#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Hanging in there

Well, Buck had to be put down; he was in too much pain and he depended on me to do what needed to be done.  Maybe that’s the greatest act of love we can show a dearly beloved pet–stepping up to do the hard thing when it’s time.  Yes, I cried a lot, and I still cry, because I miss him, our Grand Old Man of the Barn, but the truth is, these are selfish tears.  Buck is in a better place, where the grass is greener and sweeter and the running is good.

I have a certain peace, too, with all the sadness.  Buck couldn’t have faced another Northwest winter; his old bones just wouldn’t have been able to take it.  And, though he was abused in his youth, when I got him, around 12 years ago, I promised him he’d be safe and comfortable, with plenty to eat, and I kept that promise. 

Godspeed, old horse.  I’ll see you again farther down the trail.

On a brighter note, the Lael family reunion is this weekend, and that’s going to be a lot of fun.  This year, we’re meeting at a place with water slides and bumper cars and nifty things, with an eye to giving the younger members of the clan something exciting to do.  After all, we want to keep these reunions going, and the only way to do that is for the youngsters to carry on the tradition. 

You all know how much I love my family.  They’re a great bunch–funny and creative and friendly and, best of all, decent to the bone.  We do a lot of laughing at these gatherings, which is good for the soul, and a little crying, too.  There’s an aunt to hug, since she lost her husband of 69 years last month, and I’ll probably garner a few hugs myself.  These are my people.  We care about each other.

I had an acupuncture treatment yesterday and, boy, did I need it.  Most of the time, I don’t feel the needles at all, but yesterday a couple of them gave me a pretty good twinge.  Debra, my cousin-acupuncturist, said they had to do with emotions–and Lord knows, I’ve had plenty of those recently.  Soon, though, I was almost floating, I was so relaxed.  And the heartache let up a little, too.  Even in losing a horse, there are many things to be grateful for: he didn’t suffer, he had a great last day outside with the others in the band, and Jenni and Jeremy gave him beer (he loved it) and a whole bag of carrots, all for him, no having to share.  I spent some good-bye time with him, and he let me hug and pet him in a way he usually wouldn’t have tolerated.  He died with dignity, and there were plenty of people around to give him support and love–and they gave me plenty of the same.

That same day, babies and puppies and all manner of creatures were born, all over this lovely blue-green planet.

The circle of life.  It’s a beautiful thing.



24 comments to “Hanging in there”

  1. Andrea Lammly
      · August 8th, 2013 at 1:40 pm · Link

    Sorry to hear that news about Buck. Our pets hold such special places in our hearts that it is always sad when we lose them. We know he’s in a better place with no pain and lots of green grass!

    Enjoy your family reunion! Blessings to all of you and for Buck.


  2. Hilda
      · August 8th, 2013 at 2:00 pm · Link

    Linda, such lovely words about Buck. Made me cry.
    Have a wonderful family reunion! Appreciating each other is a real gift from God – I have members of my family who can’t grasp the concept of appreciating and cherishing each other, and it’s heart-breaking. Why do some people act like their family members are their enemies? I just don’t get it. Anyway, you are blessed! And, never forget: YOU are a blessing! Enjoy!

  3. Shirley
      · August 8th, 2013 at 2:02 pm · Link

    I am so sorry for your loss. Our animals become part of our family, so when one of them pass on it feels as if one our family members has died. Just remember that he is no longer hurting.

  4. Shirley Wetmore
      · August 8th, 2013 at 2:12 pm · Link

    So sorry to hear about Buck. Like you said, he’s in a better place now. In time perhaps you can have another horse (not to replace him in your heart), but just to enjoy like you did “old Buck”. Love you and God Bless.

  5. Sherry Wallace
      · August 8th, 2013 at 2:26 pm · Link

    Yes, we certainly love God’s creatures & it’s so hard to do the right thing for them when it’s time to let them go. Prayers are with you! My family is planning a reunion, too, for early next summer in hopes it will not have gotten so unbearably hot like it is now. We want to meet @ a centrally located spot & I found a horse ranch in the Smokey Mts in NC called Clear Creek Ranch. An all inclusive with horses for every rider’s level, & two trail rides a day!! A rodeo on Sat night, white water rafting, golf, & many other activities, too! Can’t wait. Glad you are getting such good results with acupuncture treatments. I’ve never tried it, but would like to

  6. Patti
      · August 8th, 2013 at 3:32 pm · Link

    I am sorry for the loss of your horse friend. I hope you are including yourself in the “great bunch-funny and creative and friendly and decent to the bone”. I am grateful to be on your email list.

