March 11, 2013

Tea with the Queen



It has been 24 hours since Willow died.  I have cried more than I have slept... but I need to document some of what has happened...

Martha did as I asked. I am so grateful to her... This was her text to me...

"I hugged her, kissed her and scratched her under her mane.  She is free now.  Forever safe where there is no pain, no cruelty, and no suffering..."

And she sent me a photo of Willow with the 4 braids I asked her to put in her mane....  I asked her only after Willow was gone to please cut off the three braids so I could keep them to remember her by... but to leave her one to take with her... from me.  I made her promise not to cut any of her mane until she was gone... (I just kept remembering the only scene that stuck with me from "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"... when they cut the lion's mane off... that always broke my heart....)

My friend Brenna came over to watch the kids, as I was hysterical... and she comforted me until Michael got home.  He was devastated...  he said the moment he saw her x-ray up on the screen and the looks on the faces of everyone in the clinic, he knew...and it broke his heart.  I've never seen him cry like that before...

She was gone.  Willow was gone. How can this be?  No..... no..... I just couldn't stop my tears.... I still can't.  The pain is unbearable.

I have received thousands of well wishes...  poems, personal stories, drawings, and bible verses. Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart.... As much I as know that Willow's soul was pure, it has been so beautiful to witness the beauty of so many human souls.  In this crazy, desensitized world, beauty and love lives on...  and that comforts me.  And I received several emails and even photos from those who were inspired by our story to rescue a horse in need.  That alone makes my pain worthwhile...  It helps so much to know that even though our journey didn't end how I'd dreamed, I will always know that other horses have beautiful new beginnings...

Someone commented that Willow was "just a horse".   Well, she wasn't just a horse... she wasn't a pet... she was Velvet Willow, and she was my mine.  She was... no, she is my soulmate.  I know some people cannot understand...  but Willow was so much more than a beloved horse.  She was divine.  She was faith, she was hope, she was courage, she was beauty.  Yes, I took care of her... we all took care of her.  But she took care of me.  She was so strong, so regal, so tender and affectionate and gentle with me.  She would look at me for the longest time with those big brown, beautiful eyes... as if she was looking straight into my soul.  And I would see myself in her eyes...   she'd stand so close to me and move her head near me so slowly, so deliberately.  And when I hugged her, she hugged me back.  The feeling of her resting over my shoulder, trusting me and revealing her soul to me...  I cannot describe the beautiful feeling that would wash over me.  I loved the way her fur smelled... God, please don't ever let me forget the way she smelled.... or the warmth of her fur, or the comfort of her mane...  

I didn't take many calls that day, but I knew there were two people that I had to get ahold of.... Nancy and Leah.  I left messages for them both....

It is a miracle that I ever even found Nancy, and I'm so grateful for her support and love for both me and Willow (her Leona C.) throughout this journey. Nancy wrote to me:  Dearest Shana, I have been out of town and just returned to the heart breaking news of Willow. I would call, but I would cause you more pain by adding my pain to yours. As heart shattering as this is, I am trying to think of the positive...a wonderful horse named Willow taught me that. The Queen reigns on most high now. She is wonderfully whole again. That lofty, suspended trot is flying on angel wings. She has NO pain, she has no worried look in her eyes. Her head is held higher than ever...she is happy and free of all the pain her past life gave her. One day, I hope a very long time from now, we all will see her again. And when we see her in the greener pastures, do you know who she is going to run to? It won't be Anita, who raised her, it won't me who proudly rode her and raised Ster babies from her, and it certainly will not be the wicked people who caused her so much suffering. When we see her, it will be YOU, Shana, that she runs to. You, the loving soul that brought her back from misery, You that loved her back to cantering across the fields with her head held high. YOU, you, you......her love, her salvation. She is waiting to see you again one day. Until then, rest assured heaven knows, the Queen has ARRIVED. She is gone from your touch but NEVER your heart. I love you and I will talk, when we both are able.

