BEREAVEMENT

Up Kitty

No heaven will ever a Heaven be
Unless my cats are there to welcome me

-Unknown-

The death of a beloved pet is traumatic. Only those who have suffered such a loss can truly know the heartache and pain it produces. Over the years many poets and authors have tried to put into words the feelings in our hearts when we are forced to say that last goodbye. Following are some of the best I have found in my journeys around the various nets.

Many years ago, when we had to say that last goodbye to our 13 year old Siberian Husky, Misha, a kind soul (whose name I have long since forgotten, much to my chagrin) sent us "Rainbow Bridge". It helped more than I can say. I offer it as a starting point for the road through bereavement.

... The saddest sound in the universe... is the last heartbeat ...






Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to some-
one here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows
and hills for all 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 have 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 begins to quiver. 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...

-- Anon. --



Little Cat (To Marmie)

[January 1976 - December 4, 1993]

I said goodbye to you today, little cat.
Fingers caught on bones when I stroked your fur.
You could scarcely raise your head to drink,
yet still you calmed me with your purr.

Were you comfortable curled on the rug?
And did you know your time drew near?
Your wide green eyes held gentle love,
and quiet pain, but showed no fear.

You slipped away so quietly
that we weren't sure that you were gone.
Our bouncy little cat is stilled
but your spirit lingers on.

Little ghostcat, where are you?
Are you happy, are you strong?
I feel your warmth, your life, your love
and still can hear your purring song.

Copyright ©1993, MJ Falango



Grieve not,
nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk of me
as if I were beside you...
I loved you so -----
'twas Heaven here with you.

Isla Paschal Richardson



What Do You Do When A Good Friend Dies?

What do you do when a good friend dies?
Do you lash out in anger and curse at the sky.
Or grasp hard denial, the means of the weak,
In an effort to kindle the comfort you seek.
What do you do when a good friend dies?
Once life's breath, so precious, gives the chest final rise.
In haste you take blame, no other at fault,
You kneel upturned earth and deem all happiness to halt.
What do you do when a good friend dies?
When with him the times, both good and bad, lie.
Do you cast aside the past, for memories hurt much too much,
Or struggle and fight for that last lingering touch.
What do you do when a good friend dies?
When all of the tears have all but been cried.
No matter how much, no matter how hard you try,
The only thing to do is say farewell.
Goodbye.

On Monday, January 1, 1996, Tribble "Tribby-Dog" Cohn lost a short, but
hard- fought battle against the odds. He was deeply loved, and will be
greatly missed. For the past 12+ years, he was a great cat and a good
friend. Perhaps the best anyone could ever hope to have.

Copyright ©1996, Marc-David Cohn





Pushkin


In a cage at the uptown ASPCA
he left his musky scent on my hands,
and locked his yellow-green eyes
on those of a woman in a blue smock
who said he was strange, and when I took
him downtown on the Second Avenue bus
he forced his head through the cardboard box
and looked like a just-hatched bird
making everyone laugh, and when I first
offered him food he ate growling
under his breath, and from the beginning
he came running to me when I said
his new name Pushkin, as if he knew
he had the spirit of the dead poet within him.
And I have always loved
how dense and black his top coat is,
how white fur hikes up his front legs
like thick storm boots, how he still
has not grown into his huge paws,
how in cold weather he naps on
my flannel nightgowns, or lies across
vents of the radiator so that only he
feels the heat, and in warm weather
fills my small bathtub with his long body,
and when he doesn't like his food
he scrapes his paws across the kitchen walls,
and as he gets older his white stomach falls
like a loose purse between his legs.
When he is sleeping an old soul's smile
forms on his mouth, and each morning
at 6:45 he stands over me pushing his face
against my ear and he is always stalking
shadows at the door when I come home,
and when I write he sits in the middle
of my lined papers and rubs his black
and white face against my pen,
and on sad days when I feel stuck inside
I can not resist him,
and I let him be my poem.

Copyright ©1994 Penny Cagan




Untitled

Hand holds down,
Strokes grey white fur- for a moment.
Cat eyes look forward. Gurgled sigh seeps from throat.
Steel table glistens. Other hand inserts needle.
Head turns up. Head drops.
No more sigh.

Spirit detaches from body of
Proud and gentle cat,
Rises and rests,
Hovers over form of previous shape,
Then gathers in twirl of kitten dance chasing tail.
Free now!
Floats up to ceiling, then out to sky,
Hovers,
Floats higher, higher and
Gathers speed,
Leas into layers of Goodspirits covering earth.
Astro be with you!

