One year ago today I was already struggling a bit with life mentally. I had made it through the first year of Dads absence mainly on adrenaline and a bit of desperation. Although I had mourned the passing of my father, life had a way of somehow keeping it subdued by the things that were necessary to just keep carrying on. A physical move of family and belongings, just getting a handle on all the ranch things which was like picking up tiny pieces of broken glass helped to occupy much of my time and keep me from really losing it inside my balding, ok well bald head. Besides, I was a cowboy, I was a man, and I had a family and a mother to help care for, no time for hurting too much.
When the one year anniversary of Dads passing came that was when I really started to hurt. I finally had general life under control which gave me too much time to just miss him, which in turn made me hurt and fall into a depressed state like I had never seen in my lifetime. I was doing ok, but I was just keeping my head above water and really felt like I was going to overcome the grief, hurt, anger and fear that seemed to have caught me in their grasp. I was determined to win this battle; I had seen the highs and lows of life before. In my mind I had this under control, in my mind this was just a temporary setback and I was right on the cusp of “snapping out” of it. When I got the news of Eric and Kurts passing that June evening I snapped alright.
For the next several days I walked around in a fog. How could this even be possible? I had only met Kurt once but had gotten to know Eric through his kid’s participation in the fair. What the hell kind of world is this when two salt of the earth, hard working men die in a tragic accident yet allows gang members, murderers and all manner of vile people to live on virtually unscathed? A great family had lost two sons, a woman had lost a husband and three young kids had lost a dad. I had 40 years to spend with my father. The oldest of these children had a measly 10 years with their dad. What kind of worthless, selfish monster was I for wanting more? How could I be sad considering the pain this family was experiencing? This just added to my general malaise and the next two and a half months were not pretty. I just kind of detached from any part of the world that I absolutely did not have to participate in. This post is getting long and rambling but if anyone is still reading there is a point.
My wife and kids helped me to realize that I was not “me”. When I sleep 12 hours in a 24 hour day it is not me. When I snap in anger at the most inane thing it is not me. When I do not even enjoy spending my day out in nature it is not me. I got the help I needed and I thank my family and God or whoever is out there for helping me get that help. I also want to thank the Harder brothers as well. You may be thinking holy cripes (as in Jesus Cripes) he must be off mentally. He just told us that their death put him over the edge, now he wants to thank them? Well if you have ever dealt with a mental health issue it makes total sense. Let me explain; at least explain from my perspective.
I know some of you may be thinking; oh man what a weakling, needing to take medication for a mental issue. Well go ahead, call me weak, call me soft, call me a 9U%%$ and give me your best shot. Just remember, I am pretty good size,I am pretty strong, and I might not be medicated at the appropriate level. Go ahead and try to make me cry because it might work. I might even laugh. I might even rip your testicles off and shove them up your butt too and laugh so hard it makes me cry, but go ahead it’s your call.
Eventually the loss that the Harder family, the community and the world has experienced helped me live a life that is more understanding to realizing just what a precious gift life really is . The loss of them and my father have shown me that everyday really is a gift to be cherished and embraced. When something does not go my way, when something is painful either physically or mentally, when life is lacking in perfection that is a time to rejoice in life. Life is not perfect; part of our time here is going to have a few bumps in the road. Make sure that you learn to savor the good moments as well as the bumps in the road. Remember that it is always possible that the top of that bump in life possibly may be your life’s
Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Bluish spring moth aka Lomographa semiclarata.
Today’s picture is of my daughter Dakota at her first fair with her first steer. We did not get this steer finished and he got a red ribbon in his market class. Dakota did however win Reserve Grand Champion in the novice showmanship class. On reflection that was perfect, the steer was tame, Dakota enjoyed her first year, I made it through the year without a heart attack and everyday that I see her I know that is a new gift of life. The Harder family is in our thoughts and prayers today.