I am also so grateful to Leah who took Willow and the other abandoned, starving horses in and cared for them as she found them homes.  I cried to Leah for a long while on the phone. As I cried and we remembered together all that was beautiful about Willow, Leah promised me that Willow and I were soul mates and that our souls would be together forever.  We talked about how though Willow was so stoic, some might describe her as "aloof" always holding her head up so high, that Willow would lower her head to me... she was so different with me, so affectionate- almost as if she was loving me like I was her foal.  It is true... I never regarded her as my baby... but rather, it was like she was taking care of me.  She was a good mother to the four babies I now know she had, and I think I experienced some of that nurturing love from her too.  And Leah reminded me of the day I first came to her farm to meet Willow.....  As I went to leave, she lowered her head and nuzzled my chest... right over my heart.  I'm so glad Leah reminded me of that moment.  Near the end of our conversation, I told Leah that I doubted I could ever connect with or love a horse this deeply again... that no other horses would ever be like Willow... what would I do without her?  What do I do now, I asked her...  Everything we did for her... all my hope wrapped up in her and wanting to see her whole, healthy and happy by Spring... and knowing now that I'd never be able to put those flowers in her mane....and why did I have such a short time with her... it was too short... Then Leah stopped me. "Shana, listen to me and think before you answer this question.  Shana, even though your pain is unbearable... and you only had a short time with Willow on earth, and even though it ended this way...  was it worth it?"   And without thinking, I answered, "Yes!  Yes it was...  I feel like I got to have tea with the Queen."     And indeed, I did.  I am SO so lucky....



60 comments:

  1. oh gosh this is so beautiful. I am sobbing again though. U will be with her again one day, I just know it. She was so lucky to have your love and you hers.

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  2. Shana, thank you so much for sharing this with us. I lie awake at night and pray for you. I am so ever grateful for your love for Willow, she was worthy of everything you gave her.

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  3. Oh Shana, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. For sharing your personal thoughts and feelings, and your your beautiful pictures. Although I do not own a horse, I have pets and kids. I love my pets as much as I love my kids. They are part of my life a part of my heart, a part of my soul. I had a dog that I had rescued, and had to put down. Now, nearly 8 years later I still mourn her loss. I am mourning with you, I am so sorry that you had to go through this! I wish that things could have ended differently for you.

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  4. I'm just so unspeakably sorry for this loss. I didn't know her, but I certainly admired her - her beauty, her heart and everything good you talk about. My heart and my prayers go out to you and your family and friends in this very difficult time.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm so sorry for your loss. I feel as though I've had the pleasure of knowing Willow. Thank you.

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  6. You're posts give me goosebumps. I never read anything really, and I have read every little word that you have written about you and Willow. It's a beautiful story that has had such a positive effect on whoever comes across it. Willow is so lucky to have you, and although she is in a world without pain now, she still has you. I cried for Willow as I fell asleep lastnight. Mostly because how strong she was, and how heartbroken you must be... You are a beautiful person, Shana. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story with all of us. I will think about Willow's story everyday.xoxo.

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  7. Life brought you love and joy and a depth within that you didn't have before. And that was all wrapped in a beautiful package named Willow. None of that can ever be taken away from you, Shana! The beauty and lessons and future ventures and creations will continue to grow. Your life has definitely been blessed. The pain is just part of this human journey... The time will soon come to write the next chapter, whether it hits these pages or not. Smile ;)

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  8. Your relationship with Willow reminds me of my relationship with my Red, a quarter horse that grew up with me from the time I was age 2 until I went to college. That horse was my best friend and most loyal friend.

    This post made me cry and smile. You are a remarkable woman Shana and God will bless you for taking and loving Willow. She was a special creation of God's, as are you.

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  9. stop making me cry :)

    I'm thankful you updated, was worried about you. I'm sure you will never love another like Willow but I do think the Prince is going to help mend that broken heart of yours... His sweet soul is just what you need.

    With love & prayers,
    Mijalai

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  10. Truly beautiful! Having experienced the pain of losing an animal who is both protector and friend, I love the sentiment that you added at the end - that it's worth it. That is something that is so hard to see sometimes when we are in pain, but knowing that experiencing the deep, abiding love you and Willow shared was worth the pain and grief you are feeling now is a lifeline for you.
    Through our second adoption, we received a grant from an amazing woman who lost her husband and two young children in a tragic accident. She started a fund in their names for families adopting children with special needs. As she showed me their pictures and told me about them, she shared that helping otherwise hopeless children find their families was her way of giving her boys a legacy that they weren't here long enough to create for themselves. She was helping them live on through every child she touched.
    Your love for Willow, and your courage in sharing your story, has already helped give hope and a new life to so many horses! This is her legacy, and she lives on through each of the stories she became a part of because of you. She runs with them through the pastures and revels with them in all of the wonders of their new beginnings. I'm praying for you during this painful time, and I hope that day by day your pain will ease and you will smile through your tears thinking of all you and she accomplished in your short time together.

