down on the farm," so I was ready for another tale about swimming or crawfish or crafts. Not this time.
A horse had died at the farm.
She said all the counselors had gathered in the horse stale and made up a straw bed for the horse -- one of the older horses on the farm -- and the vet had come in the morning. The kids had all gathered around. Many kids cried.
My daughter said she went and hid out with a friend in a play structure and cried -- for a long time.
She seemed very calm as she explained this all to me, and I asked if she was OK. She said she was. I gave her a big hug, and told her it was OK to be sad.
Such a big thing to handle.
I spoke to the owner/manager of the farm, and she told me what happened.
Susie, a 32-year-old horse, was having trouble walking in the morning, and the horse staff noticed her belly looked bloated. They called in the vet, and he diagnosed a distended colon, and said there was nothing that could be done but ease her pain. As the horse continued to weaken, many farm kids, especially the girls who call themselves the "horse girls" (including my daughter), lined up to say goodbye to their beloved Susie. After the last kid patted her on the head, she collapsed, and the vet euthanized her.
The kids selected a burial location at the back of the farm. Today, the kids had an informal funeral for Susie, including a bag pipe rendition of Amazing Grace by one of the counselors, and a cement tile inscribed with "Susie" placed on the spot. It was made by one of the kids last night. Her stale is now decorated with pictures, flowers, and other tributes.
I'm starting to think that kids can grieve better than some adults.