Friday, May 14, 2010


The one who asks, will always receive; the one who is searching will always find, and the door is opened to the person who knocks.—Luke 11:10

Alright, alright, I can see I have to get this show on the road and tell you what happened.

Mr. Hart gave me the horse. That’s right. Gave him to me. For nothing. A ten thousand dollar horse. Who does that? Yeah, people give horses away. I have given horses away. But it’s usually because they have a problem or the owner has a problem. Not for no reason. Old horses. Rescue horses. Rogue horses. Not valuable horses who would incite a bidding war if put up for auction. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like God was giving me this horse because of everything I’d been through and now this, the worst of all, with my mother. Not that any horse could take the place of my mother. I would go out there and shoot them all in the heads myself if it would bring my mother back for just one hour.

But the joy I felt… How can you feel such joy and sadness at the same time? The joy doesn’t take the sadness away, but it lessens the load a little. It gives you a rest from the sadness. And not just because I got the horse and could have fun with him. Yes, there is great joy in that. But also because someone, some stranger, could be this kind. The idea of it! How could a stranger be this kind? Every time I thought about what this man was doing for me, my heart welled up.

The timing couldn’t have been better. When Mr. Hart told me to come and get the horse, I happened to be planning to go and visit my mother but was considering postponing it because I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to drive that far by myself. No biggie. I’d been back and forth to Jersey a number of times since she got sick. I could wait another week or two to go up there. But I was afraid Mr. Hart was going to change his mind and not give me the horse. People at the stable, his friends, people who knew Lowdown, were up-in-arms that he refused to sell him to them and I was scared they would work on him and get him to change his mind before I got there. So I went right away, driving ten hours by myself pulling the horse trailer, sick as a dog, with irritable bladder and an inability to back up and therefore terrible anxiety about getting myself into a predicament where I would need to. It wasn’t pretty.

Oh! If I would have waited one more week to go up there it would have been too late! All these years trying to find the horse, crying over him, and his owner tells me to come and get him during the last week my mother had any lucidity. If I would have waited one week longer, just one week, she would have never known I was there. But she knew. I stared into the bluest, saddest eyes I had ever seen, took her beautiful face in my hands and she said my name.

“Debi, Debi, I love you so much.”

“I love you too Ma. I’m here.”

I sang to her. I sang a song she used to sing to my daughters. “You Are My Sunshine.” I sang it softly and didn’t care if the nurses could hear and didn’t know if she could hear, even though her eyes were open. She was in such agony… When I stopped, there was silence. And then she said, amazed, “You hear that?” Like she couldn’t believe it. Like it was an apparition.

And she cried to me. Oh, the suffering! If only we knew what she was going to go through… It is barbaric. It is unbearable when I think about it. You know what, I can’t even talk about it now. I am too sad. I often have to distract myself or else I can’t take it.

So let me get on to something good.

I was surprised when Mr. Hart didn’t ask me to sign anything when I took the horse. No contract to return him if I didn’t want him anymore, no agreement to keep him forever, no promise to send money if I ever hit the lottery. Nothing. Nada. He gave him to me free and clear. I didn’t expect to get the registration papers. But he gave me those too. I recognized Lowdown’s baby picture stapled to the top of the document a little dog-eared around the corners now but just as cute as ever. I figured, well, he won’t include the transfer report. If he includes the transfer report, I can reregister Lowdown in my name and if I was a bad person, I could turn right around and sell him.

When I got home and was going through all the paperwork, I saw that I was right. No transfer report. But that was because I didn’t need one. The registration papers were still in my name! There it was—Owner: Debra Van Cleave! Mr. Hart never changed him over! All these years he was still mine in my heart—I had no idea he was still mine on the papers too.

What amazes me is that Mr. Hart completely trusts me. He doesn’t even know me and yet somehow he can tell what kind of person I am. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because when I sold him Lowdown seven years ago, I attached a note to his papers saying that if he was ever three-legged lame or old and broken-down and unwanted, please don’t send him to the sale—he would always have a home with me. Maybe it is because I tried to keep in touch with them from the beginning. Or maybe God whispered in his ear. I don’t know.

What I do know is when I look at that horse out there now, I think of my mother. And I feel good.

It has become clear.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I can't tell you how happy I am to hear this story of you and Lowdown. I'm so happy for you both that you are together again. Things work in mysterious ways sometimes, this was just meant to be. Mr. Hart sounds like a wonderful man who cared about this horse and knew you would give him the best home with the love and care he deserves. Have a wonderful time with him and let him help you with your grief.

Claudia Condiff said...

Debi, I could read this post again and again and each time I hear it, I tear up.
Lowdown never left your heart, and neither will your Mom....and just like your horse, you will see your Mom again...not in this lifetime maybe, but someday, and she will be more pain...
...isn't Karma a wonderful thing?

Tammy said...

Debi - I am so happy for you. Your story broke my heart and made me smile - I can only imagine your emotions.

