April 4, 2013

Comfortably Numb

When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye

I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb.

                                - Roger Waters / David Jon Gilmour 

I have had such a hard time coming back to update here... it's just so hard for me still.   I miss Willow.  I just miss her so much...  

Maybe I've tried to forget all of this in some way, and coming back to my blog reminds me.  And it hurts too much to remember.  Sure, I have pretty pictures of little Mirabella, and funny photos of The Prince...  but as pretty and cute as they are, I feel such a deep, painful void in my life since Willow left.  And on top of not having Willow to go to for comfort and to make me feel safe and soulful.... I think I may actually have a hole in my heart.

I still can't believe she is really gone.  It seems like only yesterday I smiled as I watched her running though the back pasture... prancing with her head held high... happy and doing so well.  But at the same time, it seems like I haven't seen her in so long...  And I'm so afraid I will forgetI don't want to forget. I want to remember everything about her...  the depth of her eyes, the smell of her fur, the warm, safe feeling of her mane.  With her, I felt like I was homeI need to write about her... what made her so divine and I need to list everything she tried to teach me... so I can continue to learn- because I need to be more like her.  And I want to teach Mirabella and even my own children... the lessons I learned from Willow.  I wish I could do a better job of describing what she was to me and how she made me feel... and how important she was and always will be to me.  Or how truly divine she was...

So I have been going through the motions, enjoying my children, my family, my horses.  Coffee in the morning and wine at night...  and my days are full.  Yet a part of me feels numb.

Am I numbing myself so I don't feel the pain?  I still wake up at 4:30am each morning with the sad realization that she is gone...  and I look out my window for another sign... for the sun to come.  But winter won't seem to go away.... it just won't leave.  I need to feel the sun...   

And I haven't cried in so long... not until today... right now as I write.  Perhaps this is what I was trying to avoid.  Like I said in the beginning... many posts ago....  I don't like to feel sad.  I don't read sad books, and I don't watch sad movies.  Yet the story in my own heart is so sad. And confronting it... writing it... makes me cry.  

I've always protected myself.  I've always chosen the safe route....   But I know in my heart that I have to keep writing... and I need to cry.  I need to keep my emotions raw and my feelings close to the surface, as painful as it really is.  Because the more time that passes, the more my memory of Willow is at risk of becoming  that "fleeting glimpse".  And I have to keep my dream alive...

No...  No, I do not want to become comfortably numb...


  1. Dear Shana,

    I feel so sad that you are hurting. I know you will hurt for such a long while. I am glad you had Willow for a short time in your life because she changed you in a powerful way.

    She gave you something wonderful. Unconditional love.

    I am praying your pain will ease soon Shana.

  2. Praying for you...you will never forget her and her brief presence in your life had so much meaning and importance - and love of a very very special kind. Willow would not want you to be sad. She loved you so much that she'd want you to remember her for the happiest of memories you have of her. You gave her love and help at a time she needed it most. Her love will live in your heart and fill in that "hole" you are felling now. I hope you find peace soon.

  3. Comfortably numb is a good way to put it. I felt that way when I lost my horse last summer. Its just now, in the recent month or so, that I can think about him, look at photos, and watch videos and not completely fall apart. You will get there too. Let your horses heal you...I wish I had another. They are so therapeutic.

  4. Feel what you have to feel, even though it's hard. I have to say I'm not sure there has ever been a horse as loved as your Willow was. Thank you for sharing your journey. Hang on to that amazing morning with the signs you received. What an incredible gift. She's no longer in pain and is watching out over you.

  5. Your warm spring sunshine will come... and I regret to tell you that it, too, will be bittersweet. But your love for Willow will never be. The missing hurts, but the loving heals. That you for sharing both with us. It means so much.

  6. often times i find myself thinking of your love for her, the images of you two together, and just the powerful love you shared.
    grief can be so raw in one moment and then a comfortable numbness at others.
    i'm glad your days are full and beautiful sasha...and glad you had her.
    thank you for sharing with us

    prayers for you on what i assume is a gloomy day in nashville. its cold & ugly down here in atlanta...

  7. she will always be in your heart & the memory of her will never fade. prayers for you. hold strong in your faith.

    with love,

  8. Never doubt that with each and every post it couldn't be any more obvious or clear exactly what Willow meant to you and what you meant to her!! The depth of the love you had for each other is evidently clear ,her story is HERE and so many of us feel connected to her because of your beautiful writing, and I have to admit, I check here for updates every day ... I am so drawn in that I just can't stay away .. Willow will never completely leave you and you will never forget her!The images of the two of you are nothing short of exquisite ! I would hate for you to discontinue your updates !

