Today is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. For any of you who are not familiar with this poem, let me share it below. The author is unknown, but it was written in the 1980s as a way for the author (and so many of us) to help cope with the loss of a beloved family member. It goes like this:
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….
Though this poem ALWAYS brings tears to my eyes, I find it comforting. I like to think that when my time comes, I can be reunited with those pets who have been lost, and have meant so much to me. To be able to see Harley flying towards me, tongue flapping with a giant smile on his face, is such a comforting thought, and honestly is something that I truly hope happens.
So often people grieve the loss of a pet even more than a close family member – and I think many times people are afraid to admit this, or feel guilt about feeling that loss so strongly. I am here to say that it is ok. It is ok to be heartbroken from losing your furry companion. It is ok to cry more for your dog than you did your grandmother. It is ok to struggle to function right after you lose your kitty of 18 years. Our pets are sometimes our best friends – they see us through the highs and the lows, are there for every milestone and we spend more time with them than even our spouses at times! So it is only natural that we should grieve their loss so strongly.
Don’t be afraid to talk about it – I promise you, so many of us understand! And if you need more support, there are some really awesome online communities for pet loss support. Two great ones are www.petloss.com, and www.rainbowbridge.com, as a place to start.
So today – take a minute to remember those furry companions who have passed before us, and await us at the rainbow bridge. At Pennridge we like to take this day to remember our fearless feline, Betty White. She was a force to be reckoned with, and today is a day for us to remember her and send her and her sister, Estelle, some love. I’m sure those two old bitties are curled up somewhere soft and warm, taking a nap in the sunshine. Lots of love to those two ladies – and may you remember fondly your furry babies, and take comfort in knowing they are free, happy, and safe – until we meet again.