A Visit From Rocky

I made this totem of Rocky this morning with wool that I spun from the sheep at the Old Bedlam Farm
I made this totem of Rocky this morning with wool that I spun from the sheep at the Old Bedlam Farm

I shoveled  the manure out of the barn, somehow the donkeys got into the stall last night.  I stopped, I felt the frigid air, the warm sunshine, and something else.  I felt Rocky, he was there in the stall with me.  It was impossible to doubt my feelings.  I knew he was there.  I started to cry, the sadness that comes over me when ever I think of Rocky filled me up and and sat heavy in my body.  Every part of me sagged and my mind started to race.  A confusing mess of feelings, love, sadness, guilt, exhaustion,  my mind trying to” protect” me, trying to push the feelings and words away.  “Stop” I said out loud, “and just listen”.  My mind still whirled, but someplace in my body I heard the words.  “You made me happy here.”

I’ve been avoiding Rocky.  Ever since we euthanized him, I’ve been trying to put him behind me.  I refuse to look at the photos Jon puts up on his blog, when he comes to mind I immediately stop myself from thinking about him.   I didn’t want to feel the sadness, but in not allowing myself to feel the sadness, I was also not allowing myself to remember  and feel the love and connection I had with Rocky.  The love and connection I still have with Rocky.  Because, when I allow myself, I can see that death hasn’t changed that connection.  I can see that death isn’t a barrier to love. I don’t completely understand my relationship to Rocky, but I know it hasn’t ended.     I felt it in the barn this morning.  As if Rocky, so much wiser than me was saying,  Don’t forget me, what we have is too important to let death  and sadness get in it’s way.

I think we did make Rocky happy while he was here, not only by taking care of him and loving him in life, but by helping him move on when it was time.  And I think that was only the beginning of it.  I have so much more to learn from Rocky and give back,  I know it, I can feel it, not in my mind, but in my body.

One of Jon's many photos of Rocky
One of Jon’s many photos of Rocky, a wise pony.

38 thoughts on “A Visit From Rocky

  1. Maria, I loved Rocky’s story when he was alive and felt his loss as you and Jon shared it with us. Your words today are so beautiful, so life affirming. I am glad for the gift of Rocky’s presence. May it bring you peace.

  2. Oh, Maria, thank you for sharing this very personal moment with Rocky. I really have no doubt Rocky was connecting with you– I believe it.
    I’ve had those connections with my Frankie (the walk ‘n roll dog) since she’s been gone.
    I actually made a conscious effort to breathe in her smell and remember how she felt right before she passed. I feel her with me often and every time I think of her or cry, I know it is her tapping her paw on my heart. It is very comforting. I’m so glad you have this with Rocky.

    Barbara

  3. Thankyou for your beautiful sharing about a beautiful relationship. I have had many visitations from by beloved animal companions over the years. The most powerful connection from us (humans) to them (animals) is the love and the memories of that love. What a powerful teacher Rocky was/is to you. I cry with you just remembering all the joys/teachings of my own crew who has died. The journey you are on is precious and one that you are on because of love and compassion. I’m so glad you shared this with us. A very special thankyou and ‘be blessed’ on your journey.

  4. Maria, thank you so much for this post. I am as sure as can be that you had a visit from Rocky this morning. I have been experiencing the same with my dog. I’ve heard her barking, I have sensed her presence while I’m working and it comforts me to know she is near. Grief may come to us all, but it is a hard thing. I am learning I have to let it come and flow through and out without trying to stop it. Some days that’s easier said than done, but I think it is the only way to heal. This morning in the Bennington Banner there is an article by a columnist who lost his dog in December. His story made me weep as did yours, but it is because we all know the same pain. We are not alone and that too is comforting is it not? Peace to you

  5. Maria,
    You are one of those people whose love for all creatures shines through. Of course Rocky is still there to encourage you. He will be with you always and you with him.

  6. Maria,
    This post has brought tears to my eyes. Not only for you, but for myself. We lost one of our milking goats last week. She was the matriarch of the herb, one of our first. I tend to get close to all of the goats, but especially to the ones that I milk. I thank them for the sustenance that they provide, and in my opinion, the love that they give. So, thank you for letting me know that it is okay to be sad and cry about missing my dear sweet Jazzy girl.

