A Time of Remembrance
Sometimes I sit quietly after a long day and just think…. I let my mind meander and chase fleeting thoughts. I dive and soar through the recollections of moments. Some are sweet and joyful. They uplift me and make me feel as though I am really flying….I can almost feel the wind against my face. Others touch the places inside that are bruised and hurt. They’re the ones that spring up suddenly and with no warning; like a sharp turn on that tailwind I am riding. One night as I sat down for my journey, I never thought my wanderings would ever take me to the special place I saw.
As I glanced at the calendar, I couldn’t help but notice how quickly the year had passed. Being a methodical person, it was a natural course that I would take a quick look back and make a brief tally of my victories and losses this year. The losses came to mind first. Thinking about all we had been through, I suddenly had the inclination to reach down where Bailey always rested, and lay my hand on her head like I’ve done so many times before. She would lay quietly and sometimes, I think she actually took those little flights of fancy with me. I reached for her…..but tonight she wasn’t there. So this time, I made my journey alone….or did I?
Drifting down that misty road, I became aware of a familiar feeling…a feeling of being safe. I couldn’t see anyone there, but I knew Bailey was there; I could feel her. It was so natural to talk to her and tell her how much I’ve missed her. I asked her if she was ok…if she was happy. I expected this to be painful. Instead, it turned out to be a celebration of the love we share with our once in a lifetime companions. “I’m fine,” Bailey said, “really I am. We all are. Our days are filled with games, chasing squirrels, and anything else that comes along. I like the kittens and puppies best of all. They come here like little lost children but immediately catch sight of the Rainbow Bridge and all the bridgekeepers and their little hearts are light once more.” “Are you ever lonely or frightened?” I asked. “Who takes care of you if you are sick?” “Oh, we never get sick here. And there is never anything frightening. Sometimes we go to the Bridge and watch as moms and dads come to meet their bridgekids. It’s always such a wonderful thing. Each day brings another happy reunion and we celebrate together. We get visits every once in a while from humans who don’t have a bridgekid of their own but love animals; or from children who never had a chance to have pets. Those are my favorite visitors! At night we count stars and tell stories about our lives with you and the fun times we had.” Bailey’s voice conveyed such bliss, I felt happy for her.
Bailey continued, “Our visit will be over soon, but I want you to deliver this message to our humans back home. Please tell them that our happiness can only be complete if we can look down to them and see smiles on their faces when they think of us. Then, we will know they “understand”. I told Bailey that on this special day we can’t help but think of our bridgekids and miss them perhaps a little more. I told her how I wished she had had one more Merry Christmas… or Happy New Year. She replied, “We have very Merry Christmases here! All the children, puppies, cats, birds, dogs …. Just everybody who is not there with you is here with us! You know what? We even get to help make some of that holiday magic you feel. We are still with you if you will just see us.”
Suddenly, it became so clear to me. Finally I understood. They are now a part of that light from which all good things flow. They are the hush we hear in the night after a snowfall; the sweet scent after a summer storm. They are the beauty we see each Spring when the hills are bathes in hues of red, yellow and blue on a bed of green. They are the warmth we feel as the sun touches our skin. They are all things eternal. The coldest of Winters will give way to Spring which in turn will step aside as Summer awakens from her sleep. Now, they are part of this cycle once more.
My journey is coming to its conclusion as I feel the gentle, but steady pull of reality. The treasure I have brought back with me is one I share with you.
Now that I have revisited and given some closure to things in the past, it’s time to look forward to the future. Here’s hoping that peace, acceptance, and fond memories light our journey like little footlights in the dark. And when our final steps are taken, may we all rejoice in seeing our bridgekids as their turn comes to reunite amidst the cheers and tears of joy.
Photos of beloved furry friends shared with us.
A plaque shared by Willie’s parents.