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Flicka is Finally Free

I wrote this post months ago, but it took me a long time to feel strong enough to share it. I owe it to all the people who loved her to share what happened. Flicka hurt her leg on April 18, 2020. Something was wrong and we could not figure out what it was. The vet had some speculations, we put her on stall rest and tried everything we could to help her heal. Exactly a month later we had to make the incredibly hard decision to say goodbye to her, to let her go. This is what happened on that day.

May 18, 2020

I couldn't get out of bed this morning. I felt empty, without explanation. My to do list was pulling at me, but I didn't want to move. My heart felt heavy. Like a stone weighing me down. And I didn't know why.

When I finally got outside I saw your head peering around the stall door. My heart fluttered, you looked so cute peeking over at me. As I got closer I realized you had fallen down. You were stuck in the corner of the stall with no where to put your head, so you were looking out at me. Ok, no problem I thought, we'll wait for help. We'll just slide you out of the corner so you can stand up (horses can get "cast" meaning if they lay down too close to a wall they cannot extend their legs to get back up again). It's going to be fine I said, trying to reassure both of us.

There was blood on your bottom lip, a cut from the fall? Or was it from struggling to stand? You were so tired. You laid your head and neck on the ground. I sat with you, I held your head in my lap and rubbed your face. You were upset you couldn't get up, but we needed you to save your strength. Help was on the way.

In our minds we walked out of the stall. Your body was strong again, no longer weak and tired. We walked back to the field, back to your herd. You took off running with them, prancing around on newly healed legs. We all laid down in the sun on top of the hill and napped together. Just rest I thought. Feel how warm the sun is on you. Just rest now, you'll need your strength. I cried as I held you and rubbed your face, the stone in my heart grew heavier and heavier. It felt like goodbye.

When help came you sat up and said you were ready. We slid you out of the corner only to watch your front legs collapse and you fall to the ground as you tried to stand. We asked if you wanted to try again, you said yes. You were such a fighter. You never gave up. We tried making a sling. We tried rolling you over to your good leg. We tried holding you up. But your body was too weak.

We all looked at each other and we knew it was time. It was time to let go. You couldn't be trapped in this failing body any longer. Your spirit was so full of strength and life. It was time for me to let you go. I held your head in my lap and rubbed your face. I cried. You rested. We waited for the vet together.

I covered your eyes so you wouldn't be scared. I held you while you went to sleep and we went back to that place in our minds. Soaring across the field, your thundering hooves shaking the earth. You were free.

I made you a flower crown.

As we laid you to rest I placed the crown on your head and a heart shaped rock on your neck. I watched the dirt cover you. I watched your body return to the earth.

I miss you.

I can feel you everywhere on the farm.

You're no longer trapped in a failing body. You're finally free again.


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