From My Window
The Rainbow Bridge and Dad
By Jane Thibodeau Martin
Wednesday, Nov. 2nd is observed as "All Soul's Day" by many Christians. In the Methodist faith, the day is celebrated with a special remembrance of the saints, besides remembering all deceased family members. In Catholic churches the two observations (All Saints and All Souls) follow each other on two separate dates. There are variations for other faiths including Anglicans, and for Byzantine and Greek Orthodox churches. But most of the Christian faiths include a special church date and service, set aside to remember and honor the dead.
It is appropriate for me to pause thoughtfully this year for this observation at my church, since my father died last November. Of course our family remembers him daily, but he's on my mind more than usual right now, and that led me to think about the Rainbow Bridge.
The Rainbow Bridge is a famous short essay, giving a reassuring vision to bereaved animal owners who must say goodbye to a beloved friend; whether dog, cat, horse, rabbit or any other animal. In it, there is a vision of a place for our animal friends to go to when they die, where they are no longer hurt, lost, sick or old. They play on green grass with other animal friends, and they are never hungry, cold or tired.
But after some amount of time, eventually each one will catch sight of someone approaching them, and they rush to greet a beloved, special human companion, passing through on their way to heaven. The human and animal friends are reunited, and "then they cross the Rainbow Bridge together." Such a wonderful and comforting vision, and for many of us, it is an accepted fact that our creator takes care of his animal creations, each one unique and special, just like he cares for each of us. (If you have ever loved an animal, and you haven't read the Rainbow Bridge, google it and be prepared to be weepy.)
But I fear my father may not yet have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, although he's been gone almost a year. In fact, the thought of it makes me smile. He was absolutely crazy about his canine friends, and his feline friend Gordon, and I could picture him greeting in turn Chum, his boyhood dog; Suzie the lab; Laddie the German Shepherd; Heidi the mutt; and Bonzo the Basset. He'd spent time with Joe Buck, gun shy but rabbit crazed; Gordon the cat; Buck, my sister's yellow Lab; and countless other animals he cherished, including our dogs Scooter, Darby, and Zoey. In fact, he would no doubt make new friends among the other animals still waiting, and completely lose track of both time and his mission.
My Dad would not yet be in heaven at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, but for an animal lover like him, he'd be very, very close. And it is this vision that helps me cope with the sorrow about his passing, because this vision honors who he was as a person and brings me a little joy.
I am sure eventually Dad will get a little "push" along to complete his journey and cross the rainbow bridge in a sea of wagging tails, with Gordon the cat filling his arms.
You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: Janiethibmartin@gmail.com
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