Add to that losing my father in 2009, after losing my last grandparent in 2007 (the others passed in 2000 and 2003) and well, sometimes I think about them all and wonder what the reunion would be like. Usually when I'm missing them so. Like now, I suppose.
The light is bright, but not blinding; warm, but not hot. Time no longer flows in a singular path like a river, but rather ebbs and flows and rolls and envelopes like an ocean.
Voices. Scents. Senses. Knowings.
Then...then. Squeaking sounds, half mew half grunt. Princess, that old sweet love of a cat, my beloved companion from age 4 to 21, my nursemaid and therapist, trots in eagerly and wishes only to be in my arms, as she always, always had been. There is competition. Inigo, my companion of 14 years and first pet as an adult on my own, is demanding to share my arms. Lady is more content to howl her discontent at having to share anything and sits at my feet in her Egyptian statue pose, demanding the respect of her regal roots.
But if she could roll her eyes, she would, as bounding out of the light come two vivacious dogs. Angel, freed of her badly damaged elbow and kidney disease, bounds about, tail flagging, tongue wagging in a tricolor blur of effervescence. Ginger, freed of her badly damaged hips and cancer-ridden body, bounds along beside her, the two shepherding breeds happy to herd each other in bouncing laughter.
I sit, Princess and Inigo in my lap, Lady at my side, as Angel bounds around me before rolling over on her back next to me, showing off that fluffy white belly and begging for rubs. Ginger moans and barks and whines her exuberance before also rolling on her back to plead for the same. Princess and Inigo, well aware they are dominant to these silly dogs, do not move. Lady, finding such sloppy raw emotion disgraceful, moves out of view and reach of them at my back.
Then, both dogs' ears perk in the direction of the light. They both look back at me and flash their brilliant doggy smiles, then bound forward before turning back for me, insisting I follow. I rise, setting the cats down. They trot behind me as I go forward.
I hear her first. Her voice penetrates my heart, and joy overflows my soul. Then her hoofbeats. Then her. Ferrana Moniet. Ana.
She is brilliant white with no arthritic hocks, no damaged shoulder, no catastrophically disintegrating tendons...she is whole, she is sound, she is beautiful, she is happy. She canters toward me, her large round eyes and tipped ears locked on me. She slows as she approaches, respecting my space as she carefully approaches as she always has. She whuffles and nickers her greeting before resting her head in my arms, her eyes half closed in contentment. Like our last morning together, I weep into her neck and take great comfort in her fleecy coat and familiar scent. She is ready for new adventures with me now, but first, she alerts ahead and pauses.
They are coming.
Dad is first, hugging his sassy one whose unbridled outspoken individuality always tickled him so, even when it made Mom want to disappear under tables and church pews. Then my grandfathers, my grandmothers, my great-grandmother...all who knew me before saying their final goodbye surround me in familial love, recognition, and celebration.
I am safe, I am welcome, I am swallowed whole by love.
|Inigo's memorial box. My eldest son made it with me at the same time we made Ginger's (below) We picked favorite treats and toys to go with his collar and tags.|
|Ginger's memorial box. My poor heartbroken eldest son--who was devastated over losing Ana and saddened over Inigo--was crushed to lose her. He sadly drew the most ominous of her tumors above her leg.|