I hope you don’t think I am shamelessly plugging my book. I was intending to blog about something else, but…I finally got around to opening my huge pile of mail after being out of the country, and cut open a padded manila envelope from my publisher. And out slid – my first hard copy of my book, WORTH FIGHTING FOR.
It was quite an experience to see it. Moving. And I was touched in a way I didn’t expect. I had put so much work into this, a lot of heart and soul, and here it was in my hands. And it was – beautiful. So much more beautiful than I expected; the shiny gold insert at the top, the raised white lettering of the title…all of it said that a lot of love and care went into the creation of this work. And I silently thanked my publisher for the TLC with which they put together the final cover, inside flap, and pages. And yes, I cried.
I was proud. And finding this book within my pile of mail was made more momentous by the fact that it slid out with the back cover facing me. The first thing I saw was the stunning photo of Patrick and our stallion, Tammen. Can you believe how vibrant and alive both of them look? I look at it and they seem like the perfect pair. Their intense charisma seems to match each other. And look at Tammen’s eyes – wow!
Speaking of Tammen, he was a great horse, a great horse, and we loved him dearly. And talk about learning from an animal – he had a zestful personality, elegant confidence, and humor. We also got to see how he fought the terrible case of *laminitis that would eventually take his life in April 1999 at seventeen years old. And he did so with inspiring dignity, and grace.
*Laminitis is basically a separation of the foot from the hoof’s wall, and is bad news for horses.
We did everything we could for him: taking him to LSU Veterinary Hospital, and to another place for even more drastic treatment. As long as there was light in his eyes, we were going to do what we could. When we visited him at LSU, he was rarely on his feet, and spent most of his time lying down. But the fire was still in his eyes. He wanted to live, that was clear. And this impressive stallion treated everyone who came into his stall with great appreciation, tolerance, and a desire to get well. He knew they were there to help him. And he was well loved wherever he went.
I left him after one such visit, and turned to Patrick, “It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself about little things that don’t even matter when you see Tammen fighting for his life, and doing it without complaint, and with such simple beauty and gratitude.” I’ll never forget Tammen’s spirit.
And maybe Patrick never forgot either. He battled for his life in much the same way as Tammen fought for his. Hah! Maybe he and Tammen are even more alike than I first thought!
But I seriously digress… I was talking about the book! But I am happy to tell you about Tammen, and what a magnificent horse he was. It’s good to remember. Funny he ended up on the back cover. With… Ooooo, there must be some spirits present in the room tonight!
I think they are gathering here with me. One thing’s for sure. When I held that book in my hands, it made the whole journey of what’s written in it — alive and real — it’s like being whole again. And I do feel like Patrick is here. I can almost feel him kiss my forehead and smile. And he’s proud, too.