There Will Always be Smiling Blue Skies

     I lost the heart of my heart, my Blues Man, to lymphoma, on March 27th, 2001. At the time, it seemed to me, that Blues had been stolen from me, taken off to become one of the brightest new stars in the sky, but I also knew that in the deepest part of my being, Blues gave himself to the stars, so that he could give life back to another, here on earth.
     My father's birthday is March 27th. Birthdays are a time for celebration, for joy and laughter. On March 27th, 2001, I cried until there were no more tears to be shed, and then I cried again. It has been said, that our animals shepherd us through certain times in our lives, and when we are ready to turn the corner, and make it on our own, they let us go, but I wasn't ready to let go.
     And then I understood . . . One week before Blues died, my father was given a clean bill of health by his doctor. It wasn't just any check-up. My father had survived two rounds of bladder cancer, a cancer that my family did not talk about openly, but, all the same, it clouded our thoughts, every single day. It would have been easier, if we could have shared our frustrations, and our sense of helplessness, in our inability to cure my father, but talking about it, was simply something we just didn't do. But Blues knew. He loved my father fiercely, and there was a magical quality to the special relationship they shared.
     One afternoon, not long after my father had undergone surgery, he and my mother came to our home for a visit. When my father came through the door, he looked as though he had aged several years, and though I never said it, I really feared that we were losing him. He ate very little, and then he went to lie down on the futon in our living room. We surrounded him with pillows, and covered him with a blanket.
     A few minutes passed, and then Blues, ever so gently, jumped up on the futon, and lay beside my father. He didn't nuzzle my father as he usually did, but lay perfectly still by his side, ever watchful. Soon, my father began to stroke Blues' fur. Blues had been my very special guardian angel and now he was my father's, because, when my father got up from the futon some time later, he stood straight, no longer stooped over, and the grey pallor had left his face, to be replaced by a healthy flush. He said he felt better than he had in a long time. The change was like being part of a magic show, and not being able to figure out the sleight of hand. My parents left, and Blues slept nearly a day away.
     We talked about what had happened, but never really entertained the thought, that on that day, whose date I don't remember, Blues had performed a miracle of love and healing.
     In the summer of 2000, Blues was diagnosed with lymphoma, and on March 27th, 2001, he lost his courageous battle. He was the sun and moon and stars to us. He was our Smiling Blue Skies. He was everyone's Blues Man. Blues gave us a lifetime of love and memories, in his six short years with us, and I believe, deep in my depths, in a special place we call the soul, that Blues traded his lifetime, so that my father could have his. Blues surely was our show dog, and every day, even now, nearly two years later, he continues to show us how to live, love, laugh, and, most of all, to learn.
     Tonight, go outside, and turn towards the stars, and if you close your eyes, and listen really hard, you will hear the wonderful music of our Blues Man, the music of life, and of sweet dreams. You can't have a rainbow, if you don't have the rain. You can't see the rainbow, if you don't feel the rain. In my mind's eye, and in my heart, there will always be Smiling Blue Skies.


Entry written by Suzi Beber
* Honorable Mention Award Recipient

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