  9. Aww. . . Willow was something special. I think every horse owner has that special horse. That partner that they are connected with in a very special way. Other horses come into your life, but the connection is just not quite the same. It's so very hard to describe in words. Your photos of Willow showed all of us what a special lady she was. I could see it in her eyes. She had a very deep soul. Wise beyond her years, full of unconditional love and strong . . . so strong because of her past. Smile when you remember her. Think of the happy moments and more than anything think of that bond that you two had. Imagine how that must have felt on *her* end. Imagine how joyous she must have been to have someone like you. It would have been understandable if she withheld some love from you. Instead she gave you her whole heart! She is truly a very special lady and maybe that once in a lifetime horse for you. You have every reason to be sad, but do take the time to smile in memory of her.

  10. I'm french and it's hard to write everything in english. Maybe you'll able to translate the following: J'ai suivi l'histoire de Willow et j'ai été très triste quand elle est partie. Je ne pouvais pas croire qu'elle ait dû partir, tant elle était combative et aimante; tant elle donnait l'impression de vouloir vivre encore... Et elle aurait mérité de vivre heureuse près de vous après l'existence si cruelle que lui avaient fait vivre d'autres humains sans coeur. Et pourtant, elle n'en a pas eu l'occasion. Elle vous a apporté beaucoup d'amour et elle en a reçu au moins autant de votre part. Vous êtes une "bonne personne", vous avez du coeur. Willow y restera blottie, et je crois qu'elle laisse de la place aussi pour d'autres chevaux, qui vivront heureux avec vous.Elle s'est montrée si courageuse dans l'adversité. Vous ne l'oublierez jamais, j'en suis sûre car vous vous êtes apporté beaucoup mutuellement. Elle sera toujours là, quelque part, pour vous aider à rendre heureux les gens et les animaux qui vous entourent. Si, un de ces jours, vous nous faites partager la vie de Mirabella, et de ses compagnons Prince et Paloma, je ne manquerais pas de vous lire. Vous êtes une photographe de talent, mais aussi une formidable conteuse qui sait toucher ses lecteurs au coeur.
    Je vous souhaite beaucoup de bonheurs, le printemps reviendra...

  11. I just saw this quote in a book I am reading and I thought of you :

    “Don't be ashamed to weep; 'tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”
    ― Brian Jacques, Taggerung

  12. It's good you are feeling these feelings and letting (making) yourself express them. It will help you heal. Time will also help. You will never forget Willow. Her memories and your love for her will forever be in your heart.

  13. Linda Sue Witte4/4/13, 11:45 AM

    Shana, I was hoping to see a post on here soon. Your pictures have been beautiful, but the absence of anything on Willow's site spoke volumes in itself. Tears were streaming down my face two sentences in. I can only imagine the pain and loss you're feeling right now. But give yourself permission to cry and grieve as need be. You DO have a hole in your heart, but as trite as it sounds, it will get better with time. And it doesn't have to be "comfortably numb". It will start to fill as life goes on and you come to the new revolutions each and every day of just what it was that Willow taught you. Give yourself some credit too, Sweet Thing! You say you want to be more like her. What makes you think you're not? You've already learned to look deep into your children's eyes, smell the innocence of their skin, run your hands through their hair, to share hugs that make you all feel safe. That's a pretty good legacy from Willow. And everyday, you'll correlate your short life with Willow to more and more of your expanding everyday life. Again, don't sell yourself short. If only everyone, or every horse, had someone to love them as much as you loved Willow and she loved you. Bless you, Sweet Girl.

  14. I'm often reminded of the following quote..."Crying isn't a sign of weakness. it's a sign of having tried too hard, to be strong for too long." To stay healthy, you have to treat emotions like a sponge, and wring them out once in awhile.

  15. "And I haven't cried in so long... not until today"

    make that two of us ;)

    "the process" is just that, Shana, and the more aware you are the longer it reveals things to you. I hope this doesn't sound weird, but enjoy the process, it's a gift from Willow ;)


  16. Sweet Shana, your love for Willow is so beautiful...this is a never ending winter here also and with time the pain won't be as painful as it is right now. Don't forget that you made her life so wonderful. I will say a little prayer for you, that our Lord protects your tender heart.

    Blessings to you!

  17. Dear, loving, Shana, Your memories will never become that ".. fleeting glimpse..". Your time was short, but the deep love you two shared will be with you forever and you will always be able to summon up the feelings of holding her face in your hands, braiding her lovely mane and just being in her presence. My first horse was truly a gem and we shared everything. She's been gone for 31 yrs and I can still see her soft eye looking at me, and feel her powerful muscles as I rode her bareback, at a gallop, over the fields. These wonderful horses become such a part of our lives and our hearts, that losing them is unbearable, but the love and the connection endures.
    Keeping you in my prayers.

