In Loving Memory Of Phillip le Phair Shore

Written by Consta Jenkins

Reprinted by permission of the author

Eatbugs stretched out a paw, dug his claws into the deep grass and did squeezy eyes with pleasure. It was the most beautiful day he could remember since coming to the Rainbow Bridge. The sunny patches were absolutely the best for lounging in, the breeze just gentle enough to ruffle kidden fur like the stroke of a human hand and the most dazzling blue he had ever seen. He stood up and indulged in a long nose-leather to tail tip stretch and flicked his tail in delight.

He padded along by the willow trees and danced his tail in greeting to Putt Putt and Beethoven, who were busily washing each others' faces. He nodded as he past Picnic and Mouschi, who were louging, noses to the sun, in the grass. He laughed as he passed Pounce, Little Dots and Nickie. They were laying in a circle, their noses together and their tails stretched out behind them. Eatbugs chuckled louder as their conversation drifted back to him:

"Does not!"

"Does too!"

"Does NOTS!!!"

"Reawwy?"

"Oh my," said Eatbugs, "What seems to be the problem here, gentletoms?"

Pounce looked up, "Little Dots says Tiny Bubbles thinks I is cutes!", he looked appropriately disgusted at the thought.

Eatbugs twitched his whiskers in laughter, "Give it some time, Poucny, the idea will grow on you."

"Girl kiddens....YUCKS".

Eatbugs just laughed and padded on. Another chorus of "does nots", "does toos" drifted along on the breeze behind him. He had just gotten to the kibble bowls and settled into for a snack when he heard the Old Ones voice in his mind. "Come, Little One, there is need."

Eatbugs raised his head and saw Picnic and Mouschi rising from the rest. Pris and Boots, too, rose and all headed, as Eatbugs himself did, to the grove where the Elders met. When he arrived, he found a circle of kiddens already in place. He stepped up to join them and saw Virginia and Elizabeth in the center, their tails linked and their eyes squeezed shut in concentration. Eatbugs bowed his head. Virginia had been worried for weeks about her beloved Phillip, and now he knew it was time. Isolde, her face a mask of sorrow, sat above them, her purr sweeping over them, lending them her strength. Boots and Picnic moved forward to sit beside Isolde and raised their purrs to join her. Eatbugs linked his tail with Mouschi's and they, too, joined the circle. He closed his eyes and felt Virginia and Elizabeth's love weaving itself into the song and winding it's way to the Earth. He felt them reach out to their brother and sooth his sorrow and pain. He squeezed his eyes shut tighter and purred as loud and hard as he could.

They sat together, sending love in wave after wave to the brave boy kidden on Earth. Eatbugs felt his fear dissolving and knew that he understood. After a time, Virginia opened her eyes and said sadly to the gathered kiddens, "It is time."

Together they stood and quietly padded their way to the Gate. Above them the colors of the sky had shifted to the most brilliant rainbow Eatbugs had ever seen, and the Welcoming Song began its bittersweet refrain, more beautiful than ever before. As they travelled, they were joined by the Company of Kiddens. Smokey walked with Ebony and Spunkie. Freyja and Max walked with Dino and Pitty Pat. Shoney and Jasmine linked tails as they walked. From every sunny patch they came, Claws-a-Lot and Beauty, Dino and Mooshka, all of the Company bound by love.

When they arrived at the Gate, they formed their Circle. Eatbugs looked around and there were kiddens as far as the eye could see. As they bowed their heads and joined their voices in the Song, the Circle of Elders stepped forward to form a circle within a circle. They raised their voices to welcome one of their own. Their voices mingled in the wind with the heart-breakingly beautiful refrain and their loved was carried towards the Earth, to the heart of kidden preparing to make his journey, and to the heart of his human, now breaking in grief.

Suddenly the Song seemed to take on a life of its own, it was so wrenchingly beautiful, so full of love that it near broke Eatbugs' heart to hear it. He lifted his head, and in the center of the Circle of Elders, the Creator sat, her rainbow white fur gleaming in the sunlight and her voice raised, its bell-like clarity singing her special child home. Around the song of love and welcome, she wove her golden voice, singing of a kidden of great heart, whose march of days had touched so many. She rejoiced in the joy he had brought to those he touched, and sang of the Great Promise that awaited his coming. Her loved washed over all her children and danced its way to the Earth below.

At length the flash of blue light appeared within the Gate. When it had faded, a handsome ginger tom sat looking up at the kiddens before him. The Creator stepped forward and touched her paw to Phillip's head, and his fur gleamed brighter in the sun. "Welcome, my child, to the Rainbow Bridge", she said, "I have taken from thee thy sorrow, for thee has no need of it. Know, child, that what has been Promised will come to be. No love bond between my children and their humans can ever be broken. Not time, nor death, nor any power can touch it. What thee has shared on Earth, thee shares now. Look only to thy heart and thee will know it." With that she purred her love and faded in twinklingn lights from their view.

Phillip blinked for a moment, but he looked within his heart and knew that it was true. He felt his human's love, still as much a part of him as ever it was on Earth. He had but to close his eyes, and he felt her hand stroking his fur and heard her voice whisper her love. Phillip's heart rejoiced. He pursed his whiskers and squeezed his eyes shut and thought with all his might, "Mom? Mom? Can you feel it? Can you feel _me_?? I'm right here....in your heart and I always will be!".

Virginia and Elizabeth stepped forward when he opened his eyes and gave their brother nosey noodles of Welcome. When, at last, all of the company had given their greeting and the sisters turned to lead their brother home, Phillip paused and gave them a grin, "I don't suppose anyone dances the Conga here?"

Virginia beamed back at him, "They will now."

GOODNIGHT SWEET PHILLIP, YOU WILL BE MISSED. Auntie Consta

© Copyright 1995 Constance Jenkins. All Rights Reserved. The author retains all copyright and intellectual rights to this work. It may not be printed in whole or in part without express written permission.
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