The Kentucky Derby – Contrasting Joy and Loss

The Kentucky Derby is an event that always gets me emotionally. Even if I know none of the back stories, even if the first time I see a horse is when its bursting from the gates, watching it push through to the finish line and then seeing the joy rushing out from its owners, its jockey, everyone involved with it to that point is simply overwhelming to me. A few tears always sneak out when I don’t expect it.

We were caught up in the celebration of Big Brown when we heard, like everyone watching, that Eight Belles, the horse that placed second, was down on the track. Instantly, our emotions were subdued. I felt guilty for being so pleased for one horse, when one seemed so seriously injured. Even if I didn’t find out until after the fact. How could we have not seen it?

Further reports confirmed Eight Belles was indeed injured. Two broken ankles. She was immediately euthanized. Holy sh*t. Shots of equestrian ambulances encircling Eight Belles were now interspersed with those of Rick Dutrow, Big Brown’s trainer jumping with glee, barely containing himself and his happiness.

Isn’t it crazy how so many emotions can occupy and be caused by one single point in time?

I think a lot of women who are trying to conceive are familiar with this polar tug. There always seems to be a friend or a family member who is pregnant, right when you should have been. There is always a child who is just about the same age of your child if only….

And you are joyful for your friend, your family member, and happy for their wonderful news. Because it is just that. An event that is worthy of celebration and love.

And at the same time, it is easy to become subdued if you start to think about the hopes and dreams you had vested into a child that you are not yet holding, or held for a bit but not long enough. There always seems to be someone celebrating while you are still trying to pick up the pieces and manage your loss.

So many emotions; One point in time.

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    • Mel

      What a perfect post–you summed it up perfectly.

    • Gabrielle

      Thanks Mel! I just read your BlogHer post on the topic of “happy for you, sad for me.” I’m including the link here – I think people would appreciate your advice on how to share good news while minimizing the hurt.

    • Lori

      It’s so strange to hold conflicting emotions at the same time.

      What an appropriate analogy, Gabrielle.