Belinda with her buddy Levi.

Belinda with her buddy Levi.

Love and loss are tricky things.

It’s taken me a while to feel comfortable enough with the topic – and relatively recent events in my past – to write this post. But as time continues to barrel on, so do we all.

It was a dreadful day toward the end of May. Belinda, my hanoverian mare, was still a new addition to my life, having arrived in February. I found the perfect, laid back barn for her and she had made the move very easily. She grazed all day over five acres with Levi, a handsome, goofy and kind 29-year-old thoroughbred gelding. Levi & Belinda were the only two horses on the property, though they shared the pasture with a herd of geese and ducks, among other furry and feathered friends.

Doreen, the barn owner and Levi’s momma, woke me by calling very early the day after Mother’s Day. The day before, Levi was his happy self, wandering over for a scratch and to bump me with his nose (his typical way to say “hello,”) and following Belinda and I wherever we went while we hacked about the property. Doreen had family and friends over to celebrate the holiday, and Levi, loving the attention, was happy to pose for pictures and hugs and the like.

But the next morning, when the chestnut gelding usually stood impatiently near the barn awaiting his breakfast,  he was no where to be found. Neither was Belinda.

Levi was sick, shivering and covered in a cold sweat. Belinda was standing watch over him at a far corner of the field while he quivered on the floor. Poor, sweet Levi would die that day, despite the vet and his family doing everything they could to help his gentle soul.

Life moves on.

Life moves on.

Already heartbroken over the loss of Belinda’s friend, later that day a relationship would end for me too. My long-term boyfriend would walk out of my life.

A bad breakup doesn’t compare to losing a horse or a loved one by any means, but it left me feeling cold and numb, shocked and struggling. I leaned on Belinda a lot for support and worried about her while she stood alone, atop of the fresh dirt which had been recently churned for Levi’s grave. She’d stand there, alone, for weeks, still always affectionate to me and Doreen, but seemingly lost when she wandered the pasture.

My heart broke for her.

It’s been months and I don’t think either one of us are the same. But with time comes healing and strength. Belinda reminded me to take it one day at a time. When I was down, and couldn’t see the good in anything, she was kind.

I am always thankful for Belinda.

I am always thankful for Belinda.

I’ve moved on with my life, thanks in part to the connection I have with Belinda. She, too, has new friends and together we keep moving along together.

Justine