It’s a day unlike any other – it started out with me looking out the bedroom window, just as I do first thing every morning, to make sure Gentleman was up and ok – but he wasn’t there. Reality hit and it hurt my heart, but then I visualized him running through green pastures with the heavenly herd – young and healthy and that brought comfort. We had no idea when it would be time to let GMan go but we’ve known for quite some time that it was one day at a time with him. His body was aging and failing – arthritis from years of hard work as an Amish horse, combined with simple neglect of his basic needs being met, had caught up with him. We had been able to keep him comfortable but it was becoming more of a challenge and the heat was taking a toll on him. In the past couple of weeks, after the long naps that he loved to take, he would sometimes need help getting up. I’d watch to see when he’d lay down and be sure to check on him after a couple of hours – even throughout the nights. And, when needed, no matter the time of the day or night, Bob and I were there to help him get up. We didn’t want him to struggle and we did not want him to stay on his one side so long that it may cause internal damage. However, there have still been precious and majestic times when he’d trot across the paddock as if the hands of time had been turned back, if only for a few minutes.
Gentleman’s mind was strong and willing, his eyes were bright and full of life, but his body was failing. Quality of life is always a huge part of the decision factor in determining when to let our loved ones go and it was clear that his quality of life was declining. I had selfishly prayed that when it was his time he would lay down and go in his sleep – I wanted us to be spared of having to make the decision.
I believe that Gentleman, being the kind and loving soul that he was, sensed our desperation in trying to help him hold on for as long as possible – each moment he was with us was a blessing. The look in his eyes, and his demeanor, yesterday morning said it was time. He loved us enough to let us know it was ok, that he had accepted that fact that his body was failing and it was time for him to go. And he knew that we loved him enough to release him to join the heavenly herd where he would be reunited with old friends. He went peacefully – it was as if my prayer that he would just lay down and go to sleep was answered – I held him the whole time. But as I embraced him for his transition, I actually felt him embracing me, giving me strength. That’s the kind of horse Gentleman was. Tears fell but GMan knew they came from a river of love. Bob and I felt a huge and sense of loss and sadness while sensing peace that that Gentleman had his wings and had been released of his broken body. It will never, ever be the same here. GMan was a gentle giant that was loved by many. We will be together again someday – the reunion at Rainbow Bridge is going to be magnificent. To everyone that loved this grand old horse – thank you. He left this world on his terms, head held high, knowing he was loved.
Gentleman – I love you, always.