  18. Beautiful words and document of her last days. A well loved horse will always be grateful. xo

  19. Sweet loving Shana,
    Willow will never be just a "fleeting Glimpse" your love was too deep for that to happen. Our animals come into our lives for a reason whether it be a short time, or years together... THEY pick US. She is always with you. Keep in mind the beautiful gifts she gave you with the sun, the photos, Mirabella.... Your pain may always stay raw, as our horses truly part of our family... but you saved each other!! She will never leave you, she will never be just a memory. She has touched so many hearts with your special bond, and thank you for sharing with us. I agree she has shown everyone who reads your blogs and knows you how very special you are and what a HUGE heart and soooo much love you have to give....another loving gift from Willow. xxxxxxxx God Bless, Suzanne

  20. I feel what you are feeling...My 17 year old daughter was killed almost 10 years ago...I was where you are, I didn't want to feel it yet, didn't want her to be a fleeting glimpse...I cry still, today was bad for me, sometimes it just sneaks up on you, but you have to let it.. I have a hole in my heart, it will never be filled the same, but you live with it, learn from it, and grow with it.....You will never forget Willow, just as I will never forget my daughter, but it is there and always will be...keep writing about her, keep speaking her name, keep on dreaming your dreams, Willow will always be with you, and she will find a way to you when you need her most...Hugs and love to you Shana

    1. Donna, what I'm going through seems nothing compared to your loss... I am so so sorry... I can't even imagine losing a child. I am sending you the biggest hugs and prayers. And you know what? Maybe in Heaven, Willow will give your sweet daughter a ride. When I talk with her during my quiet time, I will ask her to... (what is her name)? <3

  21. Shana - Every word you write here honors Willow and makes us all believers in unconditional love. So allow yourself to grieve for her and your words will be a tribute to Willow and a powerful bound that can never be broken.
    Mary in CA

  22. Dear Sweet Shana, your heart is beautiful. You have shared a big part with us and it is very dear you have. I just love the life of Willow and all she is. Your heart does have a whole just for willow. It will not ever change. You will miss her and love her until you get to see her again. I lost my sweet white pure shadow my mini schnauzer Teaje 10 years ago. She was so lucky to be with me during many changes in my life. I lived at home with my parents, I met the man of my dreams and was with me while I had my three children. She lived a shorter life them most schauzers because she worried so about me that her heart gave out. I miss her so much. I still cry from time to time. These days I know she is close to me and I just hug her with my heart. The hole I have in my heart feels less. Hugs to you Sweet Shana Tami

  23. You will never ever forget her or the way she felt when you ran your hand through her mane, your heart won't let you. You need to allow yourself to be sad and to grieve for her and her loss, the bleakness will eventually pass and so will the pain, crying helps, so please allow yourself to grieve and cry. No matter how much your hurting now, there is an end to grief. One of the greatest healers of grief is time. But time heals only if you allow yourself to grieve, only if you allow yourself to feel the panic, the anger, the anguish, the depression. Then ever so gradually you will make peace with your loss. No one can tell you how long to grieve, but just know that there are so many of us here that have gone through this process of losing our "soul mate" that we understand, so please reach out to us, we'll be here for you and we understand the pain.

  24. Do you ever feel like - even though you went through the very human and pragmatic motions of finding and acquiring Willow - that you had absolutely nothing to do with her coming to you? That's how I felt about Tex. I was the one who perused the classifieds and followed leads and consulted with experts and dialed the numbers and made the appointments and took the 'test ride' and scheduled the vet check and then wrote the check and shook hands and hitched the trailer and brought him home . . . but I know now that I had N O T H I N G to do with his coming in to my life. He was sent to me. Just as Willow was sent to you.

    I do NOT believe that everything happens for a reason. Except for when it does. And I believe Willow was sent to you for a reason. I am in no position to speculate, but I suspect it may have been to connect the part of you that is a mother to the part of you that needs to be mothered - because in the few photos I have seen of the two of you together, there is an obvious maternal bond, although it is not obvious whose role was that of nurturer and whose was the nurtured.

    Perhaps Willow came only briefly to teach you about the ferocious and tenacious strength of feminine energy and maternal instinct, and to make it clear that those elements are more powerful driving forces than crude oil or rocket fuel! You do a tremendous service in employing your powerful maternal instinct to help others and create an all inclusive family, regardless of DNA, but don't forget that you need to be mothered too, sometimes. Am I mistaken, or did Willow behave very motherly toward you?

