Loss is something everyone faces several times in their life; loss of a relative or close friend, loss of a pet, loss of a material object(s) that had meaning of some sort or just any type of loss that has been a part of you in some way shape or form is one of the most difficult things to endure. I am not only talking loss related to death, but even loss of experience or opportunity. I’ve had to experience loss more times than I can even count in my short 27 years of life. Even with faith and positivity, I oftentimes wonder how much more loss I can possibly take.
As most of you know, my usual reference to loss is about my pregnancy loss that occurred 7 months ago. I’ve written several posts about how I am getting through that mentally and emotionally and all the bumps I have encountered on my way through grieving. I’m bringing up loss in general today because I had to endure loss (not pregnancy) again and want to share something so incredibly helpful and comforting when it comes to getting through.
I have lost a significant amount of people that were very special to me beginning at an early age up through my adulthood where I ultimately lost my first (unborn) child. This includes family members, friends, and my beloved fur-babies (just for reference, I hate the word “pet” only because I feel like it separates them so much from mankind when I feel like their emotions and abilities go beyond human capabilities). If you are not an animal person, you may not understand the heartache that one goes through after losing a fur-baby.
I just recently had to say goodbye to a furbaby of mine that I had for a little over 16 years. Yes folks, 16 YEARS. My horse, Bailey, (who was shared with me by “big-sister”/trainer/bff…) was an incredibly HUGE part of my life for the past 16 years. It wasn’t love at first sight between us, but our love story is one for the books! He was bound and determined to make me fall in love with him and it was one of the greatest loves I will ever get to experience in my life. Bailey and I killed it in the show ring for years (not to brag or anything). He saved my life, caught my tears, squashed my fears, taught me forgiveness and trust, and is one of the biggest reasons I am who I am today. All of this from a horse. But seriously, someone tell me how you are supposed to endure the loss of someone so impactful?
I didn’t play on a sports team because I was a competitive equestrian and had Bailey. I rode him every single day through high school and college, which happen to be some of the most important years of someone’s life. He picked me back up after every break-up, after every mean-girl, and after every disappointment. He shared every smile, every blonde-moment, and every celebration. Bailey knew the sound of my Jeep pulling up at the barn, the sound of my boots on the concrete, and he never failed to put his ears forward and head out of his gate when he heard me say “Hey Buba!” Even that last moment with him. It never failed. He was my guy. How do I let that part of me go? It’s like he was what I had left of my equestrian years and those memories and now he’s gone. I can’t help but feel as though that entire piece of me has to be gone, too.
I have thought a lot about this and what it all means and have tried to find the positivity through the tears and heartache (well, because that’s what I do). I have asked how and why and banged my palms against my steering wheel. But then it brought me back. It brought me back to every experience of loss I have faced in my past. He was part of me. No, not physically, but he was a massive part of me and my identity, similarly to other losses I have endured.
When you lose someone or something that greatly impacts your soul, there’s a piece of you that feels empty and missing. But that’s just it. That part of us is not gone and it never has to go. The key to loss is memories. The memories we have are what we get to hold on to. It’s not about losing a physical part of ourselves.
It’s about using all of those memories to fill in any gaps.
It’s about holding on to what’s not lost and making it count.
It’s about taking every memory and allowing those memories to be that part of us.
Just don’t rush yourself through loss. Allow yourself to grieve and heal however you want to and on your own time. Peace comes with time. Just know that you are not alone when it comes to loss, no matter the type of loss you are experiencing, it matters. Hang in there.