by Ralph Couey
I offer the following to all of you, not only those who have suffered loss, but to the rest of us as well; that we might remember the common link which bonds us together: The Love of Our Dogs.
I was walking the road of my life, enjoying the sun, and enduring the rain when God sensed an emptiness there; and sent to me a silver cloud.
A ready smile, a lively tail, and sparkling eyes, the cloud warmed her way into my heart and became part of me. The cloud was my companion on long walks along nameless sun-dappled paths; my playmate with ball, stick, and stuffed animal; my dance partner to music both lively and sedate. Everywhere we went, the cloud made friends, and I made friends as well, enriching my life forever. And even on those darkest days when humans were at their worst, that ebullient greeting upon arriving home would melt my anger, raise my spirits, and for a while, make the cold and cruelty go away.
We shared the sun of long summer days; we shared a fireside on long winter nights; the cloud finding solace in my presence, myself finding peace in her gentle, furry softness. Those times when I needed to talk, the cloud listened. Those times when I preferred silence, the cloud understood. And although the cloud could not talk, the warm expressive eyes and the warm caress of an affectionate kiss spoke volumes to me in the language of the heart.
For many years, the cloud and I walked the road of life together. The sun became even more enjoyable; the rain more endurable. Then, one day, God came and took my cloud with Him. In the darkness of my uncomprehending sorrow, I asked why. He helped me understand that the cloud still lived in my heart and would never really leave; He asked me to take the best parts of those golden memories into the future. In that way, I would never walk the road alone.
Since then, I have endeavored to become more cloud-like. To be a simple friend without judgment or prejudice; giving unselfishly without expecting recompense; to be a companion who would know instinctively that there is a time for play and a time for rest; a time for talk and a time for respectful silence. The joy I once shared with the cloud, I now share with others.
I still walk that road of life; enjoying the sun, and finding benefit in the rain. I cannot help but feel lonely at times, but when I look into the glorious blue of the sky, I know I will find that silver cloud; and that it will always be with me. And I remember the joy and know I will never be alone again.
For God sent me an Angel: One with a curly tail and a forever smile.
To those who have loved and lost, I pray for the healing of your heart;
And the eternity of your memories.