Sunday, December 01, 2019

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy (revisited)

These cowboys are gone, but not forgotten

 by Julie Carter

I'm right up there with the rest of you - stumbling and bumbling through life the best way I know how and hoping to come out on the other end a better person with at a least a few credits to my name when the Book of Life is checked.

And just when I think I am occupying only a relatively small space in the universe and moving only the air I touch, I learn that absolutely isn't so.

I recently completed a series of "Empty Saddle" stories to honor members of the World Series Team Roping Association that threw their last loop this year - accidents or illness taking each of them without warning.

There are seven of them and not one of them have I ever met.

I'm not new to writing features about people, but in almost every case before, I sat down in front of them, heard them speak, saw them smile, and watched them as they recalled their lives. Often, I was in their home where their personalities resonated from every area of their "space."

This time it was a deeper, more personal "interview" in that I spoke only with the people that knew and loved them. Over the phone, with no face to go with the name that they heard when they answered the call, these bereaved wives, sons, daughters and friends gave me words to breathe life into a remembrance of each of their cowboys now gone. 

While grief was ever present in each of their voices, so was gratitude. 

Across the board, those left behind were excited that their loved ones were being remembered, being honored.

They were more than willing to share with the world what was wonderful, what was special, about the cowboy they continued to mourn.

And laugh. Each one of them could and did laugh about things they knew their respective cowboy would laugh about.

With emotions tempered by a little time along with some necessary acceptance, their sadness was blanketed with memories of happier times.

Age, marital status, geography, occupation and financials were not factors in the bottom line of loss. While a mother grieved over the loss of a young son in one way, the wife, sons and daughters of others found an equally overwhelming crevasse in their day-to-day lives.

From Canada to Arizona, California to Texas and Oklahoma; from ranch cowboy to ranch owner; from oil fields to Fortune 500 corporate offices  -- the loss of a cowboy who wore a grin as easily as he swung a rope, touched more lives than they ever knew.

Each one affected many, many people in their living and perhaps by divine ordinance, affected even more in their passing.

I am one of those. And, I, for one, am sad I never had the chance to meet each one of these cowboys in person.

Loss has a way of humbling us to a better appreciation for all that we do have. So I'll be a little more careful about appreciating those I do know and those I may meet, for one of us may not get another chance.

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