Wednesday, September 4, 2013

That Rainbow Bridge

      This morning I awoke feeling good.  (Rejoice!)  I am just about completely over the bronchitis or pneumonia, or whatever it is that I was suffering.  (Being a typical nurse, I only go to the doctor as a last resort, choosing to self-medicate instead.) Regardless, feeling physically and emotionally healed does wonders for a person.  As my Mom used to say, "It will feel good when it stops hurting." 
      One thing I find it hard to do when I don't feel my best is allowing myself to Rest.  It's not like I have to rush off to work every day, but I act like I have to carry on as usual, ignoring the glaring signs that I need to take a day OFF.  So yesterday, being suddenly gorgeous outside, I spent most of the day lounging on the porch swing and delighting in the fact that I had given myself permission to do NO housework this week. :-)  The floors, the dust, the dirty bathrooms, they can all wait.  And even this morning, instead of getting up and being a good wife and fixing his lunch for Sweetface, I lingered in bed, watching YouTube videos about making new quilt patterns and painting acrylic abstract art.  I do think I feel the need to have a Creative Experience day very soon.
      I do take a day of Rest every week, but if it isn't that scheduled day I think I can muddle through.  I really do like to set goals every morning and tick them off during the day.  But there are times that we really do need to give ourselves permission to forget about it!
      And there are definitely times when we need longer than one day to get over whatever ails us.  Especially when we are going through grief, like my friend Janine who just lost her beloved Cocker Spaniel, Zuzu, over the weekend.  I can tell she is trying not to give it to the overwhelming sense of grief, just as I did when we lost our sweet Sheltie, Lacey, not long ago.  No one wants to allow those waves of pain to just roll over us.  But, sadly, there are times when we need to do just that.  Solomon wisely wrote,

      Yes, we do need time to embrace mourning.  Fully.  Painfully.  The depths of it.  Only then, I think, can we begin to let it go.  After a few days, or more, we need to make the decision to move on; to not let Grief become our constant companion.  After a while grief can turn into self-pity, disabling us with depression.  We know when that is.  It is at that time we must make that decision, "Alright, enough," wipe our nose, stand up straight, and begin to carry on.  It's a personal thing that only our inner soul knows when it feels that it's time.
      That doesn't mean that the grief ever fully goes away.  It never does, not completely.  It just appears less and less  often with time.  I can still feel the grief I felt over the loss of my first dog when I was in the third grade, but only if I allow my thoughts to drift there.  That becomes easier not to with each passing day, and year. 


      We have all probably read the story about the pet Rainbow Bridge, where the author tells a story about visiting that delightful heavenly place where our beloved pets go after leaving this earth.  But do you know that my son, Todd, actually visited such a place?  I am not making this up!
      Todd's little miniature Dachshund, Sammie,  had been a long-time family pet.  We always grieve over the loss of our pets, but some are just, well--extra special, shall I say? That's what Sammie was.  The tiniest little brown Dachshund I had ever met, and the smartest!  She even had hobbies.  One of her favorite things to do was to steal one of the grandchildren's stuffed animals--which was forbidden!--and then slowly and stealthfully walk across the room right in front of everyone so they would see that she had something she shouldn't have. Ha! Then they would take out after her and she would run
      But her most amazing hobby was that she loved to collect rocks. Yes! Whenever she was taken out to hike with the family she spent most of her time searching for just that perfect rock to carry along in her mouth.  She would pick one up and carry it, but her eyes were always searching for an even better one--usually even larger than the last.  As soon as she spied that better rock she would drop the one she had (she could only carry one, after all) and pick up the new one.  This happened constantly as she struggled to keep up with the family.  I remember once when we were all hiking along a cold, crystal clear bubbling rocky stream in Alaska, and being amazing that tiny little Sammie was constantly diving into the bitter cold water to grab some perfect rock from the bottom of the rapids! 
      Well, that's just the kind of adorable character that Sammie was.  But she eventually got very old and very sickly, and on that dreaded day she finally passed away.  Todd found a crematorium an hour or two away, drove there by himself, and there he personally laid Sammie's tiny form at the opening of the oven, said goodbye, and waited until he received her ashes back.  It was one of the hardest things he had ever done.
     Afterwards he grieved, long and hard.  The pain of his loss dogged him day after day.  It was causing him to lose weight and joy.  But all of that ended one night, about a year later, when he experienced a very real, very intensely alive and colorful dream.  I do believe it was a vision from God. 
      One moment Todd was sound asleep, and the next moment his head popped up right from under the ground in a grassy field.  There was literally brilliant green grass right under his chin!  Then he realized he was surrounded by the sight of many happy, barking dogs who were romping and playing in the surrounding hillside.  And then--right there--he saw Sammie! And she spied him!  She bounded across the grass and delightedly began licking and licking his face in joy.  Tears ran down Todd's face as he smiled and rejoiced in those sloppy doggie kisses, as he cried, "Sammie!"  And then suddenly, so quickly, Todd was back in his bed, wide awake.  Yet he knew what he had just experienced was not just a dream.  It was very real.  He told me he never grieved a day again after having that incredible moment.  It was a true gift from God.
      On my next post I think I may share with you something very amazing that God told me about animals.  I think He won't mind if I repeat it to you. 

      Here is a photo of our very-much-missed Lacey. 
I can't wait to see her again on the other side.


  1. Oh Linda, this post brought tears to my eyes. I have only recently become a 'dog' person in the past 5-6 years. Thanks to my daughter, I have inherited three of the most 'spoilt' dogs ever... two being dachshunds. I could just imagine little Sammie and his antics while you were telling the story. I can't wait to hear what God told you about animals and I hope it has something to do with us seeing them again. Glad you gave yourself the week off and hope you keep feeling better and better!

  2. I do--I feel very good. :-) Amazing how God heals!

  3. I am so sorry to hear about, Sammie. They really do become family. Because of age and illness we had to bury three dogs in the last two years. We wish they could live as long as we do, but at least we have those precious memories. They brought light and joy and comfort. Speaking of comfort, whenever one of us was sick, one of our dogs would lay down next to us and wouldn't leave our side until we were feeling better :)
    On the bright side, I'm very happy to hear that you are giving yourself some time off and that you are feeling better. We all need those real vacation days once in a while.

  4. So sorry to hear of your sad news
    Kind thoughts from across the oceans
    Best wishes