My sister Raheann and me were riding back from a massage two days ago... she looked over to me and said "there's something I need to tell you... I know this isn't the time you want to hear this..."
Immediately panic ensues inside of me.
What has gone wrong?
This is the sentence I have heard before. Did something happen to someone I love? A family member?
Indeed that was the news.
I lost a family member.
His name is Zion.
He was an 10 and a half year old Great Dane and he belonged to my brother, sister-in-law and 3 beautiful nieces. The ones I just left a few days ago. In fact, they had decided to put him to sleep the day I left for NY.
I cried the whole car ride back to the house and then getting out of the car my sister took me on a long walk and I cried again. I cried hard.
Zion's loss eventually led me back to the loss of John.
John LOVED Zion. Zion, Harmony, and Dixie all started John's love affair with the best breed of dog ever. I was so pleased when John mentioned he wanted to get a great dane! Of course, to him nothing could compare to his companion, Metallica. But, when the time came and we had a place of our own a Great Dane was one of the FIRST purchases we wanted to make. Maybe even before a bed. We wanted a blue one. Beautiful dogs. Beautiful and loyal and ... great. I had brought up names before while we laid in bed "Regiment... we can call him Reg or Reggie for short." "or I could steal the name Doak after the stadium the Seminoles play in that I saw another dog have as a name." John never really agreed to either names. He said we would have to see their "personality." That's true. I am sure when he got the cute little basset hound puppy that it's personality was screaming out "Metallica." ;)
The thing is when I was visiting my family in NC... I knew that Zion was at the end. I could see it physically and in his eyes. And part of me couldn't help but think... now John would have his Great Dane. And Karen agreed with me completely. She said that he could inherit him and they could play together and take long walks together. Just imagining this image is making me cry now.
Karen said "our loss is his gain."
They lost Zion.
John gained a companion. For eternity.
And I am sorry for people that don't believe animals have souls and that they don't go to heaven. Because what kind of heaven would that be? Especially for me. Animals have played a big role in my healing process right now. They know when you need them. And I think they have a very special spot with us in heaven. I was a little concerned about this the other day and asked Karen her thoughts. I often turn to her and Martie with tougher spiritual questions.
She said in the Bible there are horses.
And of course, I have read that before. Now it made sense.
There you go. Animals in heaven.
I have no doubt anymore that Zion is there in heaven. And I think that his soul will link with John's. Because they made great companions here on earth.
One of my favorite memories of the two of them was when we came up for Christmas one year and the fireplace was going.
Everyone was doing their thing in the house and then I came in the living room to see both Zion and John on the floor next to the fireplace taking a nap.
What a beautiful sight.
Them sleeping together by a cozy fire.
Now they rest once again together and according to Kaya (my 7 year old niece)... in John's house in heaven with a Bojangles with a gravy fountain and Zion eating all the pizza crusts he could ever want to have.
Perhaps it is so.
Who's to say.
I just wish that everyone could love as deeply for a person as I did for John and be loved by a creature as much as Zion loved for his family.
Both loyal to the ones they loved.
Both loved imensely back.
Both strong and beautiful.
Both dying in their sleep in peace.
Both in heaven, Together forever.