The welcomed, colourful rays of rainbow light after the day’s Storm. In this case, both a figurative and literal storm. Let me briefly explain…
A little over two years ago, I had to make the agonizing decision to put down my beloved Shepherd cross named, Duke. I had adopted him from a local animal shelter at aged five weeks, and he was my ‘bestest’ four-pawed friend for close to seventeen years. He and I had a, “Two Steps Behind” relationship, as described in a book I wrote dedicated to him. In addition to years of an indescribable bond and companionship, Duke taught me about the gift of unconditional love. He was as close to human as you could get and others even commented on his ability to communicate effectively through his ‘patented eyebrow’ looks. Needless to say, it was a very special relationship–one I would, still do, and will always, miss dearly. As difficult of a decision as it was to put Duke to sleep, his health had deteriorated considerably and I owed it to him to not let him suffer. I couldn’t keep him here for me. It wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be right.
The day that we put him down, it rained fiercely. I took some comfort in the fact that the skies were weeping as much as I was. It seemed fitting. At the end of the day long rain came the most vivid rainbow that I have ever seen in my whole entire life. No word of a lie. It was truly incredible! My husband agreed. The only explanation that made sense to us given the day’s events was that it must have been a sign from Duke letting us know that he was okay. A sense of heaviness lifted as I stared in astonishment at the heaven-sent rainbow and I knew deep down that everything would be okay, even though the loss of his presence and my grief seemed overwhelming at the time. Here’s where this once-in-a-lifetime sighting gets even more ‘goose-bumpy’…
Upon my return to work a couple of days later, friends and colleagues expressed their sorrow for our loss. I was grateful for the kind words and understanding…not everyone views pets in the same light as I did, and do…as members of the family. During one conversation with a dear friend, I told her about the rainbow that we witnessed on the eve of his passing. She seemed just as moved as we had, which kind of surprised me, and then she asked me if I’d ever heard of the poem, “Rainbow Bridge”. I hadn’t. She told me to look it up, and alluded to the fact that it would be self-explanatory. I was intrigued, and so the moment that I arrived home, I typed its name into the Google bar. This is what came up and I knew right then and there that we had been privy to something beyond words.
While the figurative storm of having lost my closest four-pawed companion was just beginning, the literal storm outside had ended and left me with an unbelievable experience only to be explained by Duke’s rainbow and this poem.
(As a side note, in the days following Duke’s passing, my husband and I observed a total of thirteen rainbows…thirteen being my favourite number. One of those thirteen was in fact a double rainbow which showed up on my birthday just a couple of weeks later:-).
My hope would be that this story, the story of Duke and I and our rainbow, will be a source of inspiration for you should you be facing a storm of your own. It will pass. One way or another, it will pass.