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The Passing of a Loved One

by Steve Branch

stevewbranch@gmail.com



As I look back on my 29 plus years in funeral service, I am reflecting on the one passing that grieved me the most.  It was not the passing of a family member or friend; it was the passing of my beloved animal companion, DeDee, short for Daddy's Lil' Darlin'.  After fifteen years together, she succumbed to old age and cancer.  She was the first miniature schnauzer we had adopted and was by far my heart.  Every step I made when I was at home, she made.  I know her hearing was going and her eyesight was failing, but I still was not ready to let her go.

 

My veterinarian had given me a poem at the passing of our first schnauzer, Shelby M'Lynn, that I didn't pay much attention to until now.  It was titled “Beyond the Rainbow.”  It begins with the animal companion speaking to the owner.  “As much as I loved the life we had and all the times we played, I was so very tired and know my time on earth was soon to fade.”


The poem goes on to talk about the many animals that were in this place beyond the rainbow that were healthy as can be, and how upon entering this place, their own tired and failing bodies were fresh and healed and new.  But, before they could join the others, they had to reach out to their grieving masters to tell them that they are all well and that this place is truly wonderful and beautiful, and that the pain of loss will go away.


As anyone who has ever enjoyed the companionship of a furry friend can attest, “...although we're not together in the way we used to be, we're still connected by a bond no eye can see.”


The words of this poem brought so much comfort to me and helped me to realize that her task on earth was done, and she now waits for me Beyond the Rainbow.


Beyond the Rainbow

Author unknown


        As much as I loved the life we had and all the times we played,

        I was so very tired and knew my time on earth was soon to fade.


        I saw a wondrous image of a place that's trouble-free

        Where all of us can meet again to spend eternity.


        I saw the most beautiful Rainbow, and on the other side

       Were meadows rich and beautiful  --  lush and green and wide!


        And running through the meadows as far as the eye could see

        Were animals of every sort as healthy as could be!


        My own tired, failing body was fresh and healed and new

        And I wanted to go run with them, but I had something left to do.


        I needed to reach out to you, to tell you that I'm well,

        That this place is truly wonderful, a happy place to dwell.


        That your heart shouldn't ache so, …the pain should go away

        I'll wait for you in comfort 'til you come for me some day.


        That although we're not together in the way we used to be,

        We're still connected by a bond no eye can ever see.


        That when you need to find me, we're never far apart

        Just look beyond the Rainbow and listen with your heart.


Those looking for comfort after the loss of an animal friend might also appreciate the following:

Rainbow Bridge

Author unknown

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….

enough