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  11. Shana, now I cannot stop crying. You have such a beautiful soul. Any person or animal lucky enough to have you in their life is blessed. Hugs to you and your family, and I hope that your heart will heal quickly.

    Kellie in VA

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  12. I have been following Willow's story from day one. I have re read it while I lay in bed trying to fall asleep. Your words have become apart of my thoughts daily. I wasn't going to post anything because I knew you would get thousands of encouraging posts, but I decided to. Shana, I have cried, laughed, hoped and prayed for your journey with Willow. I am so deeply saddened by the ending. Just please don't give up. Adopt another horse. They will not take your soul mates place and they will not touch your heart like Willow did, but you will be their whole world. You have such a loving gift from God and it needs to be shared. Take your time and grieve your loss, but don't be afraid to love again. -kzetzman

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  13. Oh Shana, I loved your love for Willow. It was so evident right from the start that your relationship was a remarkable one. I pray you will have peace. I am thankful you had the gift of Willow. Willow changed your life. Praying constantly for you. Sending love. Becky

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  14. You write so beautifully. I totally understand. This is why I love animals and people like you who care for them. God bless you sweet Shana.

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  15. Beautiful..you should name your farm Willow and go find another rescue..the gift you offer is so special..there will never be another Willow but her legacy can live on through you. Your "Velvet" rescue could allow other horses to experience the love you have. You will have success and some heart break but you will do it all in the name of Willow:) I've grown to love you and your tender heart..now go share your special gift:)

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  16. Dear Shana,
    Your beautiful writing reminded me of a book, "Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Portrait of a Rider". It is a wonderful book with only three chapters, they are Companionship, Sanctuary and Solace. Those are perfect words to describe what horses have always been for me, and now for you. Every horse is a beautiful and unique soul.
    You have been baptized by fire a bit into the world of horses, thank you for sharing Willow with us, your happiness and your pain through your eloquent writings. Wishing you all peace.

    Godspeed sweet Willow.

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  17. I'm so thankful that you added another entry to this blog. I was hoping you would. I know that no other horse could take the place of Willow but I do think you have a gift for helping the rescues and I think that you have more love in your heart to give to another horse. After I had my first child I never thought I could love another as much as my first. I was nervous to have another in fear that I just wouldn't love him as much. Boy was I wrong. As I love him just as much as my first, the love is different in it's own little way. They are completely different kids and the love just feels different even though I could never choose one over the other. I hope that makes sense. I think our hearts were built to give and receive endless love. I hope you take the gift of loving that God gave you and use it to help other rescue horses. It could be very healing. Rescuing one horse will not change the world but to that one horse the world will be forever changed. God bless. Jenny from Wisconsin

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  18. You dont know me, but I am a fellow photographer and horse lover. I've been quietly following Willows story... your story... almost from the beginning and have been praying for you both daily. I am heartbroken for you, but so very happy that in those few months that you had Willow she knew unconditional LOVE. Thank you for all that you did for her.

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  19. Don't let this story end Shana. When my grandmother was sick with Cancer, I visited her for a week a few months before the end, and she showed me a poem she wanted me to forever remember her by. She said to me, I will send you signs. Look for them. Since Willow could not talk in the form we humans communicate by, I am positive that Willow would have said something like this to you - read carefully, and believe it is Willow who is communicating this to you now.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there, I do not sleep
    I am a thousand winds that blow
    I am the diamond glints on snow
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain
    I am the gentle Autumn rain
    When you awaken in the morning's hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight
    I am the soft stars that shine at night
    Do not stand at my grave and cry
    I am not there, I did not die.

