I'd like to share a "reworked" poem sent by another reader to comfort me.
ON LOAN FROM GOD
by Carla Baker
God promised at the birth of time,
A special friend to give,
His time on earth is short, he said,
So love him while he lives.
It may be six or seven years
Or twelve or then sixteen.
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?
A wagging tail and cold wet nose
And silken velvet ears,
A heart as big as all outdoors,
To love you through the years.
His puppy ways will gladden you
and antics bring a smile,
as guardian or friend he will,
be loyal all the while.
He'll bring his charms to grace your life
And though his stay be brief,
When he's gone the memories
Are solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay
Since all from earth return,
But lessons only dogs can teach
I want you each to learn.
Follow his lead and gain a life
Brim full of simple pleasure,
Whatever love you give to him,
Returns in triple measure.
Enjoy each day as it comes,
Allow your heart to guide,
Be loyal and steadfast in love
As the dog-child at your side.
Now will you give him all your love,
Nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call
To take him back again.
I fancy each of us would say,
"Dear Lord, thy will be done,
For all the joy this dog shall bring,
The risk of grief we'll run.
"We'll shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known,
Forever grateful stay.
"But shall the angels call for him
Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand."
My dogsitter was kind enough to bring the last remaining sibling, Temper, to see her sister so that she won't wonder about her partner-in-crime. She told me Temper went and sniffed Mira and gave her a final kiss on the nose. I'd probably have bawled my eyes out if I were there.
My Chinese New Year celebration ended on a sombre note. Family get-togethers and family parting-of-ways. But that's what life is all about, isn't it?
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