Sweet, sweet little soul,
So trusting, so loving!
Now our burden of love
Brings us to Rainbow's Gate
Where we will stay with you
Til you pass beyond
and leave us with one
Last tiny kiss and a smile.
We will cry and we will laugh.
The stories we'll tell!
So many brave and funny things
You did as you touched our lives.
And all the while as you wait
On the other side of the Bridge
Your heart will love us still
And you will know that its
Not Goodbye, only Goodnight.

--Author unknown

"The Loving Ones"

         The little orange boy stopped.  Behind him, kitties were playing, chasing each other and

wrestling in the warm sunshine.  It looked like so much fun, but in front of him, through the clear

stillness of the pond's water, he could see his mommy, and she was crying.  He pawed at the water,

trying to get at her, and when that didn't work, he jumped into the shallow water.  All that got him

was wet and mommy's image danced away in the ripples. 

        "Mommy!" he cried. 

        "Is something wrong?"

         The little orange boy turned around.  A lady was standing at the edge of the pond, her eyes sad

but filled with love.  The little orange boy sighed and walked out of the water. 

        "There's been a mistake," he said.  "I'm not supposed to be here."  He looked back at the water. 

It was starting to still again and his mommy's image was coming back.  "I'm just a baby. Mommy said

it had to be a mistake.  She said I wasn't supposed to come here yet."

         The kind lady sighed and sat down on the grass.  The little orange boy climbed into her lap. 

It wasn't mommy's lap, but it was almost as good.  When she started to pet him and scratch under

his chin like he liked, he started to purr.  He hadn't wanted to, but he couldn't help it. 

        "I'm afraid there is no mistake.  You are supposed to be here and your mommy knows it deep

down in her heart," the lady said. The little orange boy sighed and laid his head on the lady's leg. 

        "But she's so sad.  It hurts me to see her cry.  And daddy too." 

        "But they knew right from the beginning this would happen," she said. 

        "That I was sick?"  That surprised the little orange boy.  No one had ever said anything and

he had listened when they thought he was sleeping.  All he had heard them talk about was how cute

he was or how fast he was or how big he was getting. 

        "No, not that you were sick," the lady said.  "But you see, they chose tears." 

        "No, they didn't," the little orange boy argued.  Who would choose to cry?  The lady gently

brushed the top of his head with a kiss. It made him feel safe and loved and warm -- but he still

worried about his mommy. 

        "Let me tell you a story," the lady said.
         The little orange boy looked up and saw other animals gathering around.  Cats -- Big Boy and

Snowball and Shamus and Abby and little Cleo and Robin. Merlin and Toby and Iggy and Zachary. 

Sweetie and Kamatte and Obie.  Dogs too - Sally and Baby and Morgan and Rocky and Belle.  Even

a lizard named Clyde and some rats named Saffron and Becky and a hamster named Odo.  They all

lay down near the kind lady and looked up at her, waiting.  

         She smiled at them and began:

         A long long time ago, the Loving Ones went to the Angel in Charge.  They were lonesome and

asked the Angel to help them.  The Angel took them to a wall of windows and let them look out the

first window at all sorts of things -- dolls and stuffed animals and cars and toys and sporting events.  

        "Here are things you can love," the Angel said.  "They will keep you from being lonesome." 

        "Oh, thank you," the Loving Ones said.  "These are just what we need." 

        "You have chosen Pleasure," the Angel told them. 

         But after time the Loving Ones came back to the Angel in Charge. 

        "Things are okay to love," they said.  "But they don't care that we love them." 

         The Angel in Charge led them over to the second window.  It looked out at all sorts of wild animals. 

"Here are animals to love," he said.  "They will know you love them."  So the Loving Ones hurried out to

care for the wild animals. 

        "You have chosen Satisfaction," the Angel said.  

         Some of the Loving Ones worked at zoos and wild animal preserves, some just had bird feeders

in their yards, but after a time they all came back to the Angel in Charge. 

        "They know we love them," they told the Angel.  "But they don't love us back.  We want to be

loved in return." 

         So the Angel took them to the third window and showed them lots of people walking around,

hurrying places.  "Here are people for you to love," the Angel told them.  So the Loving Ones hurried

off to find other people to love. 

        "You have chosen Commitment," the Angel said. 

         But after time a lot of Loving Ones came back to the Angel in Charge. 

