Discovering The Author of the Heartwarming Rainbow Bridge Poem
On February 20th 1994, Dear Abby published one of the most recognizable poems about the love we have for our pets. This poem has helped many people through grief filled times, yet no author was ever mentioned. Since 1994, the search for who wrote the original poem has been an active mystery. That mystery has now been solved and the beautiful mind who wrote this poem has been discovered.
Over at The Order of The Good Death, Paul Koudounaris has shared the story of the creation of the original Rainbow Bridge Poem. After the poem had been published for 30 years in the United States, finally we can give credit to the original author.
The beautiful mind behind the pen is Edna Clyne-Rekhy and she is currently 82 years old, living in her homeland of Scotland, with her two puppies Zannussi and Missy. It was over 63 years ago when she wrote the original poem and it was in honor of her dog Major, who had passed away when she was only 19 years old.
In talking to Paul about Major she said: "He was a very special dog. Sometimes I would just sit and talk to him, and I felt that he could understand every word that I said." Which I know from personal experience as many of those reading will too, our pets have a special connection with us where they seem to understand us in a deeper level.
The grief and loss of Major was her true motivation to write. She said that there was no real inspiration from a place she imagined in her mind. She felt more that Major was guiding her from the other side as she wrote, to help her through the grief of his passing. Experts and scholars have speculated biblical or theological origins of The Rainbow Bridge, but when asked if the poem was inspired by anything of that sort she insisted that that was not the case at all.
*Image courtesy of Edna Clyne-Rekhy
The Original Copy of The Rainbow Bridge,
handwritten by Edna on notebook paper
*Image courtesy of Edna Clyne-Rekhy
The original poem was written on a page of her sister's notebook which she in her bout of inspiration didn't realize had already been written on. She had quickly erased what was written on the back of the page and continued to complete her poem and then title it "Rainbow Bridge"
After she completed the poem Edna showed it to her mother who said "My darling girl, you are very special." She also pointed out how messy the writing was, and asked if Edna would write it out again on fresh paper. As you can see from the pictures above she never did. She showed the poem to a few people she was close to, but after that it was put away for a long while.
Edna married Jack Rekhy and did show him her poem. He liked it so much he said she should have it published. However, Edna refused saying it was a private poem between her and Major. Yet it wasn't so private that she wouldn't show it to a few close friends. The poem held great personal meaning for her and still does to this day. She did finally decided to type out the poem, each page individually, and hand them out to friends and family.
It was through this small group of loved ones that the poem somehow ended up in the hands of Dear Abby here in the United States. When Rainbow Bridge was published in 1994, Dear Abby had over 100 million readers in various newspapers across the country. Edna's gentle words touched hearts all across the country. Interestingly the poem was submitted by an anonymous contributor who went by "An old softy in Grand Rapids, Michigan."
Since that publication, The Rainbow Bridge poem has become synonymous with pet loss and grief. It's become a part of the nomenclature of a pet passing on to the other side. Many people often say that their pet has crossed over the rainbow bridge into the afterlife. Edna never knew up until recently how much of an impact her poem has had on so many pet owners, who like her lost someone very special to them.
Many people have claimed the ownership of the original poem through the years but none have officially been confirmed the author. I believe that Paul has found the original author and she has an amazing and profound love for animals. You can read Paul's entire article here which includes some heartwarming stories of Edna and the amazing life she has lived.
Do you have a story about the Rainbow Bridge and how it has helped you through the loss of a beloved pet? We would love to hear your stories and if you have any please do leave them in the comments section below. It always is so meaningful to us to hear stories of beloved pets and how they have helped made a positive impact in the lives of their owners.
Here below are the words that have brought comfort and love to those who have experienced great loss.
The Rainbow Bridge
By Edna Clyne-Rekhy
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, your pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water, and sunshine, and friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who have been ill and old are restored to health and strength, those who were hurt are made better and strong again, like we remember them before they go to heaven. They are happy and content except for one small thing, they each miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance, his bright eyes are shining (sic), his body shakes. Suddenly he begins to run from the herd, rushing over the grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cuddle in a happy hug never to be apart again. You and your pet are in tears. Your hands again cuddle his head and you look again into his trusting eyes, so long gone from life, but never absent from your heart, and then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.