“Ouma, he always came to greet me. He knew me! Now I will never see him again!” her voice broke into a loud sob. Torrents of tears were streaming down her face. Her sky blue eyes were filled with deep sadness. This was her second encounter with death.
A few months prior, her great grandmother had died. She dealt with it in an understanding way. Ouma Gran was old and bedridden for a while. Her death was more or less expected. What she was dealing with now, was completely different. He was her friend. His deep voice would ring across the paddock, even after dark, with her lying in her bed to go to sleep. She would leap from her bed and call to him through the window, ensuring that he knew she had heard him. Their bond was deep and enduring. Not a day went past without them meeting at some stage to exchange large brown eyes looking into her sky blue eyes. His huge head would lean across the fence to eat kitchen scraps of pineapple and paw-paw from her fingers!
This time death has come right into her secure and sacred space. And, how sudden it had come. A few Saturdays ago, on a visit to the farm, I watched her as she ran light-footed down the steep incline to the stables. Her long blonde hair bobbing on her slender shoulders. “I’ll give it to him!” she happily said to her mother. “Ouma, he knows it is Saturday! Then he gets his treats of apples and mealies and carrots! He just loves it.” she laughed.
I watched as she confidently walked in front of him, with red apples in her hands, into his stable, putting it into his feeding trough. He followed closely, too closely for an Ouma’s peace of mind! He was big and powerful, yet gentle and considerate around the frail, slim form of his beloved mistress. She was talking to him constantly, reassuring that more treats were on the way! He munched with gusto, his large teeth making small change out of the mealie cobs. His friendly eyes, bright and large brown, followed every move she made.