One of Our Own

One of Our Own

I sat in bed this morning and cried over someone I have never met.

The world is full of things that I will never understand. I know what it’s like to look up into the dark ceiling of my bedroom and think, “There is no point to me being here anymore,” but I don’t know what it’s like to live with those kind of feelings constantly in your head. It’s a sort of loneliness I can’t comprehend, and it breaks my heart.

So now I mourn one of our own. I won’t pretend to be her best friend and I know there are others who will feel this loss more than myself, but I still feel it. Irene was a caring, smart and driven person. When she started blogging, I used to pore over each detail in every post. She got to experience a world of big name trainers and international jumper rings that I could only dream of, and I rooted for her with every show recap. One show in particular her horse was being a bit of a snot, and I think she fell off several times. I would have cried myself back home and given up, but she got back on to overcome and triumph. That’s the kind of person I knew her to be.

When Tim died, Irene reached out to me like many others did. We chatted more about life than horses, and it was then that I learned more about the depths of her struggles. Even chatting about things that were hard, she was always quick to say, “Oh but you have it worse than me!” All things are relative, and while I assured her that grief was grief regardless of the cause I wish now that I knew more.

I spoke to her on Saturday so I could get her address to send her a postcard. She seemed bright and hopeful, but this year has taught me that things aren’t always what they seem.

I feel the loss of this talented, young and kind person. I will miss her. I wish for her spirit to be surrounded with the calmest sense of safety and love. I wish her family strength and understanding for a situation that will never be fully understood.

There has been so much loss this year, and so much pain. The world is a tough, bastard of a place. Each and every one of us is going to reach a point where we think that we can’t possibly be kicked anymore while we’re down… and then we’ll get kicked again. There will be pain beyond the physical, and moments where you ache through your core and can’t do anything else but wish how could be different.

There is so much pain, but there is even more love.

No one knows what happens after we go, but it’s a topic I’ve thought about more than I probably should given my year. I believe there’s peace after death, and I believe there’s an end to the trouble that torments us on earth.

I also believe that this is it. When we die, we are gone in the way that we knew. I’ve felt Tim’s presence and I live in his memories daily, but it’s more like the familiar feeling of a comfortable memory than it is a conversation with a dear friend. We have one chance to see our friend’s smile. Feel the leaves crinkle under our feet. Hear a dog’s playful bark when their joy is bubbling out of them. Know the excitably anxiousness that comes with daring to do something we’re not sure we can achieve.

We have one chance. Cling to it.


19 thoughts on “One of Our Own

  1. Oh my god, how heartbreaking. I very much enjoyed her blog. This year has been especially hard for so many it seems.

  2. So very, very sad. Which blog was hers?

    I find that emotional investment, even in people we never (or rarely meet) does occur and doesn’t make the loss any less.


  3. I didn’t know her blog but went to the link to read about her ankle…if that didn’t heal well and she was dealing with constant pain, I can totally see how that would send someone over the edge, especially given some of the circumstances that happened around the same time as the ankle. What a horrible nightmare. My heart breaks into tiny pieces for her. The combination of physical pain + depression is unbearable. I know because I was there at this time last year myself.

    You wrote a wonderful tribute, Lauren.

    13 more days until this year is over.

  4. I found out about Irene’s passing on FB this morning and was shocked. Although I never met her in person, I felt as though I knew her through her blog and our communications through social media. She seemed to be such a fighter. I pray for her family. It’s heartbreaking

  5. Thank you for this tribute to a wonderful, intelligent, kind, and caring person. Along with the rest of you, I had never met Irene in person, but through an online horse game where she was always a great teammate as well as friend.

    I felt her loss deeply and I am so saddened by all she had to go through.

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