Rainbow Bridge Poem

Rainbow Bridge Poem

by Michael
(London, UK)

Into the light of a better world over the rainbow bridge - photo by Denis Collette

Into the light of a better world over the rainbow bridge - photo by Denis Collette

The rainbow bridge poem makes me cry. I always think of my darling Missie who died in an accident. Her death must have left a wound inside me; a wound that is exposed by this tender and simple poem.

This poem is very straightforward and unvarnished, as straightforward as our relationship with our cat companions. This is one of the great strengths of a proper cat/human relationship.

I am sure that there are millions like me who have lost a cat and grieved that loss as if he or she was a daughter or son. I did. I do and I will for the rest of my life.

We are very good at boxing away the pain of loss. But in doing so we contain it, inside us. The rainbow bridge poem opens the box and we feel the sadness again.

I don't believe in life after death. But I believe in the poem. I must believe this poem because I must see her again...

The author of the poem is said to be unknown. Franny Syufy of About.com says that the original author (there are now different versions) could been one of three people:

Paul C. Dahm - a grief counselor who was last known to live in Lincoln City (presume this means in the USA). He apparently wrote in 1981. He published a book called The Rainbow Bridge in 1998.

William N. Britton - He is co-founder with his wife of a rescue center: Companion Golden Retriever Rescue in West Jordan, Utah. He also published a book in 1994: Legend of Rainbow Bridge.

Dr. Wallace Sife - He was also a professional counselor. He manages the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement. He also published a book: The Loss of a Pet.

It seems that no one has laid firm claim to the original poem. There are several versions but here is the one that seems to be the original:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together..

There have been a number of posts on this site in memory of cats loved and lost. Here is a random selection of a few:

Damiel My Amazing Turkish Angora Cat - beautiful story.

In Memory of Stormy ='( - very short, very typical and very sad.

In Memory of Pumpkin

In Memory of Wilson Who Only Wanted a Home - From Maggie.

We are no where near understanding the universe. Is it possible that the spirit of our loved ones are close by, near to us, around us, locked into the fabric of the world for eternity? We cannot see them but sometimes I think I feel the spirit of my Missie nearby. If this is so, the rainbow bridge is a short one. We only see it when we die to join our dearly loved companion animals, never to be parted again.

John O'Donohue a great Irish Catholic priest and poet says that "If there is a spiritual journey, it's about a quarter of an inch long!".

It is a great regret that the life of a cat is a fraction of ours. We have to experience this grief over and over again sometimes.

When I read the rainbow bridge poem my thoughts also turn to Sebastian's Diary as told by Ruth. They have a similar quality of loss, sadness and then joy.

Feel free to leave a comment in memory of your cherished companion.

Michael Avatar

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Rainbow Bridge Poem

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Oct 14, 2011 Sadie Gizmo My Angle
by: Cathie

I had to put my best friend in the world to sleep due to her being in so much pain that I could not let her continue life in that shape. By the look in her eyes she was begging me to send her to Rainbow Bridge. So on 10/11/11 she went to Rainbow Bridge where she is now playing with the other dogs from our family who were watching and waiting for her. I love you Sadie and you will always be in my heart... Until we meet again, be a good girl and don't eat to many dog biscuits.

My Angel forever and ever!!!

Cathie


Apr 30, 2011 Our Christmas Angel - later named Chester
by: Pam Spivey

The greatest gift of all this past Christmas.
I used to try to rescue Canines in kill shelters but not one time did I go into the cat house to see the felines. Why? Been Canine woman all my life and no felines.

Well 3 days before Christmas this beautiful cat, black with white markings pacing back and forth, appeared to be a little afraid. No one was the owner of this precious creation of God. I told the manager to get a box for this baby was coming with me that night. I was planning to send him to our wonderful Humane Society for foster and adoption. Until after the Vet neutered and just suddenly ran a blood test - Feline Leukimia Positive. Not good. - I replied- rescue team will not make it who specializes in Leukemia felines so he was a special needs and told Chester who was named Angel at Christmas that I thought I was all he needed. I needed love and would give him all the best and love and care- to fullfill his little life to God or his angel came for him.

This feline was soooo special and sweet. Loved to be loved and so appreciative of his new home and family. I recommended anyone to get the lyrices or CD by Tracey Bird "The keeper of the Stars, regarding I was no accident me finding you!!!!!!
Please my friends it is worth your time.
Chester was running, jumping, eating lots and vet was happy thought the cancer might reverse.

