I believe in life after death.
When I turned 5 years old I met the most amazing man, Terry. It was my first time ever walking into the barn I now call home, Chestnut Ridge of Royalton. He came up to me, smiled, and brought me the first horse I was to ride, Joe. I remember him turning to his wife, Sue, and saying “you see that girl over there? She has the love and drive to go places in this sport. She’ll be something really special.” I never knew, but from the moment we developed a bond stronger than a father and a daughter. Just 2 and a half years ago my parents got divorced. My father decided that he was going to do everything in his power to hurt my mom, including hurting my brother and I. Terry took over the role of father for me, and he helped me through the worst of my days. I believe in life after death.
Not to long ago Terry died from colon cancer. He had fought off the cancer for a long and brutal 7 years. Through those 7 years, I watched him lose 95 pounds and lose function in his legs. He would sit on his tractor and watch the younger riders do something he loved and risked his whole life on, horseback riding. I remember sitting on my bed when my mom came in to tell me that he had died. It took a few minutes for the news to sink in, and when it did I just broke down sobbing, because I thought I had lost my best friend. I hadn’t because many people help to keep him alive. I believe in life after death.
I believe that everyone who set their eyes on this wonderful man, got a warming feeling in the pit of their stomach, and just knew they were looking at someone equivalent to a saint. He brought his horse, Abdullah, to the 1984 Olympics and world equestrian games, taking team silver, and two individual gold’s. Ever since then he has helped out the USEA (United States eventing association) in as many ways as he could. The USEA will keep Terry’s legend alive through a show called Ride for Roswell. It raises money for all those people who need help, just like Terry had. I believe in life after death.
Just a week before he died I was riding his horse, Charlie Brown, around the field. He stopped his tractor and watched us. My grandma walked up to him and he invited her to sit with him. She did. I looked over and they were hugging and he was sobbing. I rode over as fast as I could and I saw the biggest smile on his face. He told me that watching me ride Charlie was the most joy he had had in almost 4 years. He told me that no matter what happens to him he wants me to continue riding and to take care of his horses, I was like a daughter to him and he could never allow me to give up something I was so natural at, and that I loved so much. I vowed to him that I never would, and now I ride to keep memory alive. I believe in life after death.
I believe that Terry lives on in all the people he has met, and mostly all the horses at chestnut ridge. Because of Terry I believe in making sure to pick up the phone and say I miss you, I hope your feeling better and I love you, because you never when it might be the last conversation you may ever have with them. When ever I am on my horse, whether it’s practicing or at a show, I think of him and all he has done for me, how much I miss him, and how I ride in his memory. I miss him dearly, but I know that he is in a better place and is always with me in my heart. He is in the wind when my horse and when I gallop, he is the power under the horses pounding hooves, and he is the all the will I put into winning that gold medal or blue ribbon. I believe in life after death.
I believe that Terry will never truly die, not as long as I am alive, and not as long as horses exist on this earth. I believe in life after death.
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