Where do I begin with the last two months?
Perhaps I can start by saying that they were quite possibly the best and worst of my entire lifetime.
The horses are well; the summer grazing came in and they all bloomed into beautiful good health, with the lowest condition score on the farm being a 6.5/10, and the highest amount of concentrate fed being 1kg per day. The kids are rockin’ it at SANESA shows, with 13 Morning Star riders attending Q1 and all of them showing improvement as we’ve gone on.
Thunder won his second ever Novice (at a training show) and Arwen won a whole lot of ribbons at Horse of the Year. Faith did her first show in hand, and Champagne went to Pre-HOY and didn’t kill anybody. I even started riding both Faith and Titan. Jamaica jumped a bunch of clear rounds at 90cm equitation and working hunter, and is ready to do the 1.00m in April.
And none of that, in the face of everything else that has happened, was at all momentuous.
February 9 was the worst night of my life. I booked on duty like every other night. I hung out at D and Tannie L’s house like any other night. But the call I ran on was unlike any other call. I cannot describe to you the feeling you get when you see the call address and realise it’s the ambulance base. I will journal that call yet, but not here. It was too heart-wrenching, too devastating, because the patient we knelt by and laid our hands on, the patient that we watched slowly slipping away despite our best efforts, was a coworker and a friend. She was part of the family. It was my first heli call.
Even a newb like me knows the way a patient looks when they are dying. I was looking in her eyes when she lost consciousness and I knew. She was six months younger than me. She was shot in the abdomen.
She died less than an hour after I watched the heli rise into the night.
And in that moment, I experienced the peace and the presence of God in a more intimate, more profound, and more real way than I ever have before. I felt Him, I saw Him, and I heard His Voice. The scene was chaos, fear, hatred, senselessness. But my soul was flooded with purest peace, love, and meaning. I experienced Him like a giant lake spreading in all directions, eternal, unlimited; deep and unshakeable, calm and yet vibrant, and bursting with love.
I knew then that He would bring something glorious of it yet. And He has.
But that’s a story for another day.
I can summarise this year so far as I can summarise my entire life, with three words: God so loved.
For tonight, mourn with me, blogosphere, the terrible loss of my friend and fellow volunteer first responder. She was that rare combination of a kind heart and an utterly fearless spirit.
Rest in peace. Salute.