When I first met Aunt Lea, she had a brother, a husband, and three excellent dogs: Sandy, Bo, and Maggie. This week, after a long life and her begging, borrowing, and stealing extra heartbeats, Maggie went to the Bridge, leaving Lea the last surviving member of that group.
People are kind and mourn Maggie's loss and send words of encouragement, but Maggie is not one to mourn. It is Momma Lea who finds herself the last leaf on the tree. Passing brings peace: And surviving brings more sorrow.
When Maggie crossed Sandy, Bo, her father, and uncle were waiting to greet her, which they did, then the two men and the three dogs became a mass of licks, scratches, kisses, and belly rubs.
Leaving her beloved mom was hard for Maggie, but becoming an angel was the start of something new and joyous. People go to the Bridge every day, making the mortal world sad, and they arrive at the Bridge, causing everyone to be happy.
As people get older, the amount of loved ones as the Bridge grows, and it is hard to remember that there is still love in the survivor's life. They might be the last leaf on their trees, but they are also part of a forest that has lost leaves and knows how to survive.
It is challenging to describe Momma Lea's situation after losing so much, s luck, but she still owns her house, and she had the angels of Earth, Nikki Bear and Nellie, who came to Momma Lea as strays. What is unique about the stray human experience is that most of us are picked by our parents, but strays choose their humans and are devoted to them.
It takes a special person to be trusted by a stray. They have seen the worst of people, which is how they know to pick the best humans to approach and join their families.
Momma Lea has taken in several strays, having been chosen for her pure heart.
Like how Europeans came to America, life is a crowded, loud, filthy, smelly ship. You do get to choose your companions, but some get off early, you have to stay on until it's your turn, and you will all end up in the same place.
Until then, you need to enjoy the ride, and the best way to do that is to snuggle with pets who chose you as their parents.
Someday we will all reach the same destination, and people will feel bad for us when we do.
We mourn the survivors at the Bridge, where we are free of pain.