There is no crying at the Bridge. It is peaceful, beautiful, and calm. The days pass in lazy bliss. There are never any worries because when you are living in guaranteed forever what is there to worry about? But on Monday I must admit, I cried such tears they dripped into the river separating our worlds, mixing with the tears of those you the living side.
On the other side of the Bridge, where the living roam, there was a persistent rain, caused by clouds filled with human tears. The sun always shines at the Bridge, but these clouds of tears were so large they slipped across our persistent sun as Annie began to climb the stairs.
She should not be here, I thought. We all have our songs, and they all end, but Annie’s was not supposed to end like this. Yes, she had cancer, and it’s the reason many of us are here, but Annie had her leg amputated and the doctors told her Mom all the cancer was gone. Then Annie learned how to walk on three legs, and not only did she learn to walk, she was pulling her Mom. And boy did they love to walk. Annie had two siblings, Wishbone and Blossom, but neither was the walker Annie was, even on three legs.
Her Mom learned everything there was to know about a dog with three legs, and together they were thriving. For one week everything looked like it would be back to the new normal. Then Annie had a little diarrhea, then she lost her spunk, and things went downhill. Annie went back to the vet where they found that her tummy was filled with the cancer that was supposed to be gone from her body.
The cancer had spread to her lymph nodes before the leg had been removed. It seemed to all humans, on their side of the Bridge, that the entire experience had been for naught. Annie had lost her leg, then lost her life, her Mom had lost her best friend, and their friends lost a little bit of faith.
And now Annie was at the bottom of the stairs at The Bridge, and all us dogs were crying, a little because of the sorrow we felt for those she left behind, but also in joy, and not just because the Bridge is such a joyful, happy, peaceful place, but because Annie was running up the stairs on all four legs.
She got to the top, and I swore her in, and then I took her aside before the other dogs could get to her, and I asked her why she went through it all, the surgery, learning to walk with one leg, the pain, when she could have just not woken up from the operation and come to the Bridge directly.
Annie put a paw on my shoulder: “Foley, wouldn’t you give your leg, or even two legs, for just one more walk with your Mom, one more week to see her smile, one more week of snuggling, wouldn’t you give up everything just for that?”
I felt another tear in my eye and I told her I surely would.
And then all the pups surrounded her including Dakota and they ran off to the fields and hills to play and I realized that everything Annie went through wasn’t for nothing, but for everything, because one more walk, one more snuggle, one more day with your Mom is worth a limb, worth so much more than a limb.