by Linda Rollins
Oakley's Arrival at the Rainbow Bridge
Although I was happy and contented that I was able to give Meowmy my extra Meezer years, I was getting awfully weak and tired. And terribly thin. Meowmy was worrying about me all the time. Even though I knew I wasn't going to make it to her last six cancer treatments, I sure wanted to! At three weeks apart, it just wasn't going to happen. One afternoon as I cuddled up on the bed for a nap after a trip to the vet, I suddenly realized that God was whispering in my ear.
"Are you ready to go to the Rainbow Bridge, Oakley?"
"I am, God, but are you sure Meowmy will be okay if I leave now?"
"She'll miss you terribly because she loves you so much, and she'll cry, but yes, she'll be okay."
"Oh dear! I hate the thought of her crying and being so sad! Is there anything I can do to help her before I leave? Can I cuddle her one last night before I go?"
"Yes, Oakley, you can do that. Would you like to leave in your sleep tonight, or would you prefer to wait until morning so your Meowmy can hold you as you leave?"
"I'd really like to have the chance for me and Meowmy to say good-bye, and I also don't want to leave by myself. So I guess as much as I really don't want to go back to the vet, I'll let her take me in and I'll leave from there. It won't hurt if I do it that way will it?"
"No, Oakley, it won't hurt in the least."
"Okay, God, I'll wait until morning then."
So all that night, I cuddled and snuggled up next to Meowmy underneath the covers. We both knew this was our last night together. I nuzzled her under her chin, and in her ears, I cuddled up under her arms right next to her heart, I loved her every way I could think of that last night. I didn't sleep much, but I figured it wouldn't matter because I'd get plenty of rest once I reached the Rainbow Bridge. I wanted to create as many memories as possible for both of us to savor for many years to come. I would miss Meowmy as much as she'd miss me.
Finally morning arrived and I could hear Meowmy calling the vet's office and arranging to take me in that morning. We sat and cuddled for about twenty minutes before it was time to put me into my carrier. She was so sad.
"It's okay, Meowmy," I purred. "I love you and I'll miss you too, but we both know it's time for me to leave. You promised you wouldn't let me hurt, and now, as much as we both don't want to do it, I need to hold you to that promise."
Meowmy could obviously read my thoughts. "I know, Oakley, I promised you, and I will keep that promise even though it's breaking my heart. I love you so much, and I'll miss you something awful!" Then she gently took me over to my carrier and I quietly got inside one last time. "Okay, baby, it's time to go. Oh how I love you!" With tears in her eyes, we went outside and got into the car.
The ladies at the vet's office were so kind to Meowmy, and they took the two of us to one of the examination rooms where the vet would help me leave for the Rainbow Bridge. He was kind and quiet and explained what was going to happen as Meowmy got me out of my carrier. I got scared at the last second and tried to stay inside my carrier, but Meowmy gently pulled me out and held me close to her chest, petting me and talking softly to me. I had asked for this, so it was too late to change my mind.
"This first shot is just an anesthesia that will help relax Oakley and put him to sleep. Sometimes, in very weak animals it's all it takes, and that's okay too. Then in about ten minutes I'll come back in and give him the second shot." Meowmy just nodded. I could feel her heart beating and the warmth from her body as she held me, and petted me and told me how much she loved me and how much I'd enriched her life all these years and how she'd miss me. I tried to purr and reassure Meowmy of my love as well, but I was just too sleepy to do more than think it. My eyes got so heavy, and then I couldn't help it, I just couldn't keep them open any longer and I drifted off to sleep.
There was a bright light shining on my eyes that woke me up. I could feel sunshine and a gentle breeze blowing. I stretched a bit, and right as I was opening my eyes I could feel a dog tongue licking me. Yes, a dog! "Wait, a minute!" I thought, I was at the vet with Meowmy! What's happening?" As I opened my eyes I found myself looking straight into Mandy's eyes!
"Did you have a good nap, Oakley?" she asked.
" Mandy! What happened? How'd you get here, you're supposed to be at the Rainbow Bridge!"
"I am at the Rainbow Bridge, and so are you! I just thought I'd keep you company while you finished your nap."
I just stared at Mandy. " Really? I'm at the Rainbow Bridge?"
Mandy nodded her head and looked over her shoulder a bit. "See, there it is."
