What's gotten me through most of my goodbyes is being able to make peace and let go.
Maybe that's why this is harder.
There is a lot I want to say, but my words, they're caught up in a tangle in my throat and I'm not quite sure how to start.
Yes, I know he is better off this way. Yes, I know he has lived a good, long life.
And yes I know that he was very, very loved and that he knows this too.
All of that matters to me.
But I struggle with the knowing of all the things he meant to me, all the things he taught me, and this in-between/not-quite-there-yet relationship I seem to have developed with horses that exists because of him.
With him, I felt like it was okay to stand there for as long as I needed to until I wanted to step closer. With him I felt like I never had to bring anything but myself because even if I tried, he'd see right through me.
With him I found a stillness and a calm that I haven't always been able to share.
And right up til the last evening I saw him, that didn't change.
Here's the thing about Wallaby Joe, as soft as I am for him, he was never something to fix.
I started off, not knowing where I stood with him. And not trying to figure it out either, because I was just caught up with standing exactly where I was standing.
(At that time that was about a metre and a bit away from two bars that kept him in.)
I don't know how to begin describing the way I felt.
The way he gave me such tiny, tiny moments that I wanted to hold on to forever. The way he made me wish time would come to a standstill, whenever he came and stood with me, or cuddled up.
The way he made me feel like, for a little while, nothing else could possibly matter.
So if I need to be honest, I cannot say that I am alright. Not yet.
But I am grateful. So immensely grateful for the time I did get to spend with him, for the person I grew into, for the little things I learnt (even if I don't know I've learnt it yet.)
You certainly were something special.
I'll see you soon.