Maybe you don't know this about me, but I'm mad into horses. I started riding just two years ago at the ripe old age of 44, and I can't see anything but manes, tails and saddles anymore. Every free moment I have is pretty much spent at the barn with my half-blood arab/draft horse, Organdy.
Now, my husband, on the other hand, is not mad into horses. He puts up with them for my and my daughter's sake. He comes to her competitions, watches some of my lessons, video tapes things when asked, and so on. He never complains about the time we spend with our furry friends, and he even volunteers to shine boots when they get too dusty.
But one day earlier this year he announced his plans to join us in our horse-mad world and decided he was going to start taking lessons. I joined him, even though I've moved up in levels and he's just starting out. We rode Thursday evenings together in the little riding ring reserved for beginners.
In his very first lesson, our instructor asked him to canter the horse. That's not normal for beginners, but my husband was doing so well and is a fearless kind of guy, so what the hell. He did it. And he did well enough at it that our instructor had him do it in our second and third lessons too.
It's that third lesson that will go down in history as the very worst day in my married life.
It was the last minute of the lesson. Craig, my husband of 12 years and love for 16 years, was coming around the bend in the riding ring when he started to lose his balance in the saddle. The saddle slipped. He started yelling in fear. It spooked my gentle, sweet horse into running faster. The centrifugal force was too much for all the variables in that equation and my husband went down.
Now, had he gone down at any other spot in that riding ring, he would have been fine. He would have landed in soft sand and maybe along a flexible tape that marks the edges of the ring. But he didn't fall in any of those other places; he fell against the two wood bars that mark the entrance to the riding area, that are affixed by metal brackets to solid posts buried in the ground. His body slammed into them with absolutely nothing breaking that fall.
My husband suffered injuries very much like those suffered by people thrown from motorcycles. He broke his pelvis and an artery in his abdomen started to bleed. He couldn't stand or walk after.
We somehow managed to put him into my car, rather than an ambulance, because all of us present, including Craig, thought he probably just pulled a groin muscle and strained his back. That's what it felt like to him, and people have fallen off horses a hundred times there without so much as a limp after.
We went home and my husband tried to tough it out, but within a couple of hours,we knew this was no muscle pull or back strain. I brought him to the hospital and stood in the MRI booth while the scan went over his body and revealed how badly he was injured.
Craig is in the hospital now, and they cannot figure out where he's bleeding from. He can't move from his back, he can't sit up, he can't stand, he can't walk. Their first priority is to find that bleeding and make it stop. After that, we'll talk about him going into rehab to walk again.
My husband has only left my side in 16 years to visit family. Never have I ever been in a position where I couldn't call my husband in an emergency and say, “Please come home. I need you.” I'm there now, and let me tell you, it sucks. It's the worst feeling I've ever had. I don't like it one bit, and I hate the fact that I have no control over it. No matter how hard I work, no matter how much I beg, no matter what deal I'm willing to make, it won't change. He's hurt and he needs time to get better, and until that happens, we will be apart.
I tell you this for two reasons: (1) I want you to go to the people you love right now and tell them how much you appreciate having them in your life, because you never know when they won't be; and (2) I know a lot of my faithful readers are expecting a few books from me over the next couple months, and now that I'm going to be spending a lot of time at the hospital and at home picking up all the loose ends my husband regularly manages, those book releases will be delayed.
My publishing schedule will be updated very soon to reflect my new reality, and I want to thank you right here first for being so understanding, as I know you will be. You always are, and I'm so very lucky to have each of you in my life. Bear with me, and I promise, I will get those books to you as soon as possible!
Much love, and please be safe out there when you try your new hobbies. Remember: You must walk before you can run!