The season of letting go is officially here. September 22nd marked the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and also a monumental moment in my life. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a happy one.
The evening of September 22nd I said goodbye to one of my oldest, most loved friends: my horse Ollie. He got a bad, painful spell of colic and after a few hours with the vet and no sign of improvement, she said there wasn’t much we could do. I had prepared myself for this moment and I knew my top one priority was as little suffering as possible for him. So I let him go. I gave the vet permission to put him to sleep.
At the mature age of 26, he’s done well. It doesn’t mean I’m not upset by the loss but it helps to know he had a happy, healthy, long retirement behind him. Before that, he travelled the world with me, living in five different countries with me and even flying on an aeroplane. Together, we explored the rainforests in Brazil, rode through olive oil farms in Portugal, galloped alongside sunflower fields in Germany, hacked the hills of the Cotswolds in the UK, and trotted in the country lanes in Southwest Sweden. We soared over jumps and danced in dressage arenas. We played in the meadows and we cuddled a lot.
When I got him I was 12 and I couldn’t have dreamt of a better horse to grow up with. I am grateful for the amazing 21 years I got to spend with him. I am grateful for every ride, for every cuddle, and for every moment I had him alongside me. Finally, I am grateful for every lesson he left with me. He taught me a lot more than how to ride. He taught me to live.
Still, I’m not going to lie, it hurts. But that’s ok. It would be more worrying if it didn’t. That’s the thing about letting go. It takes time. To help myself through this process, I’m reminding myself of my own tips for letting go.
1. Allow yourself to feel.
Letting go is hard. It can bring up all kinds of emotions. Allow yourself to feel them. Blocking them will only create more resistance and fight within you which will only make you feel worse. On the other hand, accepting your feelings will already create more calm within.
2. Say thank you to what you are letting go of.
Say thank you for everything that they’ve taught you, thank you for everything that you’ve gone through with them, and thank you for having them in your life. Celebrate all the best moments and reminisce on the best memories.
3. Remind yourself that this too shall pass.
I feel like this is the phrase I have used the most this year. And, yet again, it fits. Yes, I will forever miss my beloved Ollie. Yes, a part of my heart will always belong to him. But, over time, it will start to hurt a little less. Over time, I will get a little bit more used to life without him. Over time, I will start to feel better.
Rest in peace my beloved Ollie.