I gotta admit guys, I was starting to worry.  Every time I lost a pet, or anyone for that matter, I would get a solid sign, often multiple signs.  A dream I knew wasn’t a dream.  Or I would feel the distinct presence of someone I loved…or see them out of the corner of my eye, or hear something (in Ali’s case, the jingle of her tags when the back seat was completely empty).  Something.  Always something.  In most cases, this would happen now and then over months or years, and eventually it would stop. I always figured that wherever they were, they were happy and were there to stay. But much to my sorrow, other than the brilliant sunbeams the day after he left, I had heard absolutely NOTHING from Zato.  Nothing.

I’m not sure of anything, other than the older I get, the less I think I know about the workings of existence.  What happens when our physical bodies die.  I believe that we have a soul, an energy, that survives beyond physical death, and goes somewhere.  After all, the soul is energy, and energy never disappears; it just changes form.

The morning Zato left us, no one else knew it was going to happen.  I had talked to my Mom some the night before, but not really given any indication that the next day was it.  We didn’t tell anyone when Richard gently placed Zato in the car that morning for his final ride.  Yet, at the exact time he flew free, Mom was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee, and was suddenly struck with a feeling of overwhelming sadness.  When I talked to her later, to tell her Zato was gone, she already knew, because she had felt my grief.  We are connected.

This morning, I was sitting on the sofa looking at Zato’s picture on my phone.  This one:

I was looking at his face, not really thinking anything in particular other than the, “I’m-dying-of-grief-from-missing-you” thought.  Then, suddenly, I was drawn to his eyes, and began to not just look AT his eyes, I was looking INTO his eyes.  And clear as day, I felt him there with me.  I felt a warmth begin to wrap around my entire body.  The warmth wrapped around me and flowed THROUGH me.  And what I felt more clearly than anything I have ever experienced in my life, was Zato.  It was Zato, in his purest form, unencumbered by a body.  I continued to look into his eyes as my tears fell and I whispered, “Thank you.”  I didn’t look away.  I didn’t move.  All I could feel was his love, surrounding me and holding me.  Although I felt the warmth and the energy on the outside, what was happening was really on the inside.  I wish I could explain it adequately.  The best description I can give is that I felt our souls embrace.  I felt his love for me.  His heart.  His gentle strength.  I also understood that while others had returned now and then, he was moving on, and that was ok.   Finally, I understood that we would be together again.

After a little while, I felt him leaving, and when he had gone, instead of looking at him, I saw my reflection in the screen.  I looked up, amazed, and as I looked out of the window, the sun broke through the clouds.

I am blown away and deeply grateful.  I have never had an experience that intense, and all I can say is I know it happened and I know that he’s ok.  I know he loves me as much as I love him.  I wish I could convey the whole experience better, and although I am still so sad without him, I feel like he gave me an incredible gift that will sustain me.  Every time I look at his picture now, even though he doesn’t come, I feel the slightest bit of warmth deep in my heart, as if he left a bit of his love for me to hold until we meet again.  We are connected forever.

I love you so much, Zato.  Thank you.