Please pray for me, for around 4 pm after my parents had been hounding me regarding to this now or else and pushing me so fast- I got into Dad's truck and without knowing my little God Given Chester was behind or under the truck. I heard a bump and mom had teror on his face and hand over mouth. I knew immediately what had happened. He was hurt and hurt very bad. There was no need to call the Vet.....God wasn't going to heal him- think his neck was broken and blood out of his mouth. I was streaming at the top of my mouth and held him and said go my Angel - go cross the bridge for your Maker/Real Master is waiting for you. God, please take him now for in pain. Then I held his head and he died

Right now, I have him on ice until the burial tommorrow. Under a tree, next to my beloved Beau, my canine. I will thank God ever day I remember him and I always will carry this angel in my heart. Now, we all know I was taught my God that felines were just as loving, or maybe even more than a canine!!!! God thing. I opened one drawer and it just appeared from no where.


Feb 11, 2011 kiki my siamese angel
by: wendy in blackpool

my darling siamese lilac point kiki passed away in may 2008 she was my baby a beautiful cat with a beautiful nature i miss her so much im sure she is on rainbow bridge good nite god bless my feline angel


Oct 21, 2010 To Penny
by: Ruth

Just to say how sad I am for you and that you will see your dear little Gracie again one day.
Take care
R.I.P Gracie
x

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Oct 20, 2010 memory of my gracie
by: penny

my gracie girl passed away on oct. 6 2010 and we had her cremated. we received her ashes on oct.19. in her packet was the rainbow poem. it was such a sad but nice poem it made me cry because i miss grace so much . i cant wait for the day we can run and play ball together again.


Aug 17, 2010 To Aileen
by: Ruth

It's so sad that cats lives are very short in comparison to ours and like us,they only have one life and it's dreadful if that life is without love in it.
It's wonderful to hear you have taken in strays over the years.
To too many people cats are possessions and replaceable, they don't appreciate how unique and special each cat is.
There is a book called 'Charles,the story of a friendship' It was written by Michael Joseph in 1950, could that be the one you want ? If you put the title in google search it comes up as available at a few places.But it doesn't tell you what the book is about so I'm not sure if it's the one you want.
I hope you will come back and tell us about your cats and maybe share some photos.This is a wonderful place for us cat lovers to meet.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Aug 17, 2010 To Aileen
by: Barbara

Hello Aileen, thanks for telling me where the poem came from, it's so sad, I don't think I could bear to read the book. You sound like a true cat lover and have had many little furry friends over the years as we have, it's awful when we lose them though isn't it?
I wrote about my little soul mate Popsy as it was the anniversary of her death yesterday
http://pictures-of-cats.org/remembering-popsy-19102000-1682006.html
I hope you and your three companions are all feeling good today.

Barbara avatar


Aug 16, 2010 CHARLES THE STORY OF A CAT
by: AILEEN M. SANDLER


THE POEM "I SHALL WALK IN THE SUN ABOVE WHOSE GOLDEN LIGHT YOU LOVED" APPEARED IN THE BOOK "CHARLES, THE STORY OF A CAT" WRITTEN BY A BRITISH ARMY OFFICER ABOUT A CAT WHO ACCOMPANIED HIM ON ALL HIS TRAVELS. I READ THIS BOOK MANY YEARS AGO. IT WAS ATTRIBUTED TO "ANONYMOUS." I MISPLACED THE BOOK AND CAN NO LONGER LOCATE ANOTHER COPY.
I HAVE BURIED 8 LITTLE SOULS OVER THE YEARS (ALL STRAYS) AND NOW HAVE 3 TO SEE ME TO THE GREAT BEYOND (I'M 85). THEY ARE BLESSED LITTLE CREATURES!