    Peace and Blessings to you,
    Beth 🙂

  7. Oh, Maria…..we do share with you your sadness……we all loved Rocky, knowing him through Jon’s blog and the sweet fotos of you two together…..you were a beautiful sight, gining that sweet boy all the care and loving attention. He is in our hearts, and may his spirit remain with you always in your heart.

  8. Oh Maria, don’t I feel your pain. My lifetime dog Major will be gone 3 yrs in February and I can still feel the connection, everyday. Most days, a good feeling, some days, not so much. 🙂 Reading your story made me cry because I completely understand. Embrace it.

  9. Hi Maria,

    Hi Maria, You don’t know me, but I am acquainted with Jon. I cried when I read your and Jon’s blogs about Rocky. I knew Rocky for many years and knew and admired Florence as well. I always looked for Florence’s pony whenever I drove by her house. A few years ago I wrote an Around Town article about Florence and I met Rocky up close.He was a wonderful part of the Walrath place.I often marveled at the tenacity and serenity he displayed in every part of his being. He was a Pony of the Americas which is similar to the larger Appaloosa horse; he had the spots and schlera around his eyes which in this breed are weak because of it. Florence was very proud of Rocky and laughed when she said she wondered who would go first. Thank you for writing about Rocky’s “appearance.” There is no way that little guy could leave his beloved farm. I am sure he is softly nickering in amusement over Simon’s puzzlement at his presence! I have signed up to receive your blog and am looking forward to reading it.

  10. Maria,

    You touched my heart, as you do so often. It is difficult to stop and just listen sometimes, but it is exactly what we need. Thanks for sharing such a poignant moment.

  11. Maria,

    I am sure Rocky has not only taught you and Jon a few things, us too, I know he has for me in just reading your’s and Jon’s words. We can learn so much from our animals if we just open ourselves up to listen, see and hear them. I now take more time to listen and watch my animals, thanks to Rocky.

    Mary

  12. Maria – I love how open you are about your feelings and how you put those feelings into words. It seems like it is so easy (it probably isn’t) for you to share who how you feel. I have a hard time with that. I too am a very emotionally charged person (in my house we call it “menopause” – I am still trying to think of that word as a normal, not dirty word) and am very quick to cry and laugh. I sit here now and have tears streaming down my face. Your words are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Thank God you have had an epiphany and will be letting Rocky in. Your relationship with him was awesome and rare and should never be pushed away.

    I can only imagine how it hurts to think about him and all the memories, but they formed a precious happening in your life (and his) and should be honored as such. If nothing else, it can become a touchstone memory for you of a time of which you can truly say, “I did a good thing here, and was loved for it.” Not too many people can anchor themselves in a truth such as that. You are blessed.

  14. Again you touch my heart. Thank you for sharing. My attitude on death and dying is evolving also…this brought tears..I cry easily too..third time today..but all the tears were from being touched by beautiful words and pictures. I’ll take an open heart anytime.

  15. i think we all push down our emotions from time to time, so afraid of hurting and really just feeling our feelings. very cool that you allowed Rocky in again! you’re so right, that love connection never ends…i have it with my grandpa and my dog Tucker, who both passed away many, many years ago.

  16. I’m glad you can talk about this now. I can’t say that I am comfortable with death. It would be very hard to deal with the death of a beloved horse, so I think I might know what you are going through. I am glad that Rocky has remained at the farm. I have read accounts of ghost horses in the Horse Miracles book by Brad Seiger. Quite a few were protectors warning of danger, stuff like that. All that about ghost horses is quite amazing to me. My only experience has been with a ghost cat. I think it is a great gift to have Rocky’s spirit there. How wonderful!

  17. You gave Rocky the greatest gift in return for his love and companionship. You did not allow him to suffer. He will be with you always in your thoughts and heart.

    He still lives with you and always will.

    Sandy

  18. Thank you, Maria. I followed Rocky through Jon’s blog. I think he touched many of us more than we have wanted to share. He did open us all.

  19. M,
    I just love how open you and Jon are to all possibilities. Personally I have no doubts about Rocky’s spirit hanging around where he was so loved and cared for. I also have some experience – okay a lot of experience – with grief. I’ve learned how it settles in our body, our bones, as well as our heart and mind. I know how, when we are ready it rises to the top of our consciousness. And I know that it gets easier and I don’t cry as much.

    Some wise person said that in order to love we have to be willing to feel all the emotions. Hmmm, maybe I just said that because it doesn’t sound like the quote I was trying to relay. I think you know what I mean. Grief, like love, takes opening up to all it has to offer.

