In 1986 I had surgery on my vocal chords. The Doctor said that if I promised that I would not speak one single word, I didn't have to stay in the hospital. A mammoth challenge for me, but I solemnly agreed.
The anesthetic made me groggy & I went into a deep sleep when I got home. When I awoke, the house was dark and quiet. With four children under ten, 'quiet' was a totally foreign concept to me. I thought that I had died and gone to Heaven. I got cozy with a cup of tea, blankets and a pile of magazines & was set to enjoy some rare solitude.
I hadn't heard them leave & there was no note to say where they went. It was just dark. And quiet. For about five minutes I thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I got antsey, wondering where they could be, what if there was some emergency ... it was not like Brian to load up four kids & go off somewhere. I had myself pretty well worked up by the time they came in - the kids all excited, saying 'Come See! Come See!'
Since I was not allowed to speak, I couldn't even ask where they'd been or why they were dragging me out to the barn at that time of night.
When I walked in, there was the sweetest, beautiful, tiny little baby donkey. Brian said that he had been reading the paper & saw an advertisement for the donkey (which was extremely rare back then - still is actually). He decided he would go and get her for me, as a 'Get Well' present, instead of flowers. You can well imagine how difficult that was to express my surprise, my delight, my gratitude with no voice. Especially with a bunch of excited kids waiting for a reaction.
That was the day that Katie came to be part of our family. She had the most beautiful, gentle, doeful eyes. That was her personality too - so sweet & gentle. When everyone else is pushing & trying to get right up front for the treats, she'd stand back, patiently waiting her turn. She was like that with her babies too - low key & calm. She so loved being a mother & has enjoyed her little Jack Jenkins who was born on August 2nd this summer.
Last week, I lost my beloved, long-eared friend. I guess it was a heart attack - sudden & unexpected. It's hard for me to not see her out there with the rest of my dear donkeys. Every time I look out the window, my heart falls. She's been part of our lives for almost a quarter of a century. And it's particularly hard is to see wee little J.J., laying out there all by himself, wondering I'm sure, why his mom is not right beside him. Oh yes, so hard. So very hard.