When visiting Brook Green Gardens in South Carolina I came across a tombstone that read, “In Memory of dear Bijou, who died at Magnolia Beach, Aged About 13 years.” The tombstone is a marker in memory of a dog, man’s best friend. This marker is large — much, much larger than many people have, and it fascinated me that so much thought and money went into this memorial for a dog.
But, wait a minute! I sat under an old oak tree and thought about this for a minute. I’ve always had a dog. In fact, my earliest memory of myself as a kid is of me with Big Red, my German Shepherd who had a fascination for chasing our mailman all through the streets of Egg Harbor City while latched onto his tan pants leg! Gosh, how I loved Red!
I also loved Blackie, Midnight, Reuben, Raphael, Laddie, Lassie, Lady, Luigi, Furry, Spike, Missy, Batler, Bella, Poochie, and now my little furry Oscar. But, I never had a marker made for any of them, and now I wish that I had at least carved out an etching in a rock to leave as an everlasting memorial for each one of them for the love that they gave to me. I knew that I could count on them for a good morning kiss, a good night kiss, and lots of fun and playful times no matter what. The weather never mattered to them — cold or hot they still loved me. My mood never altered their love for me. It didn’t make a difference if I had a dime or a dollar in my pocket. They each loved me the same. In fact, I got showered with slobbery kisses, wagging tails, and lots of attention even when I wasn’t very nice returning the same affection. Dogs have such amazing hearts. No wonder a dog has been rightly labeled as “man’s best friend”!
I’m sure that’s how it was with Bijou, too. Bijou’s owner obviously had a deep love for him, so much so that a special gravesite was prepared and a big stone marker was engraved with words to remember the life of Bijou.
Did you ever think about what you want engraved forever on your marker? Did you ever give any thought as to how you want to be remembered? “She was a funny lady who never stopped talking! She had a cackle when she laughed that sounded like a rooster ready to go to slaughter. She was good at slamming cupboard doors right off the hinges when she got that hot Italian temper flaring! She never had a gray hair ’cause she colored every hair clear up until the day she died!”
Okay, how do I really want to be remembered? Just like the owner of Bijou remembered him. She was kind. She showered me with affection. She was a true and faithful friend. She loved her family. She loved God. She loved me through the thick and thin of life. She gave food out of her cupboards even when she didn’t have it to give. And, best of all……”She died in the ‘Ville aged about a hundred years.” Gotta love Bijou’s owner….”aged about 13 years.” The years weren’t the important part. The important part was that somebody cared enough to put thought, blood, sweat, and tears into remembering Bijou. Yes, I’d be mighty happy with that…..to be remembered with fondness and kindness that is as fitting as Bijou’s!
Live with gusto! Live with laughter! Live for God! And, most of all live the way you want to be remembered! Your legacy counts! Who knows? You might even rate a tombstone in a garden surrounded by flowers and trees and everlasting love just like Bijou’s!
PS The memories we leave behind come from the memories we make today. Live like a dog, and you’ll get it right every time! They understand the unconditional love thing better than most humans!