Top 10 Things I Learned about Death and Dying

It’s been six months to the day since Maya died. She has given me the most thorough education on death and dying in horses. I had no idea what I was in for.
 
Here are the Top 10 Things she taught me about death and dying in horses:
 
1. I can be in pain and still be happy to be alive.
 
2. Just because I’m in pain does not mean I want to die.
 
3. No need to fix. After a horse has died, leave the body on the property for a couple days and allow access for the other herd members to do whatever they need to do. This will hugely benefit the natural grieving process for both the people and the animals.
 
4. Allow dying to happen on its own time frame. If a horse has not died yet, but is dying, support the dying process, but you do not need to expedite it. Why has an animal not died yet? You’ll have to ask them. They likely have unfinished business we are unaware of.
 
5. Just show up and be.
 
6. Educate yourself about what dying looks like. Then when you witness it, you’ll understand what is happening. When you understand, you can then be of service to the horse.
 
7. Massage, acupuncture points and Ttouch ear slides can be helpful. Massaging above the eyes can be helpful for managing pain holistically, even debilitating pain.
 
8. Aromatherapy with essential oils can be helpful. Lavender can have a calming effect. Frankincense can help with the transition process of dying. Flower essences on the tips of the ears is another helpful option.
 
9. Practice breathing, relaxing and feeling the ground. Practice allowing what is happening. If you believe in God, ask God to help you. You are holding space for a natural process. There is no need to fix it. This is the transition every being on earth will take at the end of their life. It is sacred, and every being’s process will be unique. By honoring their unique process, you are honoring them.
 
10. Find support ahead of time of people who share your views on death and dying, so when dying begins to take place, you will know who to call to support you in witnessing the dying process. You do not need to do this alone. Trust your instincts and your relationship with your horse, even if it differs from other people’s opinions. Give the best that you have. Nothing more and nothing less. This is love in action.
 
Thank you, Maya!

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