A local stable burnt down last week. Now as I drive past the ashes where the barn once stood, I see the surviving horses milling around their paddocks...looking slightly lost.
When I read an article in the local paper about the event, I could imagine the throat choking smoke, the flames licking the sky, the sounds of crashing timbers and sirens. I thought of the horses wild and wide eyed screaming their fear into the night. I imagine how terrifying it must have been for them as something so new, fearful and unexpected happened to and around them.
It made me think of Jeff and his last moments of life.
It brought me back, yet again, to the moment of his death. His wide eyes. The shock and fear exposed within. My screaming. The confusion and the finality.
I imagine what he must have felt like. I torture myself with the question of whether he felt comfort in the fact that I was there and trying to save his life. I worry over whether his death was physically painful and just how much pain was felt - tooth ache amount? giving birth amount? Did he lose consciousness with a floaty cottonwool head comfort that I have experienced when passing out after exposure to too-graphic surgeries on television?
It makes my heart race and my stomach contract every time I remember these surprisingly short last minutes with him. It seems that I use these trips back in time as a barometer with which I measure my pain threshold and my 'recovery'. Like checking if an element is still warm a few minutes after boiling a pot of water, I don't know that this practice serves any 'real' purpose...but I do it anyway.
Although the fire took hours to burn out, I do so hope that Jeff's fear and pain was short. And for me, I so hope that eventually every news story involving death does not bring me immediately to that place again.