    Your tears watered the spot in the barn where something beautiful will grow.

  20. Maria, I love this post!! It’s so hard to lose animals … I’ve almost stopped myself from adopting animals time and time again because it tears me up so much when they die. But then I remind myself that’s not fair – to them or to me. They deserve a better life; I love their company.

    You and Jon did give Rocky a good life; I’m happy he came back to remind you.

    diane

  21. LaDonna Benes says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    January 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm
    Thankyou for your beautiful sharing about a beautiful relationship. I have had many visitations from by beloved animal companions over the years. The most powerful connection from us (humans) to them (animals) is the love and the memories of that love. What a powerful teacher Rocky was/is to you. I cry with you just remembering all the joys/teachings of my own crew who has died. The journey you are on is precious and one that you are on because of love and compassion. I’m so glad you shared this with us. A very special thankyou and ‘be blessed’ on your journey.

  22. Thank you for sharing your feelings today. When you and Jon decided to help Rocky move on, I confess I had mixed emotions. I tried not to judge, because he wasn’t my pony. I only knew Rocky through Jon’s blog. You and Jon knew him everyday. I know that both of you are compassionate and loyal animal lovers and would only do what was best for him. Jon’s post today led me to yours and I thank both of you for sharing. I read it with tears in my eyes, but also a smile on my face. I’m glad Rocky is visiting.
    Take care — Kim

  23. Maria, thanks for sharing, so many people avoid talking about animals death because its uncomfortable, or they want to ask about if you will be getting get a replacement, another pet. It was tough enough for you and Jon to have to make the decision to let Rocky go, let alone deal with all the people who don’t even know you, questioning your decision. I’m glad you found a way to enjoy feeling Rocky’s presence today, and moving forward.

    Seems your post is stirring up a lot of emotions and memories for your blog readers, so hope you don’t mind if I share too.

    We lost our 15 yr old border collie Zak on Dec 4th, whom we had had since a puppy, and moved from the UK to the USA with us 6 years ago. We don’t have kids, or any other dogs, he was a huge part of our family and daily routine, and it’s been very hard to adjust. I still sometimes find myself looking behind me waiting for him to catch up on walks, or go to the door to let him out last thing at night. Time is helping us sort through the lifetime of happy memories, and let go of the most recent ones were he was struggling to get up, and walk without stumbling.

    I wanted to share with you a verse that was in one of the sympathy cards we received, which really meant a lot to me.

    When you are sorrowful
    look again in your heart
    and you shall see that
    in truth you are weeping
    for that which has
    been your delight

    by Kahlil Gibran

    Best wishes, Hannah, Wales, NY

  24. I think we all miss Rocky too Maria, I know I do! He had a wonderful spirit about him! forever in your heart Maria. 😀

  25. Thank you for sharing your story about Rocky’s visit to you. I have had many beloved pets in the past and now have two senior cats that I love dearly. I am so sad when pets die or get sick and can’t be cured, and it tears my heart out to have to make a decision to euthanize. their love and devotion stay with me forever and in my memory they are still alive. To have a special bond with an animal is God’s gift to us.

  26. This is a beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing. We who have experienced appreciation and love of animals are so lucky, it is this we have to be thankful…the tears of missing the presence of them is proof of the great substance of the love you had, and still have. when the tears come, smile……

  27. Thank you for sharing the precious gift of Rocky, Maria. His presence with you in the barn – just bet he knew you were ready to embrace him again, – you are a truly loving spirit.

  28. I am deeply touched by this entry and thank you for sharing it.

    I greatly appreciate the honesty in your posts. You say what is.

    You have a great deal of wisdom, Maria. You remind me of a scientist and spiritual Quaker named Katy Payne who wrote a wonderful book called Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants. I think you might like that book very much.

  29. Maria
    You have such a deeply rooted connection to the Animal Totems. As I read your words I sensed Rocky being so grateful for the love you and Jon brought to him in his last months. It is a love that will never leave the farm or your hearts. Blessings
    Deb R

  30. Oh Maria, Of course I cried after this post. We stopped and saw shy Rocky years ago on a trip to one of your gallery open houses at the old Bedlam. I think it’s ok to cry right now. Just showing our souls. I need to pm you of another example of the thread that connects us all. Enjoy the last hour of your Birthday! xoxo

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