A wonderful and honourable friend made their longest journey earlier today. I wish to pay tribute to a true buddy.
I am a member of the #BTPosse – I was invited to join by a great friend called Hamish, some years ago. The Posse is very much like the BeagleBugClub in that it is full of friends who look after one another, who cry or laugh together and always look out for everybody, with a kindly word or metaphorical shoulder to cry upon. One of the first Border Terriers I was introduced to was Macbark who lived with his parents, and joined more recently by his little brother Fin, in Edinburgh. Mac was a jolly, cheerful, wise and very handsome fur who always had time for some laughter as well as friendly advice for his fellow BT pals. Many a time did we speak about important subject like Aberdeen FC, Whisky distilleries, Bellfield Brewery and hikes around Arthurs Seat amongst so many other things. He was a font of knowledge on many subjects. He loved travelling to different places in Scotland and even made it down to the Lake District in the north west of England. Apparently he enjoyed that too, in spite of it not being in Scotland. Cheeky wee fella he was. He was at tweet ups and always able to show the many pals around his locale with a smily face.
His little brother, Fin, arrived in early August and proceeded to turn Mac’s world upside down. He was typically grumbly about his new little brother but I think deep down he was chuffed to bits that he would have a new pal to play with. Also he had the chance to show Fin all the wrong things to do.
Within the last week Mac was diagnosed with an advanced case of Gallbladder Mucocele which is apparently fairly common in Border Terriers, sadly. Today we heard the terrible news that Mac had made his final and longest journey over the Rainbow Bridge. He was only eight!
Run free wee fella, free from cares and woes amongst the everlasting meadow with the warm sun on your fur. It is a privilege to say you are my friend and that we will miss you terribly. Farewell Mac but never goodbye.
It was Lenny’s birthday two days ago. He is now three. He had a good day with a nice walk in the morning and I noticed that there were some extra treats being slipped into his food. The parents think I don’t see these things. As a scent hound I may not see them but I do smell them. I don’t mind, it was his big day and as an older brother I am not going to spoil it for him.
Onto other things. It was a year ago today that my nanny went to the Rainbow Bridge. Time has flown since dad got a phone call whilst we were out on our walk, that nanny had passed away overnight. Dad was very sad to hear the news from his sister but knew it was coming. In fact it comes to us all at some point. I remember we finished our walk and Lenny and I got extra tickles and a kiss on the bonce once we had snaffled our second breakfast. He told us that nanny had gone to the Rainbow Bridge and was now in the company of too many of our pals who had already made their longest journey. We understood that we wouldn’t be able to get tickles or naughty treats from her, and nor would we be able to give her leg leans any more. We were sad as we liked getting tickles from nanny. She was the one who said “if you can’t say anything nice, then say nothing”. This is something I apply every day. I’m happy that she got to meet Lenny on a few occasions although she did get him and me mixed up the first time he visited her.
I know dad misses her everyday but he is comforted a little that she is no longer suffering or in pain. He cannot be naughty or cheeky and get told he will get a clip round the ear. We are all sad that she never got to see our new house as I think she would have liked it quite a bit. She is with grandad now and at peace.
Life is shorter than we all think sometimes. When we are young we think we are invincible and old age is in the far distance so we often don’t think to say what we feel. I will give dad an extra leg lean today so he knows we are all a bit sad.
I saw this question raised in a tweet from an author in America and it got me wondering. People don’t really talk about it. It seems as if it is a taboo subject sometimes. Firstly let me assure everyone that I am ok, I am not ill and I am not feeling unwell or had bad news. I am just having a ponder.
As people who have followed my blog for a while may have noticed quite a few of my friends from around the world have sadly departed for the Rainbow Bridge. The description of Rainbow Bridge we use is softer, as it conveys less of a final ending to the life of a beloved pet on earth, and more of a farewell to another place where we will meet again. We will all make the journey to the Rainbow Bridge as none of us is able to beat that one opponent who always wins, Time.
