my dad called with very sad news this evening. i can always tell when he calls to give me bad news: he starts his conversation with, “so how are you?”
i doubt he realizes that he does this, but he’s done it enough that i always know something’s up when he starts that way. i imagine i hear something in his tone, too, but really it’s that phrase. if he’s calling just to pick my brain about american idol or ask me for a quick favor, the phone call starts very differently. i find it kind of interesting that he uses such an innocuous phrase but that i always interpret it as, “he’s about to tell me something Not Good.”
so anyway, my dad called tonight and asked me how i’m doing, and i said, very guardedly, “oh, okay…” and waited for the fallout. i didn’t have to wait long. he said, “well, unfortunately i’m calling with some pretty bad news,” and then he proceeded to tell me about the incredibly sad afternoon that he and my stepmom spent saying goodbye to her horse, darouk. i just mentioned him last month, so you might remember that he was getting to be an older guy (37!), but until very recently he was in pretty great health.
apparently this morning he was lying down in his stall, and couldn’t get up. he had fallen twice in the past month or two (slippery pasture), and had a rough time getting up, but he recovered both times and was doing okay. as soon as my parents got the call today that he wasn’t getting up, they both left work immediately (after calling the vet) and went right to the barn. they tried to help in several different ways, but he just couldn’t get up. after a lot of crying (both my parents and the vet, who has known darouk as long as my stepmom has), they finally decided it was time to let him go. it was not an easy decision by any means: my stepmom adopted darouk when he was only a year or two old (and she was only about 19 i think!), so this is a very special relationship that has lasted her entire adult life. i just can’t even imagine how she must have felt today. i started crying as soon as my dad told me, and i kept that up for awhile. i’m so sad. poor old boy.
my earliest memory of my stepmom was the day i met darouk. i was 7 years old, i think, maybe 8. my dad wasn’t even officially dating her yet (we’ll leave those details to the mists of time, but let’s just say my parents were still married then), but he finagled us a play date because i loved horses so much. she was a total sweetheart to me, and so excited to show him off. i almost don’t know how to think about her without darouk in the picture somewhere. i can’t believe he’s gone.