I’m starting to type this up as I wait by our bikes outside the local grocery store, while my son runs in with a $20 dollar bill and grabs us some ice cream and water. This short ride, two miles out and back, is the most exercise I’ve done in over a week. I kid with my friends that I’m a marshmallow…but it’s a true joke. This week I’ve been a toxic, on the edge of tears emotional and mental stew, with little time or effort for working out.
I visited my grandfather on hospice care in his home and it’s so difficult to put that into words. I’ve been beating myself up for how I feel about it. Saying family is complicated may be a cliche but it’s truth in our case. This is my dad’s father, my mother’s partner since I was 9, 10 years old, the one who had the biggest hand in raising me and the biggest heartache from it too. I’d never considered myself overly close to him, more like that family you visit on the holidays cause that’s what you do. He’s always been nice to me, and Kade’s spent a summer split between his house and his grandmother’s (also my dad’s mother, but they divorced and remarried many years ago). To visit a house filled with family, already mourning but still actively caring for him, watching him struggle with the basics while being totally sound of mind, is wrenching. It feels like betrayal to even say I’m not so close to him, cause what does it really matter at this moment? He’s family and we’re all struggling to help and process the news and support, as best we can.
Then, just this morning we learned my husband’s grandmother was admitted to the hospital last night. She’ll need surgery but should be ok to come home in a few days. On top of this, my best friend’s daughter’s horse was hurt earlier in the week, which put a ton of stress on her and lead me to not leaning on her for support like I normally do. In the background of all our personal woes are the pleas from every local authority, banning or begging folks not to start any fires with holiday fireworks and celebrations, our state was literally baked by the heat wave last week that almost a hundred folks didn’t survive, the berry crop pretty well wiped out. Remembering evacuating Flash under an orange sky, having helped friends evacuating their horses all day, once again doing the mental math on what to take from our house should we need to leave again has left my ability to focus on work almost non-existent.
So, when I had the first opportunity in over a week to ride my horse, I stayed away. I’m maxed out on stress, worry, anxiety. Tarma and I are not so solid that I can expect her to deal with me showing up already off kilter and trailer out for a ride. And yet I feel guilty not riding, not exercising her and prepping her to camp at Quinn in a few weeks for the OET state ride (if we make it).
I have found small moments of calm with her, and Kade and I showed her she doesn’t have to afraid of the giant horse ball one night. I want to seek those beautiful moments we had during our last few trail rides, but the steps to get there just seem so difficult right now, for all I’ve done them dozens of times. Make a plan, get dressed in my riding gear, drive to the barn, hitch up the trailer, do the safety walk around, stuff the hay bag with alfalfa, trek everything from the barn to the trailer, fetch the horse out of the pasture, ask her to load up, safety check again, haul out, tack up and only then determine based on how Tarma’s doing if we ride or hike together.
I know all the platitudes, I say them myself sometimes. “There’s plenty of summer left.” “This too shall pass (like a kidney stone maybe, but still).” “Focus on what you can control.” This last one is what I’m actually trying to follow, taking the steps to find a new counselor and buying a new swimsuit, adding the public swim times to my work calendar. I’m in a hole and it’s work to make it smaller, work I need help to do. I just want to feel balanced enough to ride my beautiful mare, physically and emotionally.