Yes, Chosen by a Horse may be the book for your to read right now. I think we all are at times... as I read your story, I remembered something... my mom died in March 2005. I was riding a horse I really didn't like... searching for something else. Two months later, I broke my ankle one day & the next, lost a gelding in a pasture accident & leased out the horse I was riding & didn't care. Then, like your story, out of the blue, a friend who had bought my Windy as a baby called and gave me first opportunity to buy her back. I jumped at the chance. The story is on my blog (I'll post a link below), so won't go into all that now - but what a coincidence that God brought both of our horses back to us when we had lost so much. We are truly blessed.

Anxious to hear new stories of you & Lowdown. Take care, Debi.

Christina said...

Your mother sent you the horse. She was making arrangments before she crossed over it seems. I am glad you get some comfort from it. We never get over this stuff, just learn to live with it.

On your bunny question: Yes, they must be introduced slowly. Some will fight instantly and violently, some will avoid each other and some will be fast friends. Once you have a bonded group they should never be broken up unless one goes to the bridge. They are as devoted and loving to their bondmates as you have ever seen. When Stewart passed Nemo stayed under the bed with him, nudging him and licking him to wake him up. He looked for him for weeks after he died.

Rural Rambler said...

Debi I am so moved by this that I can't find words. Your Mom and her pain at the end, I know. My Mom, thinking back breaks my heart and you know it's been a long time. You are so right Lowdown is a gift in so many ways and from above. I think Christina is right, your Mom was working it all out before she left you. She was taking care of you. Gosh you are on my mind Debi. Take care and go throw your arms around Lowdown's neck.

Cynda said...

What a blessing you have received! The Good Lord is right by your side, as is your mother and I agree you were given that horse to help ease the pain. This wonderful story just tickled me so much I am sitting here with a big smile ear to ear. I can't wait to hear many more happy stories about you riding him.

Cape Coop said...

Life is a rich and varied tumble, isn't it.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Claudia, I like that--just like my horse, I will see my mom again.

I know everyone, isn't it a miracle?! I still can't believe my eyes when I look out there and there he is just like I pressed the "pause" button, seven years passed, then I pressed "play". That's how my daughter Jamie described it. The whole thing has renewed my faith and that's what gives me comfort. I always worried there was nothing after we died. Now, too many things, too many signs and miracles have happened. There is even more that I will write about. I am just so grateful I have been given this gift to help ease my pain.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't find your e-mail address anywhere in my archives or on your profile page soooo....

Our Wal-Mart here has LOTS of lampshades. Do you have a Target store near you?


Gilly said...

Debi, that is just so wonderful! I had tears in my eyes as I read it. I don't really know you, but I read all your posts and feel as if I do! I am so pleased for you. God has really blessed you.

Enjoy and love your horse . He is yours and is meant for you. Praise God for his goodness and also that lovely man.

CountryDew said...

What a gift. I hope you find great comfort in this animal and in the gesture. Not many people are that generous.

Beth said...

Such a wonderful story, Debi! I'm so happy for you. I do believe that God was sending you a message that He loves you, and He wants you to know now that your Mom is resting in His care. And one of the ways He shows us His love is through the love and kindness of other people. I have seen over and over clear signs that God is working in my life and in my children's lives. I think those signs are always there---but sometimes we don't see them. said...

I know what you mean about being overwhelmed by the kindness of others. Isn't it amazing to have such sweetness to temper the pain. I am THRILLED for you.

sweetflutterbys3 said...

Oh Debi, I cried while I read your story. This is one of those stories that you read and it sticks in your mind the rest of your life.

I have no doubt God took care of you in your time of deep sorrow. He sent you the one gift He knew could help soothe your broken heart. I can't help thinking Lowdown is blessed as well to be back with you. What a lucky horse.

What a kind man Mr. Hart is. All those years, without you knowing, he kept Lowdown for you. Not many people would do that and not want credit for it. I hope what he did for you comes back to him many times over.

qhgirl said...

Wow... this was just incredible.

I have been reading your posts about your mother. I have been dealing with my mother slowly slipping away due to dementia and strokes for about 5 years now.

My mother was an independant woman who actually failed the secretary school exam on purpose.. just so her father would send her to college (Radcliff to be more precise.. now you get a Harvard diploma when you go there!).

She passed away in her sleep on Mother's Day this year. I heard the news as we prepared to go visit her!

No horse is a consolation prize for such a loss.. but you can certainly see her hand in it.

Jocelyn said...

that is so awesome!
What a fabulous story, not like mine and Stars but close!

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I am so glad that you got Lowdown back. There are special forces looking out for you.

Sloan said...

That should be in a book Debi. That's what's clear about this whole thing. It is an amazing story and I really enjoyed reading it. It brought tears to my eyes.

Becky Mushko said...

Love a happy ending!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry over the loss of your mother but I can see how she has touched you deeply and now you are touching others with your stories. I've just spent two days reading and I am in awe over the beautiful and funny stories you have told. I am cannot wait to read more.


Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Qhgirl, thanks for the comment. I am sorry you lost your mother too. On Mother's Day, no less. But thankfully, at least, it was in here sleep. No matter how it happens, or how old they are, it is heartbreaking to lose your mother.

I tried going to your blog but it didn't work. Do you have a blog?