Thursday, October 04, 2012

Facing the Rainbow Bridge

One of my favorite features of awards shows is the memorial to stars and celebrities who have died in the past year. Yes, it's sad, but it is also a celebration of their accomplishments and of the memories they gave us during their lifetime.

This past year, a lot of the legends of my youth passed:  Andy Griffith, Ernest Borgnine, Andy Williams, Phyllis Diller, Dick Clark.

Then there were those who died unexpectedly:  Whitney Houston, Michael Clarke Duncan.

And those who made my life better through their work:  Steve Jobs, Ray Bradbury, Mike Wallace, Andy Rooney.

I even lost some personal friends in 2012: Diana James and Jeff Sheratt.

My beloved B and Raffi
The above lists are by no means complete, but this blog isn't about those folks and what they meant or contributed to my life.

Recently it struck me that in 2012 many of my friends lost or are about to lose their beloved pets. I don't know why there seems to be such a rise in pet deaths among my friends and acquaintances, but it's enough to be very noticeable.  Maybe because so many of these sad passings are announced on Facebook, so I'm being made aware of it more. Maybe it's because as I and my friends age, so do our furry companions. Most died because of ailments of age. Some because of cancer or stroke.

Whenever I receive the news of a friend's lost companion, I look at my own two fur babies and wonder when will it be my turn to suffer such a deep loss. Not that I'm in any rush, mind you.  Except for B's arthritis, both B and Raffi are relatively healthy, but they are also getting up in years, just like me. 

According to cat age calculators, B and Raffi are between 70 and 80 in human years. I'm at the cusp of 60 myself, so they are my elders. Seeing their human age is a shot of cold water to my pet owning bliss. One day - it might be soon, it might be years from now - I will be facing their deaths or making decisions about their health care. They will cross The Rainbow Bridge. I can't stop it anymore than I can stop my own journey to the grave.

As with human relationships, loving involves loss. They love me (of course providing the kibble helps), and I slavishly adore them. I put up with their antics in the middle of the night. The bites when they are peeved. The scratches on the furniture. It's a small price to pay for the hours, days, weeks and years of cuddly love and joy they bring to my life.

If you've lost a pet recently or are facing the serious illness of one, my heart goes out to you. Be strong. Remember the years of fuzzy warmth and fun they gave you so unselfishly and smile.  And when it's time for me to face a similar tragedy, you can tell me the same thing. Even if I don't appear to be listening at the time, know I really am and will appreciate your kindness.


Lynne DeVenny said...

Sue Ann, I've noticed the same sad trend, and talked to my husband last night about how I can hardly stand the thought of losing some of my best friends in the world, who are four-legged. I know that when the time comes, nothing anybody can say will soften the blow. Heck, I'm tearing up just thinking about it :/

ProudPriusOwner said...

Sue Ann, I love your books and humor. They brighten my day. I have four dogs of my own and even though it is 2 to many, I wouldn't give one of them up. A suggestion for a story- Have a ghost pet who stays around to help it's former owner find the murderer and stay her life.