    So you see, I ask that God will help you to remember that in every living thing, even the smallest things, our beautiful beloved ones that are gone from us in the physical presence, are always near in the spiritual presence. When you look at the stars, Willow will be there. When you feel a warm breeze in the sunlight this Summer, Willow is rushing through your soul as if she were really there. When it rains, walk outside and lift your face to it - and Willow will be there. The moment we "think about" or "remember" the things that the souls who have passed on did on this Earth - is the moment they are there with us in spirit. You must find comfort in the things that are surrounding you, because Shana - Willow IS there. She'll never leave you. She never really left. She resides in your heart and faith forevermore. Sherri

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  20. I am so sorry for your loss. you express yourself so well. I can hear the pain you are in. Even though it is a tragic ending, Willow had a beautiful journey to be loved and cared for so tenderly. I am sure she knew you loved her.

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  21. Dear Shana,
    I am happy we heard from you as I like so many others have been worried about you. How can we all be so connected other than through Willow's story - which you have shared? However sad and painful every experience in our lives be one a part of who we are and a part of our hearts. You will give love again - when you are ready, because you have known Willows love - she will live on in your love.

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  22. I can't stop crying over this. The loss of an animal is more than just that, isn't it? They are our friends, confidants, lovers. My daughter lost her dog this week and my heart aches to comfort and I know I can't when I am heart broken too. I'm a big fan of you Shana, not just because you are extraordinarily talented, but because you have such a big heart and you love our animal friends as much as you do. They are blessed to have you.

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  23. Beautiful, Shana, most sincerely. Willow clearly paid her dues - and then some - but its beyond clear that her destiny was one full of courage, triumph, joy and destiny, hope, and faith in the truest meaning, and to experience the depths of lifes mysteries. Her mission was to reach you and your family without a doubt, to share her heart & soul, graciously shared with all of us who've had the priviledge of being privvy to this journey thanks to you both. ...and what an absolutley beautiful journey it has been (and will remain in our hearts, and memories). Sorrow and grief is hard, but how beautiful perspective - in & of itself - can be. Ride the wave(s) of grief, never deny yourself, and embrace the healing process with her spirit that is now part of you and your family forever. All the best, and thank you for sharing... Dani R./CA

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  24. Thank you for this update - we all have been grieving with you and continuing to pray for you. Please know the amazing inspiration you and Willow have provided - a restored faith that real unconditional love can exist despite our crazy world. You have helped many other neglected animals by inspiring people to rescue. That is one great legacy for your precious Queen. While no one can replace your soulmate, I hope the Gypsy Prince and your other animals bring light, happiness, and peace to your heart. Please continue to make yourself vulnerable to love- it has priceless rewards that far outweigh the pain of separation. Thank you again for touching my heart!

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  25. People who have never loved or been loved by a dog, horse, cat, or any other animal just don't understand that it is a love like no other. In time your heart will be open to loving another horse, and though your love for Willow will never fade, she would want you to share the love you have with another animal so that it too can experience that kind of joy and comfort.

    xo Kat

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  26. There are horse you will love and then there is that ONE that is part of you. I have in my life had 9 horses. There is only one that was ever really special and I still miss him 17 years later. You are a beautiful person inside and out. Do willow trees grow where you live? Plant a beautiful weeping willow for her, somewhere to sit in years to come looking out over your pastures where you can see her spirit galloping, pain free. Huge hugs again from the UK. xxxxxx

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    1. I so agree... thank you so much... just this morning Nancy let me know that she was looking for a willow tree for me... it will be so special indeed...

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    2. A great idea! You could have a special plaque made with her name and itching of her attached under the tree. I did for my Maggie!!

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  27. Love the idea of the weeping willow.

    You will love another again. Maybe not the same, but you will love again. She cannot be replaced, but another addition will be added to your life sometime.

    Bless your heart for sharing this. Thinking of you.....

    Brooke

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  28. Shana.. I keep you and Willow in my thoughts and prayers.. your story with Willow will forever be in my heart sweet friend..

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  29. Write it out. Expressing your grief and pain through art is one of the best ways to heal. My heart horse could never be replaced but you will love again, maybe not as intensely, but also you may find one that does even more for you then Velvet Willow, you can never know how a horse, animal or human will touch your life.

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  30. Thank you Shana for writing. It's been so tragic, but such a beautiful story of you and Willow. I'm sure it was worth every minute, every second. Thanks for sharing.

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  31. Kathleen Clayton3/12/13, 2:12 PM

    OMG i think I need group therapy!!!! I am in tears again...and whoever said "she's just a horse"...well I won't even go there. I have dogs and feel about them the same way you feel about Willow...as someone said on here before "who rescued who" I get it... a lot of us get it... those who don't, well, I feel sorry for them.

