My parents and I bid farewell to the cattle ranch they owned for 55 years. It’s been 19 days now, and I can write to you from a place of acceptance. If I’d have sat down and wrote to you about 35-40 days ago, it would have been nothing but heartache.

It is the land that I miss the most. As an only child, the land kept me company. It was a place where I found solace. It was my dear friend. Though I moved away years ago, I still never thought I’d be saying goodbye to the place where I lost my first tooth; the gravel driveway where I learned to ride a bike; the pasture where I spent so much time hanging out with my horses. In my mind’s eye, I see so many outdoor country barbecues with my parents, relatives, and close friends, all laughing, enjoying delicious food, and staying connected. I can picture my folks working hard on the ranch from sun up to sundown and many other treasured moments. It’s been quite an emotional ride letting go.

The day after close of escrow was Former First Lady Barbara Bush’s funeral. Along with many other admirers, I watched the funeral service on TV. The tributes were beautifully written and touching. One commentator said something that caused me to turn the corner in my grief over the sale of the ranch. He said,Every great story has an ending.” Wow! Absolutely! Why shouldn’t my folks sell the ranch and enjoy the fruits of their labor? They are active and should go places and do whatever they want without the demands of ranch life. The sand in the hourglass continues to trickle…our days aren’t promised. Life is to be lived!

Although the chapter of our family ranch has ended, there’s an item which I believe is still with me for a reason. I am not entirely sure how its story will end, but it’s not over yet. While things at the ranch were being sold or donated, there was much discussion about selling the horse trailer that my parents bought 25 years ago. I had such a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about being without it. We had gotten the horse trailer when I reunited with my beloved Freedom. When I see that trailer, I see my Freedom. I never wanted to let it go, and I thank God that no one showed interest.

I ended up finding a boarding stable near my home to store the trailer, and my dad helped me haul the trailer those 160 miles to its new location. This amazing stable has cameras in the stalls, and you can view your horse on your smartphone 24/7! Man, have times changed!

I knew the instant that I stepped foot on the stable grounds, that this move was right. When I walked through the stalls, visiting with the horses, and then coming face to face with a huge mirrored dressage arena, I felt ALIVE! I couldn’t get over the peace that came over me. I was back with my first love!

I had bargained with myself during the sale of the horse trailer discussions whether or not I was “too old” to have another horse. Freedom has been gone ten years and I began to accept the fact that he will probably be my last special horse.

But, horses are in my blood! That’s undeniable. Now, I think differently. I believe that another horse IS in my future! Since I’m an animal rescue advocate, I feel it will be a horse with a story. A soul in need of a forever home. God will send me an equine angel who needs love, because after all, I’ve still got the trailer.

Denise Lee Branco

May 9, 2018