missing your great posts!!!! I hope all is well..
~Slainte' (Gaelic for "to your good health, friend") or close enough....
~Mindy

prashant said...

God bless Rose!
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Stacey Kimmel-Smith said...

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Fantastyk Voyager said...

That is such a wonderful statement. Thanks for sharing Rose's story with us. May she rest in peace.

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gyrlgeorge said...

Where'd you go? It's always a worry when someone just...stops..please post and let us know how things are.

allhorsestuff said...

Helloo and howsitgoing?
Been looking for you and wanting to know how life is now...maybe something happend to cause you to stop writing...
Thinking about you and wondering~
Kacy With Washashe mare~

c2b said...

Still missing you, John and the hay bed xxx

Pat Miran said...

How sad that somebody who did so much and touched so many has passed away.

Kimberly Taylor said...

What a wonderful story. It still nice to ponder upon the good things that the person contributed. Though it So sad. Yet what a wonderful legacy she has left.