In an instant I was awake, it was 8am. My brain was already at a dead run. Dosages of medications, and vital signs and pending labs. It was all there, like a ticker running in an endless loop. This last week has been one endless stream of information. My brain has been processing and problem solving and processing some more. As quickly as everything developed I have needed to stay ahead of it. Plan the next move, adjust according to what was presenting in front of me. I have seen things nobody ever wants to see. They are searing in my conscience. When I opened my eyes this morning all I though of was Lilo. What would her temp be? would her vitals be okay? The dose of antibiotics….as my feet hit the carpet it found reality. As if someone had unleashed all the burdens and stresses, they came squarely onto my shoulders. It wasn’t just loss. It was images and textures, and feelings of the past week. The smell of her bowel contents sliding to the ground, the endless torment from the flies, the old horse flipping over in his stall. No, it wasn’t just loss. It was the relentless experiences of the week, and the sum total of stress. Not money, or bills, this was life and death. This was holding an animal’s life in my hands. It was sentencing one to death. It rests on me. To say that was crushing is an understatement. I retreated to my bed, hoping to start over. But there is no running from this. The week I have had has left a mark. My head has to come to terms with it, all of it. I know it will take time. I expect the awfulness of it all to settle here for a bit. I know I miss her terribly, no part of me wanted to be in the barn today. I forced myself to go up there. I didn’t have it in me to strip her stall and scrub it down. Nor could I take her name off the door. Her halter hangs there, no horse to wear it anymore. These are the new images that find their way into my brain. They nestle in amongst the rest. How did it get so terrible? Why did this happen to her? I find myself looking for answers and finding none. I am empty, except for the loop running circles in my mind. All this information, pointless now. It means nothing in her absence. It means nothing at all.