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Sleep is over rated. I have now found that you can just skip over it for quite a period of time and it amazes me what can be accomplished in a stupor. On the other hand there is true quality in a real nap. Not a stolen five seconds, but being totally zonked for a couple hours. It is as refreshing as cool water in summer. Why would I experiment with sleepless nights?
I have given over my nights to an angel. You see all winter through the rain and snow and the cold and even a few days of sun a band of angels has visited me. They are mostly a teenage variety, young, giggly, happy, they don’t notice the cold and come every day. Each afternoon as the sun wanes and slips into the fir trees an angel appears to help with the barn chores. They show up and work for free shoveling out stalls and feeding horses, bringing buckets of water to each animal and just helping out. The band of angels come from the ranks of 4-H and FFA organizations and have been helping for months, ever since my daughters diagnosis with cancer left her unable to work in the barn. My daughter is a professional horse trainer, my son rides a rodeo sport, and I take in rescue animals – the barn is full. Between us chores never were an issue the old adage, many hands make light work seemed to apply readily. Then both my parents became very ill and my daughter got the diagnosis of Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma, No wonder she was slowing down and so tired working all those hours on the dairy and in the horse barn carrying a load of cancer with her. Then came the angels they flew in and picked up the slack, I wasn’t left to try to do chores and hospital runs and work late into the night to be sure everyone was cared for, “angels watching over me my lord”.
Days rolled into months and a routine and schedule formed and the work got done and the kids come and go. Some days when the temps moderate it is like a party in the barn with so many teens working and having fun with the time together. My son towers over the band and torments the girls who cant reach their cell phones held ransom high over their heads. His easy going 6’4” frame carries the heavy loads and casts a long shadow down the barn aisle as the band push wheel barrows out to the steaming pile. Another afternoon I gaze out the window to see the group of horses catching the last rays of afternoon sun along the fence line. Each is clad in a blanket – my horses in PJ’s, the rainbow of color is accented by the parkas the kids wear for each teen angel sits astride a horse and they all soak up the sun. No matter there is no bridle or saddle the shiny blankets are there and they all gather just to talk and finish the day in the sun.
Winter just kept going and as my parents stabilized and settled into life in a nursing home and the routine of chemo and appointments grew mundane we were told by the angels of a pending gather. A dinner was held calling all angels and come they did. Soon we were there and 350 friends gathered and a wonderful dinner was served and the angels presented my daughter with a cash gift to help her with all the medical bills. To have that worry lifted and to see the radiant faces of so many who love you is the best medicine. It was only two days later that all the prayers of all of us and the angels were answered. My daughters PET scan ( not a tally of heads in the barn door) came back Cancer FREE! Just finish the last 4 chemo dates and move on with life. 28 years young there is much to do and with that news the angels rejoiced.
This sleepless week was my turn to give back a little. One of the angels keeps her horse in my barn. Her family went of on a warm winter vacation and he stayed here at home. We could handle her days as it is school vacation week and things are looking up! 4 Days ago the poor horse got a belly ache, it’s called a colic in a horse and colic can be fatal. God, forgot in the molding of this magnificent creature to give him the power to throw up a disturbance in the belly. So instead they take the pain and try to ease it by rolling. This often twists their insides and the end is in sight. The trick then is to keep the horse walking and not let it lie down until the pain and gastric issues pass. Usually it is a long day. We are in day 4 now and finally he has some comfort. Finally we have stopped walking the circles of driveway and yard. 3 veterinarians have been out one each day. He has had all kinds of treatments and been such a gentleman. Part of the problem is his girl isn’t here to tell him it will be all right and the worry makes him feel worse. Last night I held the cell phone up to his ear and from so many miles away she told him to hang in there and try, she is coming home in a couple days and they can sit in the sun by the barn together. To our delight he perked up. The familiar voice reassured him and the dose of pain killer kicked in and he relaxed. So now he is on a two hour schedule of checks and tiny feedings of sweet summer smelling hay. I bundle up over pajamas and walk the crunchy iced path to the barn. As I roll the huge door back a chorus of nickers greets me even a 2 a.m. All are hoping for a snack of hay on the cold windy winter night. He’s going to make it now. We won’t be hauling him to the horse surgical unit hundreds of miles away in a last ditch effort, he’s going to make it just fine. Relief and a few pictures sent via cell phone reassure the quavering voice far away in a tropical setting and she sobs a thank you and sorry. No need, she has been my barn angel all winter it was just my turn to be a barn angel for her! © Carolyn Stearns

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Tags: 4-H, FFA, Hodgkins, Lymphoma, angels, cancer, colic, horse


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Comment by Olivia Wells on February 23, 2009 at 7:48am
So thre are angels on this earth - what a wonderful story. Thanks for that.




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