Susan L. Sellingsloh, Austin, TX 2/94
From Humane Society of Austin & Travis County
BR>



For Cleo

My heart is in the frost, little one, for thou hast left me,
and gone to the land where walks already thy mother and all thy kin.
Thou hast left me alone to mourn thee, my little girl,
and I will not be comforted.

Six short years thou dwelt with me, and I loved thee always,
I knew no other like unto thee - forever will thy place be empty.
Forever wilt thy presence be missed, and always will there be sadness
when thoughts of our loss do come.
I have seen thee, my little one, in a dream;
Thou wast in a place I knew not; a field, with golden grass -
Thou looked at me, thy eyes bright, thy face happy, but asking
"Why dost thou not follow me?"
Thou disappeared into the grass, and I have seen thee not again.
Forgive me, little one, for thy last hours, that I was not there -
Forgive me that you met death in the arms of strangers.
That grieveth me so I cannot tell thee, but I could not do otherwise -
Know that had I believed you that close I would have been with thee.

Thou wast with me during the times that tried heart and soul,
but thou didst not live to see the sun rise upon us.
Would that you could be with us now that the tide has finally turned!
I miss thee with each day, and look to your haunts, and hope to find you.

Old age will finally dim both sight and mind,
but memory of thee will last throughout -
I pray God of His infinite mercies to let me see you again
when it is my turn to cross the border.

Oh, how I hope that thou woke to find thyself with the Maker!
I hope that now He rubs your soft ears as I used to do!
I pray that one day we shall be together again
If it is His will.

Then know, my beloved,that truly thou wilt not be forgotten -
Truly, you live on in heart and mind.
Thy tiny body wilt be buried in the plot where we shall one day rest
In the hope that on a brighter day we will all be together again forever.

Richard.Eikenburg@f48.n382.z1.fidonet.org




Pets

I saw Mopsy and Lucy last night,
they died earlier this year. They
were healthier than I had last remembered,
their black fur unmatted, their tails in furious
swishes, their paws scratching at my legs. Jason the
Russian Blue sauntered out then, ignoring the dogs he'd
never met, offered his courtly head for a rub, his limbs
no longer arthritic. Mopsy and Lucy distracted themselves
into one of their infamous growl-yip playfights, leaving room
for Pity, the mysterious white cat from Jason's era, to pass by
to the kitchen. Vickie the beagle, a real old-timer, galloped in
next, her eyes afire like she'd seen a rabbit, running towards me
the way she used to tease us at the bus stop. Jason tapped her nose
with a paw and she veered off under the library table. A good
thing, too, for Bub the Great Pyrenees, the great white dog
who had to stay outside on a run most of his life, rumbled
in, his old pal Gabby Whiskers the miniature schnauzer
nipping at his heels like always. They disappeared
into the hallway. Finally, Butters, the butter-
colored tabby, jumped up on a nearby chair and
lovingly butted my head with his. It was so
good to see him spry and limber, his leg no
longer broken and twisted from that unseen
car, his eyes squinted in the pleasure of
touch, not the agony of evisceration.
I rubbed his back and felt it arch
and then he leapt away and went
off on some mission behind the
sofa. And before the petless
room winked out, I knew that
all my old friends, so new
and perfectly-remembered
here, were no longer
dead, but only
hiding.

denelsbe@cs.unc.edu (Kevin Denelsbeck)




The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passsion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--
But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long--
So why in--Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Rudyard Kipling




I know your heavy heart is sad,
within your eye a bitter tear.
As you remember all you had
with one you once had held so dear.

This too shall pass, the Proverbs say,
and that old sun will shine again.
Before you know, there'll come a day
when you can smile and tears will end.

I know it hurts right now,
but just hang on.
With time, the day will come
the pain is gone.
If you let it hold you down,
you'll never last.
If you just hang on a while,
the pain will pass.

I know you're feelin' all you've lost,
but just remember all you've gained.
And as your heart is torn and tossed,
a little time will ease the pain.

I know you're feelin' all alone.
The footprints stopped upon the sand.
Remember there is always one
who will be there to lend a hand.

I know it hurts right now,
but just hang on.
With time, the day will come
the pain is gone.
If you let it keep you down,
you'll never last.
If you just hang on a while,
the pain will pass.

Copyright ©1994 William E. (Ed) Miller 05-23



IF I SHOULD GROW FRAIL

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
for this - the last battle -can't be won.

You will be sad I understand
But don't let grief then stay your hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.

Take me to where my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.

Don't grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We've been so close - we two -these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

(author unknown)



For additional help with dealing with the death of a beloved pet please see Marc-David Cohn's Pet Loss Page