Aug 16, 2010 CHARLES THE STORY OF A CAT
by: AILEEN M. SANDLER

THE POEM "I SHALL WALK IN THE SUN ABOVE WHOSE GOLDEN LIGHT YOU LOVED" APPEARED IN THE BOOK "CHARLES, THE STORY OF A CAT" WRITTEN BY A BRITISH ARMY OFFICER ABOUT A CAT WHO ACCOMPANIED HIM ON ALL HIS TRAVELS. I READ THIS BOOK MANY YEARS AGO. IT WAS ATTRIBUTED TO "ANONYMOUS." I MISPLACED THE BOOK AND CAN NO LONGER LOCATE ANOTHER COPY.
I HAVE BURIED 8 LITTLE SOULS OVER THE YEARS (ALL STRAYS) AND NOW HAVE 3 TO SEE ME TO THE GREAT BEYOND (I'M 85). THEY ARE BLESSED LITTLE CREATURES!


Aug 01, 2010 Rainbow Bridge
by: Tracey (England)

I have a Rainbow Bridge slide show which made me cry. I pray Rainbow Bridge exists in some context because I hope that all the cats (and dogs) that I have loved and lost are in some place special away from all the grief and suffering that is created by mankind.

I'm so sorry about Missie I lost my soul mate a couple of years ago and I felt that my heart had been torn out.

I know I will feel this loss again in years to come but it will never stop me taking in and loving another animal.

Barbara your poem was beautiful and says it all about losing our loved little felines. I'm so sorry for the loss of Felix but they are in our hearts forever.


Aug 01, 2010 Thanks
by: Michael

Thanks Ruth and Barbara for your comments. Barbara's poem made be cry too! I am becoming a bit of a wreck.

Michael Avatar


Aug 01, 2010 Rainbow Bridge
by: Barbara

The Rainbow Bridge poem always makes me cry so I try to avoid it, and other poems like it, simply because I can be sad enough with all the grief stored in my heart without looking for more. I want to believe that there is something else after this life, where we meet up again with people and animals we have loved, though I'm not keen on the idea that there is some sort of holy holding room where beloved animals have to wait to have an (ex) human escort before they can enter. The belief that gives me comfort is that all those people who were special to me, along with all the animals who were also special, are "living" some sort of happy life where no-one is in charge, no-one makes any rules, cats and dogs can make themselves as easily understood as people can and there is no conflict, no need for tin-openers and definitely no collars or leads.
I like to think that when it's my time to join them I'll be surrounded by joyful talking, meowing, barking and chirping and we'll all be telling each other what's happened to each of us since we last saw each other, all equal and all glad to be reunited.
The other alternative is that there will be nothing, and that's OK too because if death is nothing but quiet, dark oblivion then at least all the loss, longing and sadness will be obliterated too so either way there will be peace at last.

When my little ginger soul-mate, Felix, died in 1997 someone gave me this poem:
I shall walk in the sun above whose golden light you loved
I shall sleep alone and stirring touch an empty place
I shall write uninterrupted, would that your gentle paw could stir my moving pen once again.
I shall see beauty, but none to match your living grace
I shall hear music but none so sweet as the droning song with which you loved me
I shall fill my days but I shall not, can not, forget
Sleep soft dear friend, for while I live you shall not die.

Barbara avatar


Jul 31, 2010 Rainbow Bridge
by: Ruth

Sorry about Missie, Michael.
Over 36 years of having the pleasure of cats in our home we have had quite a few sad losses and each time it's so very painful I don't think I can survive it.
Losing a pet is a bereavement as much as losing a human member of the family and is the same in that we can never get over it but with time we can get used to them not being around.
But even years later,grief can stab you and you lose them all over again.
Time does help but in another way it makes them seem even further away from you.
I did truly believe in Heaven at one time but so many horrible things happened to us and we had so many losses, I find it hard to have Faith now that there is a God.
But I do think there is somewhere we will meet our loved ones again, both people and pets.
I think the people who have gone ahead of us, like our late mother,look after our pets for us until we are eventually reunited.I imagine her surrounded by cats,just as she loved to be in this life.
I have to believe that or I couldn't go on in this life.
But the Rainbow Bridge is just for pets.
What about the animals who had no one to love them on earth ? What about animals bred to be killed and eaten, experimented on etc ? No one loves them and I just hope someone is there for them if there is somewhere else we all go.
Yet sometimes I think when we die, that's it, we are nothing.
I am reading a book at present in which someone says to someone afraid of dying as it might be horrible afterwards 'But you shouldn't be afraid as you've been dead before' The person says 'How so?' and they replied 'You were dead before you were born weren't you and you don't remember anything horrible from then,do you ?'

It's a mystery !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth



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