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    1. I agree with the therapy and everything else you said here!

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  32. Hugs to you Shana,
    I am so so sorry to hear this very heart breaking news of your beloved Willow. I had such hopes that she was going to have a full recovery for you. I just sobbed as I sat and read your blog. My prayers go out to you and your family for this loss. I too love my animals as they are a part of my family. Willow was sent to you by God as he knew she deserved to be loved by you for her remaining time on earth. All of your “Blog Family” wished that time had been greater. If I may I would like to share my story with you. It will be 2 years this June that I lost my “Maggie” to colic. Maggie was a Mustang that was adopted from the BLM at age of 1 year old. Her register name was” Magnificent Storm” and she was Magnificent!! She was so smart and just a truly gentle horse. She took total care of me when I was with her and on her back. I loved her so. I felt about Maggie as I read in your blog about you and Willow. My husband went out to feed early morning on his way off to work and clear up to the house I could hear this horrible horse cry. I ran out and told my husband, look at Maggie, something is wrong with her. We both stayed home from work and called out the vet. We walked her and brushed her and stayed by her side all day and night. The vet made 5 visits to our home to work on her, the last one being in the evening. He tubed her and we saw her pass some blockage. That gave me such hope that she was coming thru it. We were wrong! We went in the house late while she was resting and lay down to rest for 3 hours. Got up at 3AM and went out to see how she was. Maggie was standing and I called her name, she looked me in the eye and staggered over to me and fell into her water trough. She had only the strength to pull herself out and collapsed on the ground and died before my eyes. I was absolutely devastated. My husband sent me to the house and went in with her to check her pulse, she was gone. A horse trainer friend of ours told me that she waited and held on till she saw me again before she died. He said the Indians call that dying of a broken heart. It truly broke my heart and not a day goes by that I don’t think of my Maggie girl and remember the joy and love she gave me. What we didn’t know was that early before we had gotten out to her, she had rolled and thrashed and twisted her intestine. Had we know that I would have had her put down to save her from the pain she must have endured even thou she was receiving pain meds. I know she is in Heaven waiting for me to join her again. Our God is a loving God and knows the importance of our animals in our lives and promises we will have all the joys in Heaven. Willow will be with you again. Sometimes things that happen we don’t understand, but God has a reason. He wanted Willow to know love, your love for her last days. It was a love no one else could give her but you. Please cherish her memory and know that your love was so powerful it wiped away all the bad times she went through before you. She left our world to be restored to health in Heaven, to run on beautiful green pastures and WILL be awaiting your arrival. You will have your Willow again. Yours and Willows love have become apart of thousands of people. You did make a difference, not only to Willow but to all of us. Thank You and God Bless Dear Shana.
    A Friend, Cheryl Hightower

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  33. Your life and Willow's have touched so many lives - you may never know how many. The pain is great right now, but in time you will cherish your memories and your photos of her. We watched the light and life go out of our dear little dog's eyes as they put her to sleep and thought we would never get over the pain. We went home without her and I wrote a letter of the memories I had and my husband wrote an endearing poem of her life and losing her. That was three years ago and we still remember her so fondly and love seeing photos of her and remember her life. I really do understand what you mean by soulmate - you can so totally connect with God's animals and we believe they come into our lives for a reason, too. We had our little dog for 11 years and were so blessed for that. You had Willow for such a short time but such a very meaningful and memorable time. And, I truly believe we will be united again! Peace and hugs to you during this time.

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  34. I am so glad to see your update as I have been thinking about you and this sad time. It sounds like you have a wonderful support group around you - I'm glad. You will learn to love another horse again. It may not be the same as your love for Willow, but I think Willow would want that for you. She sent a powerful message to you and it has somehow been passed on to so many of us who have followed your story.
    It seems like there is always the few who write comments like "she was just a horse" or other hurtful things and why is it we remember that one poster over the thousands of loving and compassionate posts? I don't know the answer but if you haven't already, learn to delete and move on. There are more kind and gentle souls than there are hurtful ones - just move around them and hold your head up high just like your queen.
    Pam in AZ

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  35. My family is starting to wonder what's wrong with me lately when I get off the computer with red eyes...so, another one of those teary days after reading your latest blog today.
    I am so glad you gave an update to let us know how things are going and how you are doing.
    I do agree on how your time with Willow was short - but it was time well spent.
    I hope you one day rescue another horse in need of a loving, forever home. I think Willow would want you to. And planting a Willow tree would be a beautiful tribute.
    As your blog brought a community of caring pet lovers together - I look forward to the day you continue with your blog :)
    Take care Shana and family...

