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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Contemplating Maggie's Date with Death

No, she's not dying! That is, though, what this post is about. WARNING: If you want to read a happy, upbeat story about a horse, click one of my other posts.

It's been on my mind heavy for a couple of days now... ever since I got the letter. It's funny... most people would be worried about where they will live, what they have to get rid of... I guess you're lost. The letter was from the PBGC, better known as the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. It's that government entity that takes over when the company you gave your life to, defaults on your pension plan.

Whenever life throws a punch at us, the first thing out of Hubby's mouth is the expense of keeping horses. The goats clear out the woods, the chickens give us eggs, the cats keep the varmint population in check, Sadie supervises all the projects, but the horses do nothing for us... except give me the most awesome joy!

Of course, I would give up my horses to save our home, if it came to that. I don't worry so much about Buddy and Nekoda; they are great horses, still young enough to find a decent home. It's Maggie that troubles me. She's in great shape for her age, but she's her age. There are no guarantees in life, even a horse's life. As great as she is today, tomorrow could prove different. I don't know of anyone that would truly want a horse like her. She is a magnificent horse, that next week could be a liability. If someone readily took her, I would fear the worst... Mexican slaughter house. Yes, I know there are laws against transporting the horses across the border for slaughter. There are also laws about people crossing the border.

Seriously, I doubt anyone would even want Maggie for slaughter; not much meat on an almost-thirty-year-old horse. I haven't a clue what I'd do. In Kentucky I know of an area where people turned their horses loose because of the drought and sky-high hay prices. So the horses run wild. The herd would probably not except an old mare. She be kicked, bitten, run out of the good grass. She also requires lots of extra calories that she couldn't get in the wild. No, I'm afraid it would come to a choice I hope never to make.

I'm not a callous, cold-hearted person, but I do find it easier than most people to let go. I've buried my share of animals. It's sad, but when I know they've had a good life, I accept it as just another part of the journey. I always picture being with Maggie until the end. Once I got her back, I vowed to never let her go again!

I'm not wishing for Maggie to die soon; but I am hoping that when her time comes, it will be here, on this farm, with me by her side. I will cradle her head and tell her over and over how much I love her; and she will know it.

We will bury her here, under the pasture where she ran in the breeze and napped in the sun.


Nancy said...

You are a dear person. I hope with all my heart and soul that you do not have to put her down. I know things are very hard for so many right now, and I worry about all the animals people are no longer able to keep. But I hope when the time comes for your dear Maggie, it's not because you're unable to keep her, but because her time here is finished, and it's time to move on to greener pastures.

AL said...

Lilly, that is future planning...I also think that way, I have to think that everything is in order in the future, but sometimes it doesn't go the way I plan it. Just enjoy keeping Maggie, give her all the love that she needs and the joy she gives to you.


Lynn said...

Ok, now you have gone and done it! I have tears in my eyes.

Naqvee said...

Lily, the way you have written about your and maggie's relationship , i feel that I hae seen you both enjoying your time under the sun in the farm. I will pray to God to help you out in every way so that you don't ever think about letting her go...
you've said that the herd wil not accept her, and its true.we left our black cat 'kaalu' in the jungle, bcoz there was no one to adopt him here as he was not only huge but also 2 years old ! my mom and i cried a lot as he never mewed but only made a soft sound like "wumma.. maa.. mumma" my mom wanted to keep him forever with her.. but we had to leave him..
cat is a small animal as compared to the mare 'Maggie' and the pain to let her go will also be huge.. I hope with all my heart that nothing of this kind ever happen on your farm.. im so sorry. :[
All the best

Kim Kasch said...

30 - WOW - a happy, healthy life :)

I had the best horse: Robin. She was kind and gentle. So, I know about this stuff.

Animals are just like people, in my opinion.

Some are smart-some aren't.

Some are sweet-many aren't.

Some horses will kick, bite and buck-Not Robin.

If she knew she was carrying an inexperienced rider - she'd just stop - that was as bad as it got.

I'm sure Maggie will be surrounded by love when her time comes.

chicamom85 said...

That was a beautiful post. I didn't find it sad, so much as heart warming. I can feel how much you love the horses, but I think Maggie is special to you. I will pray for you so that a good solution for all comes about. You are a good person, many people could not think that far ahead.


Melinda said...

I didnt think your post was sad either. I think the words poured from your heart and soul and came out beautiful..just as Maggie knows what your love is for her.
Sometimes life just throws us hard things to deal with. Those are the times I put one foot in front of the other and trudge on.

Rae said...

You already know my thoughts on the subject of Delphi. I just wish one of their execs could come and look Maggie in the eye and see how they would feel about such a decision. I guess they would have to have a heart first though.

Shellbelle said...

Lily, this just breaks my heart. These tough times have left so many just struggling to hold on to those things we just once took for granted pension plans, living in our homes, feeding our animals, heck feeding our kids.

We have to make choices we never thought would be an issue and you sound like you have a tough one ahead of you. Personally, we're trying to figure out if we can hold on to our home and if we even want to at this point. The struggle becomes too much on some days and at our age it might just be easier to move on. There are no easy answers for any of us, so we take it day by day and hope for the best, while planning just in case.

BTW,thanks for info on OneNote. I'm on a Mac and don't use Microsoft but I found other similar programs that I'm looking into. I would love to be more organized!

Martha Ann said...

How lucky you and Maggie are to have each other. I have to believe Maggie would want to die near you, even if that means having to put her down before she's quite ready.

These horribly chaotic financial times are forcing many of us, including me, to make decisions we never contemplated.

The very best to you and Maggie as you determine what is best for the both of you.

Martha Ann

Stephanie said...

Hi Lily!
I am in LOVE with you blog, your life and your animals. I even insisted my husband come over from doing dishes to "meet" you and your little babies.
You write beautifully and this post about Maggie made me cry. As a therapist with a specialty in loss, I still struggle immensely when it comes to my animals. Our chickens all got eaten by a fox and I still mourn their little lives.
Do you have any ideas on how to keep them safe, other than locking them up? Do you let your hens free range? I am looking to get new chickens but first I need to get rid of the fox and sure things up a little better. Our hens were Bantums, which I didn't realize could fly so high, so the fence we erected was useless.
Good luck with your writing. My book too needs to be written but I am working on that.
When I left my job as the coordinator of the childrens' grief and loss program at our local hospice, I purposely invested in our goats and chickens bc they are life affirming.
I hope everything works out for you.
You did a BEAUTIFUL job with your blog! I'm in love!