"People were okay to love," they said.  "But sometimes they stopped loving us and left.  They broke

our hearts."

         The Angel just shook his head.  "I cannot help you," he said.  "You will have to be satisfied with

the choices I gave you."
         As the Loving Ones were leaving, someone saw a window off to one side and hurried to look out. 

Through it, they could see puppies and kittens and dogs and cats and lizards and hamsters and ferrets. 

The other Loving Ones hurried over. 

        "What about these?" they asked.  But the Angel just tried to shoo them away. 

        "Those are Personal Empathy Trainers," he said.  "But there's a problem with their system


        "Would they know that we love them?" someone asked. 

        "Yes," the Angel said. 

        "Would they love us back?" another asked. 

        "Yes," the Angel said. 

        "Will they stop loving us?" someone else asked. 

        "No," the Angel admitted.  "They will love you forever." 

        "Then these are what we want," the Loving Ones said. 

         But the Angel was very upset.  "You don't understand," he told them.  "You will have to feed

these animals." 

        "That's all right," the Loving Ones said. 

        "You will have to clean up after them and take care of them forever." 

        "We don't care." 

         The Loving Ones did not listen.  They went down to where the Pets were and picked them up,

seeing the love in their own hearts reflected in the animals' eyes. 

        "They were not programmed right," the Angel said.  "We can't offer a warranty.  We don't

know how durable they are.  Some of their systems malfunction very quickly, others last a long time." 

         But the Loving Ones did not care.  They were holding the warm little bodies and finding their

hearts so filled with love that they thought they would burst.  "We will take our chances," they said. 

        "You do not understand," the Angel tried one more time.  "They are so dependent on you that

even the most well-made of them is not designed to outlive you.  You are destined to suffer their loss." 

         The Loving Ones looked at the sweetness in their arms and nodded.  "That is how it should be. 

It is a fair trade for the love they offer." 

         The Angel just watched them all go, shaking his head. 

        "You have chosen Tears," he whispered.

        "So it is," the kind lady told the kitties.  "And so each mommy and daddy knows.  When they

take a baby into their heart, they know that one day it will leave them and they will cry." 

         The little orange boy sat up. 

        "So why do they take us in?" he asked. 

        "Because even a moment of your love is worth years of pain later." 

        "Oh."  The little orange boy got off the lady's lap and went back to the edge of the pond.  

His mommy was still there, and still crying.  "Will she ever stop crying?" he asked the kind lady. 

         She nodded.  "You see, the Angel felt sorry for the Loving Ones, knowing how much they would

suffer.  He couldn't take the tears away but he made them special."  She dipped her hand into the pond

and let the water trickle off her fingers.  "He made them healing tears, formed from the special water

here.  Each tear holds bits of all the happy times of purring and petting and shared love.  And the

promise of love once again.  

        "As your mommy cries, she is healing.  It may take a long while, but the tears will help her feel

better.  In time she will be less sad and she will smile when she thinks of you.  And then she will open

her heart again to another little baby." 

        "But then she will cry again one day," the little orange boy said. 

         The lady just smiled at him as she got to her feet.  "No, she will love again. That is all she will

think about."

         She picked up Big Boy and Snowball and gave them hugs, then scratched Morgan's ear just

how she liked. 

        "Look," she said.  "The butterflies have come.  Shall we go over to play?"  The other animals

all ran ahead, but the little orange boy wasn't ready to leave his mommy. 

        "Will I ever get to be with her again?" 

         The kind lady nodded.  "You'll be in the eyes of every kitty she looks at.  You'll be in the purr

of every cat she pets.  And late at night, when she's fast asleep, your spirit will snuggle up close to

her and you both will feel at peace.  One day soon, you can even send her a rainbow to tell her

you're safe and waiting here for when it's her turn to come."
        "I would like that," the little orange boy said and took one long look at his mommy.  He saw

her smile slightly through her tears and he knew she had remembered the time he almost fell into

the bathtub. 

        "I love you, Mommy," he whispered.  "It's okay if you cry." 

         He glanced over at the other pets, running and playing and laughing with the butterflies. 

        "Uh, Mommy?  I gotta go play now, okay?  But I'll be around, I promise."
             Then he turned and raced after the others.

--Author unknown


"The Rainbow Bridge"

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.