The subject is treated, at least amongst my friends, with compassion and thoughtful attention to the words used to try and comfort those who are grieving. I realise there are few if any words that can comfort the people who are left to remember the good and bad times when we were around in the immediate times after we have gone from sight. A simple sentence sometimes conveys enough sentiment to allow people to smile with love and remembrance, and lift the heart slightly from its depths.
I lost both my nans in 2020, thankfully not to Covid-19. I saw what happened to my parents when they got their respective news. I kind of instinctively knew what to do and of course how to behave. With both nans it wasn’t unexpected however it was still a horrible shock when the news was received. We were out on our walk on both occasions and both Lenny and I changed our usual malarkey of pulling and yanking about on our leads, to walking and sniffing more sedately. It wasn’t innocent and all that loose lead stuff by any means however we did rein ourselves in. When we got home we both gave out leg leans and curled up next to the parents. We were told this felt good and that they loved us very much. It appears that stroking a beagle and telling them how much they are loved is food for the soul and helps to alleviate some of the sadder or more pensive moments.
I am going slightly off topic so I apologise. I don’t think I am afraid, as such, of making my way to the Rainbow Bridge. When my time comes, for it surely will, I hope that I will take the longest journey with love in my heart. I know I will leave people behind who will miss me and maybe that is a sign of how much affection people hold for one another in our groups of friends. I suspect people will cry because I am no longer in sight but I know I will make my journey having had a full, interesting and fun life. I am told every day that I am loved which is more than I could ever have asked for when I was adopted many years ago. In my minds eye, I will be off to see my buddies who have already made the transit across the Rainbow Bridge and who now happily run free in the everlasting meadow. They have no cares or woes and this gives me comfort when I think about it. I wonder if, instead of being afraid, I will be sad to leave behind many pals and people who are in turn saddened at my leaving.
Again don’t worry, I am alright and I am just having a little think to myself.
As promised I continue my thoughts on the strange year just ending. It’s a sad, frustrating year, yet it had some bright sparks now and again.
Lenny and I had been set the task of trying to recreate all the photographs on a calendar we sent to Raffa’s mum last year. According to our very kind pals the pictures we were in were better than the originals. Then on Raffa’s birthday there was a little tribute where many friends painted a rock and took it to somewhere that Raffa would have loved to go. We went to our garden and tried not to squabble whilst the picture was taken. It didn’t last long. Sadly I heard that a long time friend called Seb the BT was due to go to the Rainbow Bridge. He had such a wonderful heartfelt send off that it made me proud to consider that I had known him and woofed with him over his time on Twitter.
My nanny died. Dad was very sad as she had been ill for quite some time and he had been half expecting the phone call for a while. When it came though it was still a nasty shock. Lenny and I did our best to behave in an appropriate manner. Lenny then celebrated his birthday and I allowed him to beat me at bitey face. Later in the month we went to see our remaining grandad who said we should all go to the seaside. Lenny had never been to the sea in the UK and he was in awe at the wind and waves. In fact he was so much in awe that he fell asleep. He didn’t try to lick the seawater like I did in the Lake District a few years ago. Everyone had a nice time and mum even got saltwater spray all over her face as she forgot to take her sunglasses. We didn’t laugh, honestly.
Knock knock, who’s there? Arooo, its auntie J. Raffa’s mum was going on holiday and diverted to come and see us in our natural habitat. She was rubbish at hide and seek although quite good at starting bitey face games. We were still under some restrictions but they seem to be easing once again. Not that it made any difference to Lenny and I, as we still got our walks, food and beds. We could feel the seasons changing toward the end of the month so we got ourselves ready to bed down and hibernate for the winter months. The squirrels were much more active. Lenny and I managed to catch one but were told in no uncertain terms to DROP IT.
Time for trees to fall down in front of us. This stick was too large even for Lenny and I to take home with us. The rain returned with a vengeance, causing the ground to be saturated and the tree roots to give up completely. Luckily we weren’t underneath it when it came down. Lenny is looking up to me a bit now. I think he has accepted that this is his forever family and he’s relaxing enough to want to know what else we can get away with.