    I think maybe Willow wanted you to know you don't always have to display monolithic strength . . . that a woman can fall apart and still keep it all together, that she can be deliriously happy and still carry profound grief. If that's the reason - even though I am just speculating - then you are making her BEAM with pride!!

    I just pray I am making Tex proud - from that same horse heaven where Willow resides. (His lesson to me was very clearly "fear nothing" although I am not sure I an rockin' it!!)

    1. Wow- I don't even know your name, and you know me so well. Yes, that is exactly what it was... I felt so safe with her, and she was my nurturer and was protective and very motherly to me. I felt like she really knew me... my soul. And that she loved me unconditionally as if she'd known me all my life. ♥

      And like you with Tex, yes I did all of that... but I definitely had nothing to do with her coming into my life. And somehow, I think she was always there even before I ever laid eyes on her. She resided (and always will) in my heart. Just as Tex does in yours. Thank you for your beautiful post...

      "Fear nothing" is exactly what they want us to do... xo

  25. The hole will always be there, but at the moment the hole has sharp jagged edges that stab and hurt.... in time the edges will soften and erode, the smooth edges will not cause so much pain, instead you will smile with pride at the time you had together, yes you will still miss her, but the stabbing pain will ease as those sharp edges erode with age.

    Stay strong you are a beautiful woman inside and out.

  26. People that say Pets are not part of your family have never really known the love of a "Pet". They are not really pets, they are your bestfriend, your soulmate, the one you turn to when you need to be lifted up. When ever I have a bad day, going and sitting in Remington's Stall always made it better. He knew when to leave me alone or when I needed him to rest his MASSIVE head in my lap. He understood me and could see right through me.

    When we lost my mom's Arabian mare Daatara after 23 years it was heartbreaking. I still miss her to this day and it was 7 years ago. When you think you are starting to forget something will remind you and it will feel like they were just there yesterday. When we lost Daatara, Remington was uncontrolable. He is a Perch/TB cross and was on his hind legs CLIMBING the stall walls. We had to move him to another farm (they were kept at our home) for his own saftey. When he got hurt we had to bring him back home. Remington is a show horse and is used to being alone in the barn but now he could not be left alone. We had to find a buddy for him. My mom got a paint named Frank and it was funny how we would see Daatara's personality coming through Frank. When mom would go ride Remington would get upset again because he was alone so we go a mini for him. Lil' Bit was feisty and one day he walked out of the barn and did this neck toss. It is hard to explain but he bent his neck and twisted it and snapped his head around. Mom and I stared at eachother in shock. We had never in our lives seen another horse do that besides Daatara. I am pretty sure she has come back to us through both Frank and Lil' Bit. But that neck snap did it.

    I guess what I am trying to say is, it is ok to feel numb. It is your way of dealing with it. Do not feel that you will forget. Trust me you can't. They are a part of you forever. Once you start to heal that hole in your heart will fill with Willow's love and memories and it will get better. You will never not miss her. And there could be days down the road where you will cry for her, but I think it is healthy to cry. Let your emotions out. You are not moving on, you are getting along.

    Last I want to think that each horse lover has that one special horse that comes into their life that can never be replaced. Willow was your special horse. She was in your life to teach you things that you will prob still learn years down the road. Remington is my special horse. I am blessed to have him in my life for 14 years, and still have him. I fell in love with him the second I saw him and after 4 months I convinced my mom he was the one for me.

    Sending love and warm wishes and I am sorry for my long post. Guess I had alot on my mind today


  27. I was thinking after reading your post on Willow's page how sorry I am and how much I understand your feeling. Mirabella is beautiful, Paloma gorgeous....all your horses are amazing...but maybe what you need is a cause, a horse that really needs you, a rescue. I am donating money to a horse rescue here, in Argentina, if you will see the situation of the horses here you will get sick, and I donated the first time after the pass on Willow and on her memory, since then I keep doing as much as I can, but I don't have land or money to rescue any horse, specialty these poor, almost dead horses by men hands...but maybe you can...an abused horse is waiting for you somewhere, he/she needs your golden heart, he/she needs your help and generosity. Willow destiny was in part, maybe, to teach you to feel the deep, hard and sometimes hurting feeling of love and life, don't lose that! You are a golden person, keep being that way.
    I hope I didn't cross a line. I also believe that it's OK to be numb, for as long as you need until you can start dealing with it. Pain is too strong sometimes and we need to heal.

  28. I just want to share that in my culture w e mourn for one year and celebrate the life and spirit annually. You may wish to do the same? Life and spirit are two different things. ♥