There is no disease worse, in humans, dogs, or beasts than dementia. It robs us of everything we know. It is painful for those that suffer from the hideous disease and their family members. Our good friend Rex Mi Amor lost his battle with dementia this week. Upon arriving at the Bridge, he got back all that had been stolen from him, but then realized he had lost what he loved the most his parents Passing to the Bridge from dementia can be bittersweet.
He came running over the Bridge, his tail wagging in joy. He scurried up the steps and nearly jumped on my chest. "Foley, I can remember everything," he yelped. "I am not confused any longer. I can't wait to let my parents know.” He looked around and saw the angels. His smile faded, and he realized where he was.
“It’s the Rainbow Bridge Dementia Catch,” I told him. “You can’t remember unless you come to the Bridge, but when you come here you remember all you forgot, and it hurts.”
For two months, it was difficult for Rex to hold on to memories. He remembered who his parents were, more by scent than from sight. Even with dementia, a dog never forgets a smell. When Rex arrived at the Bridge all those memories that slipped away from him like sands through an hour-glass solidified, and he remembered all the sacrifices his parents made to combat Rex’s dementia and all the love they showed him.
During his last days, Rex pushed himself away from his family. Whatever it was that controlled the mind after dementia takes hold was telling Rex to isolate himself. Maybe, as he grew more confused, he felt safer on his own. This, combined with arthritis, made every day a struggle for him. He was restless all the time, unable to sleep or to lie down, except if he did so accidentally when arthritis made him lose his balance. Cataracts were robbing him of his ability to see.
His parents knew it was time. His best friend, his dad, went to talk to the vet who agreed with their decision. His dad came home and told Rex’s mom he would take Rex whenever she was ready. His mom went to the bedroom to say goodbye. Rex showed that there was still a little of himself left inside by giving his mom 1,000 kisses as a goodbye present.
A short time later the rejuvenated Rex ran across the Bridge. When he realized that this evening would be the first night he would spend without his parents, he became quiet, cursing the disease that had robbed him of enjoying his final days with mom and dad. I told Rex he could revisit his family, first in their dreams, and then by other methods, and put him in an accelerated class so he could quickly learn how it is done.
Like all pets, Rex wanted to assure his parents that he still exists, but in a place they cannot access.; to tell them “thank you” not only for saving him and taking care of him when he could barely take care of himself, but for letting him go at the exact right moment, so he could get back everything he had lost.
I know his parents would be thrilled to see that happy, whip-smart, zipping and zooming Rex is back, waiting for his parents in a place where all the pain is stripped away, and there is nothing but love.
Until then, Rex will be in their dreams trying to heal their pain just as they wanted to heal theirs.