Here we go, back into a partial quarantine. Will it work, will it fail and will we ever get our dinner. This year the service has got worse as the days and months pile up. Maybe we need new parents as the current incumbents clearly aren’t up to the mark. Lenny and I are bonding far more. We are taking time to do things that don’t always include bitey face games or chasing each other around the garden. In fact we managed to steal socks from dad and were referred to as “International sock thieves of some distinction”. We remain quite proud of our abilities.
As I write this missive we are in Tear (yes I did mean to spell it like that) 4 of restrictions which means that the pubs and restaurants are closed, and only the essential shops are open. We cannot see friends from other households over Christmas and we still wont be able to go to the pub. This quarantine is like the hokey cokey. We’re in, we’re out, we’re in again and then we’re shaking it all about. Christmas is likely to be quiet with just ourselves to play together and amuse ourselves.
I am not sure how to sum it all up really. We lost some well loved and revered furs this year. Raffa, Gracie and Seb the BT amongst too many others. Sadly life and death were ever present as usual. The pandemic spread fear, death and misadventure throughout large swathes of the human population which was sad to see. Many people got on with their neighbours better than they had for a long time. Some people even found out that they had neighbours which was a bonus. This lockdown brought the best and, sometimes, the worst out of people.
I did learn something in the past year that will stick with me for some time. I realised that many of my friends live in beautiful places around the world. As we were all restricted in one way or another, I got to see friends local areas when they tweeted about their daily lives. Often because you are familiar with your local area, the beauty of it passes you by. I have also learned that Lenny is settled, he is happy and likes living here. This makes my heart sing as, despite what I may say about him sometimes, I do love him and want him to be happy.
And we move on to 2021. I cannot begin to wonder what it holds for us all. Hopefully vaccines are developed and provided so the virus recedes and some degree of normality returns to swathes of the worlds population. I hope so as this will allow us to get out and about more often. We want to see friends and family to try and resume some degree of new normality. Is there to be such a thing as normality? There is only one way to find out.
Dad went to my nans funeral on Friday. Lenny and I knew there was something not right as dad seemed a little apprehensive on our morning walk. We had a nice walk and dad told us what good lads we are, but there seemed to be something in his voice that told me things were a little different. We didn’t mess about too much on our walk or when we got back home. We got a big hug and a kiss on the head each before he left.
He said everything went ok on Friday afternoon, kind of as you would expect a funeral to go, really. Due to the current restrictions on people attending services, there were only 26 people so it felt a little more personal than when grandad passed away and there were about 50-60 people there. He did a talk and said to people about the link with the past being cut, abruptly and leaving you with regrets that you didn’t say what you wanted to say. When he got home, dad told us that he loved us very much and we got another round of tickles. I might have scored a couple of gravy bones too, whilst Lenny was walking around the garden but he doesn’t have to know, does he?
Then on Saturday we woke up, had our first half of breakfast, went on our walk, returned to our second half of breakfast and proceeded to settle in for a nice snooze. Suddenly, knock knock on the window and Raffa Beagles mum is standing there waving furiously at us. What a lovely surprise for Lenny and I. We greeted auntie J in normal beagle fashion and then proceeded to play hide and seek in the garden. She lost as we are quite good at finding people.
After an hour or so we calmed sufficiently to roll over and snooze whilst the humans had a chat and caught up on life. We haven’t seen auntie J since early December 2019 and then were very saddened when poor sweet Raffa went to the Rainbow Bridge on 4th February this year. We had been saving up our leg leans and licks for her since then. It was a lovely sunny day so we went into the garden and showed everyone how fast we can run circuits around the flowerbeds and across the patio. I think they were impressed. We were just settling in for a long laze and looking forward to tickles when auntie J said she had to leave so we gave her a cheery beagle send off. Then it was off to sleep.
Strange days clearly follow one another. From sadness and reflection to a feeling of joy seeing friends in the space of 24 hours. Take life as it comes everyone as you won’t know what is around the corner. As Raffa said, never give up when faced with challenges and live life to the full.