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  36. You are a true gift to this world, Shana. This entire story is utterly heart breaking. I just know you are on your path and your great gift of pure beauty, love and compassion will light the way.

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  37. Shana I can not help but think how Willow must of felt getting all that love and attention around you got her. I once saw a story on an abused dog, and the love that the owner gave him and then he too past away after a short time, but he was happy, well fed and wagging his tail. I am saddened by the loss of Willow but I can only imagine how she felt with all yours and Michael's love. God bless for being able to take her in and loving and caring for her, you are very special people and I am such a firm believer in signs, like after my son passed away there were signs for me, I know Willow will sent you a sign. Watch for it and hold onto it very tight. Thinking of you and your pain Emily

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  38. I am so glad to hear from you today. I have been thinking of you so much and feel so so so sad for you that this happened. I see that I am among the many. I will be waiting to learn of the miracle ( : Love, Dale

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  39. I really find it so disheartening that people say things to you that are unkind. Surely it is obvious that to you, Willow was so much more than a horse. Why do they care? You two shared something that was so beautiful and you so kindly you shared it with all of us. Having followed your blogs since before Sophie, I know that is how you are, kind, caring and giving.

    Shana, your poor heart, I am so sorry. This story hasn't ended here, this is an interlude and one day it will continue.

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  40. I just found your blog today and felt I had to comment. I had to put one of my horses down last week as well and it was the hardest decision I've ever had to make, it broke my heart. I'm so sorry it had to happen to you too, Willow sounds like such a lovely mare. Hugs.

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  42. Thank you for that beautiful update. Those that have never loved or felt the love from an animal have missed a bond like no other. I have lost a collie (14 yrs) and two rescued cats (21 yrs & 16 yrs) and my heart completely broke each time. They become so much a part of your being. It has been 18 months since I put my last cat to sleep. My husband and I have been wanting to rescue two kittens when the time is right. Both of my cats strayed into my life as kittens and I kind of wish the next one would too.

    The story of you and Willow is a wonderful love story I will never forget. Please continue to blog whether on this one or a new one. You are a breath of fresh air to all.

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  43. Like so many others, I read your words and my eyes well with tears and they don't stop. I am a animal person, a horse person. I have a mare that wasn't taken care of so well by her previous owners. To this day it still breaks my heart. I got her for my daughter, who when she was only 18 months old showed me that horses are gentle giants. She was never afraid of them, and I feared them terribly. She always seemed to have a special connection with all horses. My fears subsided through the years, and now her horse, is also mine. She is not "just" an animal, I mean she falls asleep on me when I groom and bath her like a baby would. I feel she sees things in me that others can't. And she trusts me. I think that sometimes our paths meet up with the ones who are meant help us in unexpected ways.

    My hobby is photography, which is how I came to follow you, and ultimately follow Willow. My day job however, is a pediatric ICU nurse. I've seen miracles, and I've seen tragedy, but everytime I've learned soemthing new about myself. Thank you for sharing your moments with us, I have learned a little something about myself through your journey. I think Willow's love for you was undeniable. She trusted you, and I know she knew your love for her. Through you, her legacy will live on. Thank you again!
    With my deepest sympathy,
    --Misty--

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  44. I've only had time to read your last few posts because I just happened upon this story, so I apologize if my comment is out of context (or if my words are misspelled because I can't see the keyboard through my tears). I just have to say that I think it did end the way it was supposed to even though it's not how you planned it to be. Through you and *because* of you, Willow experienced unconditional love and kindness. Your time together was short, but she had waited her whole life for you and she soaked in every second she had with you. And even though you weren't physically with her in her very last moments, she knew your love and she was happier than she had ever been in her life.

    And you can be sure she's waiting for you up there . . .

    Prayers for peace that surpasses our understanding.
    Monica

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  45. my throat is blocked, my eyes full of tears .... so wonderfully well said and described ... reviving the past and the present; feeling the bond EVERY DAY with my late beloved horse "Dancing Fireball" I know exactly what and how you feel ... SOULMATES !

