It was a beautiful, cloudless Saturday morning. Ladybug and I were admiring our wall when suddenly there was a rumbling sound. Stone and mortar exploded. We were knocked to the ground. Then something heavy and sweet landed on us. We looked up to see Smoochy standing on our tummies. He gave us both a big lick.
“Smoochy, what are you doing?” I asked as the three of us stood. “We built this wall to keep you out.”
Smoochy put a paw on my shoulder. “And I appreciated it, Foley. So did my Mom. But I was in so much pain today, more than ever before: I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t be a dog. And everything hurt. My Mom knew I was hurting too much. She had to end my pain and the only way to do it was to send me here. While we appreciate the wall, at some time we will all need to be here for our own good.”
I understood. While we wanted to keep our friends safe with their moms, we had forgotten that sometimes the best act a parent can do for us is to send us here.
Smoochy’s wall busting arrival had caused a clamor and dogs came up from the river, down from the mountains and out of the forest to see what had occurred. When they saw Smoochy, they came running and flying towards the Bridge’s newest angel. Smartie leaped high in the air and gave him a kiss; Willie gave him a wet hug; Reba and Logan danced around him barking; Daisy and Mollie stood up and kissed him; and Brody, oh Brody, he bowled Smoochy right over, and they took down another section of wall.
Then we heard a dog clear his throat. Smoochy looked up to see his brother Hershey. Smoochy ran to Hershey and we all respectfully watched as they hugged and softly talked about their Mom.
Brody began barking at a small dark figure that skittered across the ground towards Smoochy and Hershey. “What is that?” Brody asked.
The dark figure jumped on Smoochy’s back. He turned and looked at it with a big smile on his face. “It’s my monkey!” he shouted. We groaned. “It’s the monkey Leo sent to me. Mom let me bring it to the Bridge. But look at it! My monkeys alive!”
“A monkey?” Reba said. “There goes the property values.”
Hersey interrupted her. “Don’t worry. We all know Smoochy lost his monkeys when he got Mercer. Well, all those monkeys are here and just as alive as this one right here.” He pointed to the monkey curled on his brother’s back. “But don’t worry,” Hershey said holding up his paws to stop the angel uproar, “I built a big tree house in the forest for me, Smoochy, and the monkeys to live.”
Smoochy wiped the tears from his eyes and kissed his brother.
I looked over the River, and I saw the clouds coming.
They were clouds full of tears: Tears shed on the mortal side of the Bridge. Tears shed for Smoochy. They came rolling in like an autumn Nor’easter. Then the clouds opened above us, and we were drenched with a deluge of tears.
Finally, the torrent abated. We all put our noses to the ground. We were looking for our parents’ tears. These are precious to us. Tears are the only mortal human contact we are allowed. We gathered our parents’ tears in our paws. We held them to our noses and inhaled their precious scent. My mom had been in an Italian restaurant when she read Smoochy’s beautiful blog explaining his passing. She began to cry. As I sniffed her tears, I picked up the scent of garlic. Perfect. I turned to see Smoochy and Hershey. Their moms’ tears overflowed from their paws. I brought my mom’s tears to Smoochy and told him that he should take them because they were shed for him. Smoochy told me that while his passing may have inspired the tears when a parent cries for a Bridge bound dogs part of their tears are for their dogs already at the Bridge. He convinced me to keep them and add them to the large well of my mom’s tears in the center of my garden. They make my flowers breathtakingly beautiful.
After the tears had passed it was time for the swearing in ceremony, the attachment of wings, and some quick flying lessons.
Then Smoochy, Hershey, and the monkeys moved into their tree house for eternity.
Before I leave, you let me explain eternity. Mortal humans mistakenly believe eternity means forever. Eternity is the time between when you arrive at the Bridge and when your last loved one arrives at the Bridge. It is called eternity because that time seems like forever.
But, when your last loved one arrives, eternity ends and forever begins. And what is forever?
Forever is where you live happily ever after.