Five years ago today, my mother passed away suddenly in her sleep. It left me numb. The call came at 7:30 a.m. from my Uncle, “Terry, you’re mother’s dead.”
Stunned, the first thing that came into my head in response was, you’re kidding, right? But somehow I still had enough of my wits about me to realize my Mom’s brother, prankster that he is, would never fathom saying such a thing to me if it weren’t true. The only comment I could muster was, “I’ll call you back in a few hours.”
I was so dumbstruck I continued to get ready for a sales call. Can you believe it? I put on my suit, drove to my appointment, met with my prospect, and closed the deal. I slumped back to my car and called my uncle to let him know I’d be traveling to Florida the next day to begin dealing with the details that we all must painfully face at some point in our lives. I drove from Asheville, NC to Florida the next morning in one twelve hour shot, and began to untangle all that had suddenly imploded in my world.
As self indulgent as it sounds, I felt orphaned in my mid-forties. As an only child, my Mom and I had lost my father some eight years earlier. He passed on a mere two months after working for Polaroid Corporation for thirty years. He had worked since he was thirteen when he was abandoned by his mother, survived on his own, served in the Navy, put himself through college and went on to create a stable and loving home for my mother and me.
As I began the hollow process of cleaning out my mother’s closets, I could only find the energy to make one trip a day to Goodwill. It was exhausting. I would just sit, unable to think, unable to move, unable to even find the tears that I knew would be so releasing. This went on for two weeks, and I finally made my way back to Asheville, the details put to rest, but not the painful emptiness that had created a vacuum in my heart.
After several weeks of sleepwalking through my life I finally had that cathartic cry. Summer came, and I brought my Mom home to New Hampshire for internment. I drifted down the Eastern Seaboard, heading for home. During this meandering journey, I finally began to write again, as my pen had grown as dry as my heart. Slowly I began to come around, and then I met Sarah, the love of my life, and the woman that brought me to horses.
Sarah and I were dating, and I was looking for a nice little gift for her, and I recalled seeing a book in New World Library’s catalogue. I had just started writing my first book, and had ordered some research materials from the publisher, and along with the shipment came the catalogue. The book was called “Riding Between The Worlds”, by Linda Kohanov. I went to the New World website to order it and read an interview with Linda about Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning and what she called The Epona Approach™. Something awoke inside me, and I was compelled to apply for the Professional and Life Coaching Through The Way Of The Horse program. So off I went, with little to no horse experience or knowledge, into this strange new world.
At Epona I found my bliss. My classmates would smile and laugh every time they saw me, as I was beaming, ear-to-ear, every waking moment of the day. An energy that was not my own was flowing through me. It was as if, as Joseph Campbell so beautifully said, I was on my way to becoming transparent to the transcendent. The horses changed my life, and in particular, a majestic Percheron named Kairos. I went on to become an Approved Epona Instructor, and have found the trajectory of my life bringing me deeper and closer to my authentic self, deeper into my bliss, and living with purpose and a wondrous trust in the power of Consciousness.
To say the horses changed my life is a disservice; they saved my life. They saved me from living an empty corporate existence. They awoke my mind, heart and spirit and have brought a sense of peace, grace, and wisdom into my life. I’ve never been happier, with my beautiful wife Sarah working by my side, as we travel the country sharing what we’ve learned from these remarkable, sentient beings.
Happy Valentines Day, Mom…I know you are at peace with Dad, as I am too, walking hand-in-hand with Sarah upon the hoof worn path.
© 2012, Terry Murray.