Horsing around

It was just over a year ago that my friend, JB, lost his 16-year-old son to suicide.  It has been an awful year for him and his family.  Initially, he found some comfort in writing, but for the past six months has become obsessed with contacting his dead son through a ‘medium’.  One who is paid to contact the dead.

My initial reaction was one of deep skepticism, tinted with rage at those who would exploit grief for profit.  But JB didn’t need to see that – so i’d listen to his tales of contact, and the latest messages he’d received.  Nodding my head, i’d say “This seems to comfort you.  You seem to be getting the answers you need.  How is your wife?  Your son?  Daughter?  Are you still writing?”

In November, he’d mentioned that his wife and he were not doing well, despite continued counseling.  Asked me if i could take her to lunch sometime, just to get her out of the house.

We met at the local market, which has a wonderful warehouse feel, and a diverse collection of restaurants.  Fabulous people-watching, too.  As DB and i talked, she mentioned that it’s just hard to get out of bed some days.  She’s trying, but there’s not much to look forward to…

i mentioned that i’d added horseback riding lessons to my winter plans, partially to have something to look forward to on cold Monday nights.  Her face lit up – “Oh, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do that!  My daughter would love it!”

With lots of encouragement from me, and more details on what is involved in the lessons, i told her i’d be happy to arrange for them to drop in!  She seemed interested, but a little reluctant.

With the holidays, then the anniversary of the death, it didn’t come up again until last week.  i’d dropped by JBs office to see how his golf trip to the west coast had gone.

“I felt good!  My game was way off, but it didn’t matter.  It felt good to do something ‘normal’ again.”

From there?  i nagged encouraged him to get back with his wife about the lessons.  Got him to laugh when i told him i was goin’ “Boot Camp Instructor” on his ass – that this was the time to start moving out on a little more ‘normal’.

On friday, his wife pinged me, and we arranged for them to join Studley and me for the Monday night lesson.

i could write a bunch of shit at this point, but this pretty much sums it up.

Oh, and i’m getting better.  My steed hasn’t dumped me lately…  The horse, either!

i spend a lot of time farting around – Studley and i have elevated this to an art form.  Selfish time, enjoying new pursuits without purpose or meaning.  It occurs to me that perhaps being “Ambassadors of Farting Around” might not be such a bad thing.

i smiled so much tonight that my face still hurts.

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54 thoughts on “Horsing around

  1. Good goin’ on being the good friend.

    Losing a child…. I can’t imagine.

    I have a cousin a year older than me whose 17 yro son was killed by a negligent driver nearly five years ago. He seems to come out of “the fugue” sometimes, but I’m aghast at how he looks at least 10 years older than I, and that despite my life experiences.

    Doing something – anything – that’s a diversion probably has longer lasting impact than we realized, I’d bet.

    • “doing something”. keeps me from losing my mind. one of the reasons i maintain a frenetic pace of activities? if i’m not moving, i’m thinking. and that generally doesn’t help… not in the winter, anyway…

  2. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me, to hear you helping them this way. Doing normal things (not demanding that we BE normal, just doing the usual) has helped us a whole lot. You are a good friend.

    But then, I knew that. <<<>>>

    • Thank you, Yogi… your gentle coaching through your comments has been like a night light to give me a better way to help him. It hadn’t occurred to me that there was a subtle difference in the approach – rather than say “Stop this crap and be normal again, damn it”, it was “Hey, what did you do today that made you feel better?” Your advice has been very helpful. So thank you…

    • i wear a helmet. for now, we’re riding in an indoor arena, with a nice soft landing pad of shavings to help us bounce. i am careful because i have a lot of respect for a 1200 pound animal!

    • i can’t blame him for reaching out for answers. rather than keep paying these folks, he’s trying to learn to meditate and listen and hear the messages directly. which is probably a bit healthier than curling up in a ball and crying under his desk. but still, i prefer action. and the smiles on that kid made me deliriously happy! Mrs. B was smiling, too!

    • So sorry to hear about your friend. The only advice i have is the advice Yogi gave me — pay attention 2, 3, and 4 months out. There are people around at first… but as the numbness wore off, the hurt was still there, and very fresh. And many folks started to step away… Both JB and Yogi told me that they felt like pariahs — no one wants to be near them with such a dark cloud.

      there are no words. but “i’m so sorry” seems to go a long way…

  3. What a good friend you are. I do like the approach “What have you done today that makes you feel more normal, better?” I must remember this.

    You look great, by the way, and so does the smile on that little gal’s face. I’m sure seeing that made her mother feel better too.

    Ambassadors for Farting Around. Yes. There should be more of those. I believe I shall go do some of that Farting Around thing right now…

    • Her mom had fun, too! i’ve found that when i’m riding it is impossible to think about anything other than NOT falling off a horse! i am pretty sure that for an hour last night, DB and her daughter were in that same place… and from the smiles, i hope it was a good place!

  4. Those deliciously delirious smiles say it all!
    After such a tragedy, it’s difficult to get on with living.
    Good all over you for showing them how!
    You’re an amazing woman Daisyfae …. but i’ve known that for awhile now. 😀

    Oh, and I don’t think what you do is farting around without purpose or meaning.
    It all has a purpose … whether you know it or not.

    • i don’t think you rise above. you just go on, and i’m pretty sure it’ll always be there…

      i am not a saint. in fact, i feel a little shitty about this. you see, JB is not someone I consider a close friend… maybe in my 3rd or 4th circle of intimacy. some of you blog folks are much closer. yet to him? i’m in the inner circle. he is socially awkward, and a nearly paralyzed introvert – that was BEFORE the loss of his son. how do you deal with such an inequity in intimacy? under normal circumstances, i would shrug it off… but due to the degree of suffering this guy has endured, i need to remind myself to stay on the task. i shouldn’t have to do that. it should be more natural, shouldn’t it?

      travel update pending. FAR less flexibility this time… but about 70% chance i’ll get there…

      • A couple of things to think about, maybe:
        Don’t pity him. The more real you are, the better for him. Nothing sends me into a tizzy like feeling pitied.
        It is brutally hard not to run away from despair and misery. Give yourself big props for hanging in there, regardless of how easy or hard you believe it should be. Bravery is not being unafraid, and losing a child strikes very, very deeply. It’s OK to feel relief, “there but for the grace…”. Really.
        I answered you on my blog, not having an email for you, but what I said boils down to, “you are an awesome friend.” The fact that sometimes you might have to work through your own stuff doesn’t change that.

        Hugs,
        Yogi

      • Thanks, Yogi — it’s not pity. My concern for him is real. As is my concern for his other two children, who really need their dad. And he really doesn’t burden me. Still hoping that this year is a little less dark for him…

  5. Trust in youtube to provide hours of aimless distraction. Friends of mine recommend “animals riding other animals” for when you need a break from horse-riding … love your work, Ms Fae. PS Can we see a photo of you in jodphurs?

    • I have seen a lovely video of a monkey riding a dog! I believe your YouTube idea will help me stay awake at work someday soon! Oh, and no jodhpurs yet. Riding English Saddlebreds in jeans and motorcycle boots until I get my thighs in line!

  6. It’s a beautiful post – and I really like your comment about sticking around 2, 3 and 4 months later. People who have suffered traumatic events hurt a whole lot longer than the attention span of their friends, co-workers and even loved ones – it’s important to realize that. Bless you, sweet lady. xoxo

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