Puppy Love 24

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Bobie wanted to be there for the next crossing. It’s strange. Memory fades in the After perhaps more quickly than it does in the Today.

We forget how we got here, who, precisely, we were before, and only these visits, occasional or frequent, keep us connected, on our side, to those we’ve left behind.

When the Shepherd of Bones texted that it was Caleb’s time, I called Bobie to me, and we traveled back together.

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Caleb had already collapsed when we arrived.

Bobie watched from the ashen hems.

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Mochi came, too, to help her pup cross over.

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Oh, Caleb! Weren’t you just a pup? You’ll age no more, once you’re with us.

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Each time, Grim becomes more and more greedy. I fear one day, he’ll pocket the spirit-ball of light.

“Hand it,” I commanded.

We have an agreement, and if there’s anything that compels Death, it’s a contract.

I took Caleb’s warm spirit. “Soon,” I whispered, “we’ll roam free! We will show you clouds and sunlight and flocks of light-birds to chase!”

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I rushed back with Bobie, Mochi, and Caleb’s spirit, releasing it in the moonlight. The old sire, the old dame, and the old pup romped and pounced through the nimbus, and I returned to see if the grieving needed help.

Mr. Bones was watching ice-skating on TV.

“Still here?”

“Can’t get enough,” he said.

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Out back, Crackers was the first of the mourners.

“Good dog, Crackers,” I said. “You’ll be joining your litter-brother soon. Don’t worry. It will be a quick crossing, and we’ll all be there to greet you. See those sparks of clouds? That’s them, chasing light-birds!”

But that’s not how to cheer a grieving dog.

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Emery joined us.

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He sat with Crackers, leaning into him, and spoke in the soft way he has, telling him about time and seasons and space and room.

Together, they walked slowly back to Lucas, surrounded now with all the members of the household.

“I know it seems too soon,” he said to Dustin. “But it’s not really, is it? Didn’t your pa have a great life?”

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“My brother’s getting older, too,” he said to Crackers. “And my oldest brother, he’s already passed over. It happens to all of us, and everyone we know.”

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It didn’t seem to cheer them up.

But then, Miss Molly barked, “I’m hungry!”

Dustin barked, “Swim! Swim? Swim!”

And Emery lowered his head and softly whispered again about time and space and moonlight and crickets.

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“Crickets?” asked Lucas. They listened. The crickets sang. “It’s a nice sound, eh, pups?”

Dustin nosed Lucas’s pocket, where he kept the brush, and Lucas bent down to brush the wiry coat of the white dog.

Chloe remembered her tail, which seemed irresistible at that moment. Miss Molly wondered if Crackers were up for chase.

And Emery, he sighed and smiled. “Life. Space. All one.”

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Puppy Love 8

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We are always with you. Don’t think that we are dead and departed. Just because we’ve crossed over doesn’t mean we can’t cross back.

When your eyes sting from sudden beauty, your heart jumps, your breath catches, we are there, whispering to you, This is life! Soak it in!

We are there when hardship comes, too, and when you feel you have no support, we are there. But that’s another story!

For today, the sun shines, the waterfall chatters, the vireos sing, and you walk in freedom and joy.

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Lucas, do you know how proud we are of you?

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The puppies have grown. Caleb is a beautiful long-haired spaniel, with soft kind eyes.

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Crackers has his sire’s coiled tail and strong form.

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Caleb and Mochi have chosen each other as playmates.

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While Crackers and Bartholomew have become close companions.

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Lucas, you are everything we could have asked for in a caregiver, and more! When I see how healthy, strong, playful, and happy our pups and Otter are, I send you all the gratitude a ghost can muster!

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On her first visit, Tanvi, so newly in spirit, had yet to realize that the joy of the living can still fill us.

Crossing back for the first time one feels the sudden shock of sadness–so much that we have left, and so many who miss us still!

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I joined her, that first day, hoping that I might find a way smooth her re-entry.

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But you beat me to it, Lucas. If you felt startled to see her, you didn’t show it. You welcomed her back as the old friend she always was.

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We can feel warmth when you hug us–and we can feel your joy even more than you know.

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Tanvi made friends with Caleb, too, while Bartholomew and Mochi looked on. Lucas, you’ve raised these pups well to know not to feel skittish around spirits!

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Or at least you’ve tried! Mochi still gets spooked when she catches sight of me through the corner of her eye. Perhaps it’s because she never knew my living form.

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When Crackers bounded up to you, asking for reassurance, you wrapped him in your arms. “It’s our friends, Crackers, back to meet you, now you’re all grown!” you said.

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While you helped Crackers settle, Tanvi and I reacquainted ourselves with the joys of being in the same physical space at the same time.

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It’s hard to describe what it’s like in the After. Space, when filled with all-of-space, and time, filled with all-of-time, lose any point of reference. So while Tanvi and I are together in the After, we share merged closeness, which differs from what we feel here as much as one differs from two.

But here, with our spirits mirroring our old forms, we have points of reference so that we can enjoy here and there, and finding ourselves in this place, together.

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“Care for a cup of tea?” I asked Tanvi.

“Don’t mind if I do!” she replied.

Inside the tea-pot I went with a shake and a rattle! And I came out Laplsang Suochong.

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Tanvi left a message for you in the garden: The bonsai in a heart-shape.

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She is learning how memory works–that you remember and our love continues.

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We are with you always, dear Lucas. Don’t think that just because we’ve crossed over, we won’t cross back.

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We are with you to offer support, to provide strength, and to encourage. Sometimes, we even have suggestions.

Do you think that your inspiration to look for a female dog, one who might carry on Bobie’s line, came from nowhere?

It was me, whispering, Adopt a pup!

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