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  46. Margie Llivelli3/13/13, 3:13 AM

    Shana, all my love to you for the being the person you are. It is my son Tim's desire to own a horse of his own...I can's afford anyplace to keep one - but all the horses he takes care of each time he goes to work, and all the kids that receive so much love from Tim and the horses he gets ready for them are like his own. Even Nicky, who has bitten him several times, he loves him to death....and Skpper who threw him some months ago and put fear into him (because tim is on a blood thinner and he could bleed internally and die from such a fall.) I could never tell Tim not to ride...he is so happy when he rides - so everytime he rides it is a risk, but also his love. Yesterday, for the first time in many months since being thrown, after telling Tim about Willow, he rode again. Do you see how far Willow's love and your love has reached? So i say again, thank you for being the person you are and i thank Willow for all the love she has given you and you have shared with us all. I know that willow was with Tim when he rode. She has become a part of all of us and i thank you for sharing her with us. Love to you Shana, and peace...one day you might meet one of Willow's foals....you never know....love and hugs, Margie

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    1. Margie, how beautiful... thank you so much for sharing that with me... and hugs to your sweet boy... xo

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  47. I am feeling your pain and sorrow as I cannot read this without tearing up. Thoughts, prayers and love to you, Willo and your entire family.

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  48. So so so beautiful!! I am so sorry for your loss yet you are such an inspiration! "Tea with the queen" is such a lovely analogy and I wish I could offer comfort to you.

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  49. Beautiful, I have tears of sadness and tears of joy that she came to you in that very special way...Your words are beautiful and the day you get to ride Willow again will be majestic <3

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  50. Thank you for continuing to update Shana. I can only imagine how painful it must be, though perhaps cathartic as well. I can't believe someone would comment that Willow is "just" a horse. My cat has, essentially, a terminal illness that's being carefully maintained through medication. Most people would say he's just a pet, but like your Willow, he's so much more than that. I'm so glad you received your sign that Willow is doing fine in the afterlife, I also believe she'll be waiting in heaven.

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  51. This world, the www, that we live in, is a small world after all. Last week I noted that someone from Lexington KY was attending a social media convention in San Diego that I will be attending as well, in April. Her bio said she worked at a large vet practice. I reached out to ask if this is where Willow had been cared for, and coincidentally it was. My point? You have reached and touched so many people through the telling of this story and your depth of caring. That I follow you because I am an amateur photographer, lover of photography and a digital scrapbooker yet work in an industry that unbelievably allowed me to cross paths with this vet clinic, how very strange but wonderful. I wish you peace.

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  52. A thought occurred to me, and I wanted to share it with you. I think you wrote something in your blog about Willow healing. And you know, she did heal - in her heart. I bet she got that worried look in her eyes because she knew her mission on earth was ending, and while you had healed her heart, she was concerned about yours. And the way you wrote about the Gypsy Prince and his affection, perhaps, one of the things Willow was meant to do was to lead you to him.

    I'm glad I follow your artistry on fb, and I'm glad I read your blog. I hope you'll keep blogging. You've been blessed forever by Willow, and I'm glad to have gotten to know her and you. God bless you and your family.

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  53. Oh my. A coworker of mine Asked me to read your blog as she knew how much I love horses. Yes, they do have wonderful souls and know that Willow will always be with you.

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  54. Shana,

    This is so beautiful. I am not a horse person (I like them but never have owned one as you know) but anyone could see that your connection with Willow was divine. It was meant to be. You healed one another in God's perfect timing. Grieve now as your heart is shattered. But then take the lessons and go do what you are meant to do with them. You have been given such a gift. One that many people never get.

    I am both happy for you that you had this experience and so very sad for you that it ended so quickly but that too must be part of what was needed for both of you.

    Love you,
    Kim

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  55. Dear Shana - I do not know you except as an artist with the soul of an artist and from what you have written about your journey with Willow. Though I haven't read all of it, your story touched my heart deeply. You must know that you gave her the love she needed after all the pain, the Love (and God is Love) that restored her faith in mankind and gave her hope. Now, you must go on to restore others... restore their faith in love the way it was meant to be. Your work is a gift of God and I pray you will see more and more of His work as time goes on.
    Best,
    Dee

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