It was gorgeous! It was everything I thought it might be. Wow! I made it! I was really there! While I was staring at it, a lady appeared, walking out of the clouds and heading towards the field, staring as if she was looking for something--or someone. Suddenly two dogs and a cat came running towards her. They were all barking and purring, and she was laughing and hugging all of them. Then, as I watched, she picked the cat up into her arms, and with the dogs walking beside her they started crossing the Rainbow Bridge together. I watched them until they disappeared and I couldn't see them anymore.
Suddenly I was also really sad, realizing that I was by myself. Meowmy and Pawpaw weren't going to be here for me for a long time. Where were they, I wondered to myself.
"It's okay, Oakley," Mandy whispered to me. We'll be doing that too one of these days. Mom and Dad love us very much and we'll all cross over together--you just wait and see."
"Where are they, Mandy?"
"C'mon, I'll show you."
Together we walked a little ways until I could start to see a really bright light glowing off from somewhere else. "What is it?" I asked.
"It's a candle Mom and Dad lit for you."
"A candle? Then why's it so bright if it's a candle? Candles aren't that bright."
"It's all the love that makes it bright. Close your eyes, be still, and you'll feel it."
I did. I was overwhelmed by all the love I was feeling from what I knew was such a small little candle. But there was something else I was feeling, as well. I could also feel all the tears and sadness mixed in with all the love.
"I've gotta go back, Mandy! I can't stay here! Meowmy and Pawpaw miss me too badly. And I didn't get to say goodbye to Pawpaw or Sis, only Meowmy. Can't you feel it? They all need me. I need to go back. How do I do that?"
"You can't go back, Oakley," Mandy gently said. "Once you're here, you can't go back."
"Not even to visit?" I was really upset. I wanted to be cuddling Meowmy and Pawpaw. They needed me!
Mandy pondered that for a moment. "Yes, it's possible." she said slowly. "Sometimes when they're sleeping you can visit them. They'll think it's just a dream, but you'll know better. You can leave them little signs, but you can't stay, and they can't see you."
"How do I know when they're asleep?" Mandy had me just a bit confused on all this.
"You're just going to have to listen, Oakley. It's kinda hard to explain, but if you're still and quiet, you can tell when they're sleeping and then you picture yourself there with them, and you will be. Well, in a way you will be. But not really. I think it has something to do with all the love we have for Mom and Dad, and they have for us. You'll understand when you try it. But remember, you're not really there, and they can't see you. You're still here."
Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but certainly better than nothing! You can bet I'd wait until they were asleep and figure out how to visit them! Even being at the Rainbow Bridge wasn't going to keep me from my beloved Meowmy and Pawpaw! They needed me and I was going to be there for them. Well, as best I could. I'd have to figure this part out, I could tell.
Mandy scratched her ear. "In the meantime Oakley, why don't we go say hello to everyone else?"
"Who? What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, Thomas is here. So's Samantha, Juliette, Lacey, Fuzzy, Zoe, Riley, Sissy, and some other dogs and cats that have belonged to and been loved by Mom, Dad, and Uncle Mikey. C'mon, I'll introduce you to those you don't already know."
"Juliette's here? Really? Okay! Let's go say hello to them!" I had missed my best cat buddy, even if she did frequently get me into trouble.
We didn't have to go far before I heard Juliette's familiar voice calling out to me. "Hi Oakley! Whatcha been doing? Wanna go chase bugs?"
Bugs? There were bugs at the Rainbow Bridge? But then I remembered the last time I listened to Juliette and went outside to chase bugs, and I hesitated.
Juliette just laughed. "It's okay Oakley! Nobody's here to get mad at us! We get to do whatever we want. Why, look around! You're outside, and you're an indoor cat! C'mon, it'll be fun!"
"Uh...is there any toilet paper here?" I wondered, remembering how much fun that had been.
"Well....actually, that seems to be about the only thing they don't have up here. But we can always look!" Some things never change, even at the Rainbow Bridge it seems.
I looked over at Mandy. "How will we know when Meowmy and Pawpaw arrive if we're off chasing bugs?" I certainly didn't want to miss our opportunity to all be back together again.
About that time, Thomas sauntered up and touched noses with me. "You'll know, Oakley, you'll just know. You can feel it. None of us will leave until we're all together, and Meowmy and Pawpaw would never leave any of us behind. You know that."
Thomas was right! None of us would ever be left behind. We're all just loved too very much for that to happen! So, I guess now that I'm once again young, fit, and in my prime, I might as well make the best of things and go check out just exactly what kind of bugs this place has!
"C'mon Juliette, let's go chase bugs!"