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Icelandic Horse Connection

The Gift

THE GIFT

After Tahitiís passing, I was filled with many emotions. Regret was not one of them. It had been distinctively clear that it was her time to go and, although I had prayed that I would never have to make "the decision," I do know that when I looked into her eyes we decided on it together.

"Please," she had asked me, "I need to go now."

And so we said goodbye.

Tahitiís passing was one of the only times I did not see her fighting spirit, and this is how I knew it was her choice. She went quietly, looked me straight in the eye, and listened to what I had to say. Her gaze was unyielding, and I knew she was just waiting for the moment to come. I said, "I love you...." and then, finally, "Thank you." She looked deep into my soul and I could feel her love. She was not afraid.

And then she was gone.

I sobbed aloud, and I held her head and stroked her forelock for what seemed to be an eternity. Gently, I held her eye shut so that it did not have to stare lifeless into the sky. I cried, not out of regret, but out of love and loss.

My dear riding teacher said to me later that when spirits such as Tahitiís are freed, a shout is heard. Her passing was truly monumental.

At first I had trouble finding the strength to go on. I knew I would, and I kept trying, but it seemed so fruitless. I woke up almost every night in tears because I seemed doomed to watch her pass over and over again in my dreams. I attempted to replace that memory with a better one but it played on a loop in my mind.

My husband and I had been trying to conceive for many, many years with no luck. Tahiti had often told me that I needed to make room in my life for a child. I never knew what she was talking about when she ďsaidĒ that to me. After all, we were trying, werenít we? But those are the words I heard in my head sometimes when she looked at me. The day she asked for her spirit to be set free, she told me again that I needed to move forward with my plans and nurture a human life.

I went into a depression over the loss of my dear equine friend, and one night sobbed in hysterics that I did not have Tahiti, I had lost my daily horsekeeping routine, I did not have a family, and I no longer knew my purpose in life. I cried great, gutteral, body-wracking sobs of loss and despair and my husband held me quietly, not knowing what to do.

Several weeks after she had left this earth, I found out that I was pregnant. The baby had been conceived the weekend that Tahiti had died, very close to the moment of her departure. It was a gift of one life for another.

Copyright, Kim Collins, 2006. Do not reproduce without permission of the author

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