Yesterday, my mother was kind enough to pick up Sugar's ashes and bring them by our place. Along with the cherry wood box was a card and a clay heart with Sugar's paw print. The card was a sympathy card that came with a poem on the front. The Poem was titled "Rainbow Bridge". I pulled it closer and read it aloud to my friend.
By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over...together.
For an unknown reason when I got to the penultimate stanza, my voice wavered and the last sentence broke me completely. My dam of emotions didn't burst, but a crack formed causing my tears to begin trickling. Was it for Sugar and the other animals of my past that have passed on? Was it for my dachshund at my father's place that has maybe ten more years before he goes to wait at Rainbow Bridge? I don't know. All I know is a simple poem written by an author no one can pinpoint came through my defenses and unlocked whatever emotion I still had clamped. I haven't cried since but those few tears took something.
Perhaps it's the idea of a pet having a soul and going to heaven that touched me. A lot of people believe that animals don't have souls and cease to exist after death. I'm not so sure. Every time I look into the eyes of my Snoopy, I see something pure, something that belies the theory that my five year old dachshund doesn't have a soul. While Rainbow Bridge is merely the imaginings of a good poet, Heaven is very much real. Therefore the possibility that our departed companions have a place there, just as we have a place there. I can hope and I will hope that it is true.