  7. Cathie Brown
      · August 8th, 2013 at 3:40 pm · Link

    I am so sorry you had to lose a good friend. I understand your feelings. Last fall I had to put my 13 year old cocker spaniel down. Friends of my daughter found him in February of 2000 – which in Ohio can be pretty nasty and cold. He had no collar or tags and you could see every rib in his body. I took him home to my older cocker. they were such good pals. Ironically I have had to have them both put down. It still hurts as you know. I haven’t gotten another pet, but my children and grandchildren and my niece encourage me to do so. They have all offered to go with me to a shelter to adopt another puppy. These pets are really family members. Take care

  8. Pat
      · August 8th, 2013 at 5:07 pm · Link

    So sorry to hear about Buck. Having growen up on a farm we always had horses or mules we rode. When we had to part with any of them it was heart breaking. Pets are so big a part of a family.
    Have a good time at your reunion.
    Prayers for you and your crew.

  9. Marlene Kubick
      · August 8th, 2013 at 5:59 pm · Link

    Sorry to hear about Buck. We are all very selfish when the time comes to do this for our pets. It’s tough to admit that they are better off. Maybe they are the lucky ones that they have someone to do this. Unlike humans that suffer for years and years.

  10. Debra
      · August 8th, 2013 at 6:05 pm · Link

    Enjoy the reunion. Sending hugs.

  11. Diana E
      · August 8th, 2013 at 6:39 pm · Link

    Linda, so sorry for your loss. I am crying with you. Hopefully this reunion will be a chance for renewal. Ecclesiastes 3 1-8 God bless you.

  12. Norma Stanforth
      · August 8th, 2013 at 7:02 pm · Link

    It is tough to have to put a pet down, but when they can’t get any better, it is a blessing if you do! Again sorry for your loss.
    Have a great time at your family reunion. God Bless everyone.
    As always your friend,

  13. Juanita Rice
      · August 8th, 2013 at 8:14 pm · Link

    Better days are coming, Linda. Look forward. :) Hugs!

  14. Ruby Norwood
      · August 8th, 2013 at 8:18 pm · Link

    Linda, I am so sorry for your loss. I cried also while I was reading it. I do hope you have a great time at your family

  15. Cheryl Messer
      · August 8th, 2013 at 8:33 pm · Link

    My sincere condolences to you, some may say he was just a horse, but obviously he was much more… Our pets are not just our friends, ones who listen and love us unconditionally, they ARE a part of our families and we love them so. May the days lessen your pain and the beautiful memories of Buck shine through more.
    I hope you have a wonderful family reunion, unfortunately, ours has fizzled out over the years, I love to hear of these types of family traditions carrying on…most times families only gather at weddings and funerals, reunions are precious. Enjoy!

  16. Alice Johnson
      · August 8th, 2013 at 9:27 pm · Link

    I do feel for you, had to have our two pups, a 17 year old minature poodle & 15 year old schnauzer put to sleep. With the poodle, I cried, prayed & held her for almost a year, just could not watch her any longer. With the Schnauzer, had learned our lesson, when she kept getting sick, & losing weight, plus just lying around, which she had never done, it was not a hard decision. Could not put her through anymore. Just know both were waiting for my husband at the Rainbow Bridge & all will be waiting for me. I really do believe God has a place for all our beloved animals ♥

  17. Sandra Dailey
      · August 8th, 2013 at 9:51 pm · Link

    My sympathies.

  18. Lea Williams
      · August 8th, 2013 at 10:38 pm · Link

    I am so sorry Linda. They part of our families aren’t they? Blessings out to you for doing what you had to do to fulfill your promise to him. He knew you loved him.

  19. Cindi Williams
      · August 8th, 2013 at 11:40 pm · Link

    They do tell us when it time for them to go to the other side, (Pet Heaven). He is running around with all of the horses that went before him. You will always have him in your heart. Have fun at your family re-union.

    Love, Cindi

  20. Maureen
      · August 9th, 2013 at 7:42 am · Link

    That was so beautiful. It is easy to see why your writing is so loved. I guess when we speak from the heart it makes it that much more beautiful. Buck was lucky to be so loved in his last days. I put my beautiful Gordon Setter down years ago and stayed with her and held her. They just take a piece of your heart with them. I like that final thought of creatures being born and the circle of life. I have been going to acupuncture for quite a while. I didn’t know about the needles and emotions. From personal experience, it explains a lot.

  21. Amy
      · August 9th, 2013 at 9:26 am · Link

    So sorry about your precious horse…losing animals is so hard, they are such a part of our lives for those of us who have them to love in our lives. Enjoy your reunion…always fun to share time with family! I remember as a kid going to family reunions, I loved it back then, unfortunately we haven’t had one in years. Have a great weekend, think fond memories of your loved one who is at greener pastures now!

  22. judy
      · August 9th, 2013 at 9:32 am · Link

    Sorry about you horse. They are just like are kides. Glad you are feeling better.

  23. Alisa Wells
      · August 9th, 2013 at 9:51 am · Link

    Linda I am so sorry for your loss of Buck. But I hope you have a wonderful reunion with your family.

  24. Joanie gonsalves
      · August 13th, 2013 at 4:03 pm · Link

    God bless you Linda on losing your Buck
    He was fortunate to be under your loving care

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