+
upworthy
Pop Culture

'Rainbow Bridge' poem has long comforted grieving pet parents. Finally, the author is revealed.

For years, the creator of this beloved piece has been shrouded in mystery.

rainbow bridge author, losing a pet, pet grief
Canva

For years, 'Rainbow Bridge" seemed to simply exist without an author.

For grieving pet parents, few words come closer to providing some sort of comfort than those of “Rainbow Bridge.” After all, the poignant and wildly popular poem offers a slice of hope, promising a reunion with our furry loved ones in a magical paradise of the afterlife. Even for those who aren’t so theologically inclined, the imagery can be soothing after irrevocable loss.

For so long, “Rainbow Bridge” has seemingly existed as its own entity, being handed out by vets or shared in condolence cards and online sans a credited author. However, thanks to the tireless sleuthing of historian and author Paul Koudounaris, that mystery has been solved.


According to an interview with National Geographic, Koudounaris had first become enticed to find the unknown creator of “Rainbow Bridge” after encountering it several times while working on his book about pet cemeteries (fitting). Wanting the person who wrote what he described as “a text with monumental importance to the world of animal mourning” to receive some well-deserved acclaim, Koudounaris began his search.

He discovered that “Rainbow Bridge” first came to notoriety through the long syndicated advice column “Dear Abby,” where in 1994 the poem was printed along with a warning for readers to “grab their hankies.” However, there was still no writer’s name attached. Koudounaris would have to compile two dozen names with even the slightest connection to the poem, and one by one cross them off the list until he landed on just one—a woman in Scotland by the name of Edna Clyne-Rekhy.

“What initially would have seemed like the most unlikely candidate in the end turned out to be the most intriguing candidate and, of course, the actual author,” Koudounaris told National Geographic, noting that Clyne-Rekhy was the only non-American on the list.

Koudounaris reached out to Clyne-Rekhy, who was not only shocked that he had found her but completely unaware that her poem had touched millions of hearts.

As Koudounaris details in his own story, Clyne-Rekhy was only 19 years old when she first put her words to paper. The year was 1959, and she had just lost her beloved Labrador named Major. Her only ambition (or more accurately—compulsion) at that time was to memorialize him and surrender to the “warm feeling” that seemed to be inspiring her to write.

Even when it was but a messy draft full of crossed-out words and scribbles, people knew the poem was special. At least, the few people who were shown it knew. Despite her husband’s encouragement, Clyne-Rekhy never sought to publish but would share a copy from time to time, always without her name written on it.

Here is the poem in its entirety:

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 shineing (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."

By the early 90s, “Rainbow Bridge” made its way to a few animal lovers’ groups in America and then to the 1 million readers of “Dear Abby.” Sixty-four years after its creation, now we see its words engraved on countless pet gravestones and recited during mourning groups. Clyne-Rekhy had no idea.

And though she wasn’t thrilled that several people attempted to take credit for something she poured her heart into—including one who, according to Koudounaris, insisted it was originally performed by a Native American shaman—more than anything, she was touched to learn that it made such a positive impact on others.

As for any further advice for grieving a lost pet? Clyne-Rekhy, now 82, says get another one. While she agrees that no two animals are alike, she told Koudounaris, “There’s no reason to deny yourself…your previous pet certainly wouldn’t have wanted you to live without it.”

Joy

Gen X has hit 'that stage' of life and is not handling it very well

We are NOT prepared for Salt-n-Pepa to replace Michael McDonald in the waiting room at the doctor's office, thankyouverymuch.

Gen X is eating dinner earlier and earlier. It's happening.

The thing about Gen X being in our 40s and 50s now is that we were never supposed to get "old." Like, we're the cool, aloof grunge generation of young tech geniuses. Most of the giants that everyone uses every day—Google, Amazon, YouTube—came from Gen X. Our generation is both "Friends" and "The Office." We are, like, relevant, dammit.

And also, our backs hurt, we need reading glasses, our kids are in college and how in the name of Jennifer Aniston's skincare regimen did we get here?

It's weird to reach the stage when there's no doubt that you aren't young anymore. Not that Gen X is old—50 is the new 30, you know—but we're definitely not young. And it seems like every day there's something new that comes along to shove that fact right in our faces. When did hair start growing out of that spot? Why do I suddenly hate driving at night? Why is this restaurant so loud? Does that skin on my arm look…crepey?

Keep ReadingShow less

The Little Red Cup Tea Company Is Making The World A Better Place One Exquisite, Sustainably Sourced Cup At A Time

The best Valentine's gift for when you want to go beyond chocolates and flowers.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, we are looking everywhere for the perfect gift - something not too big, not too small - something that lets your person know you were thinking of them. And something, dare we say, that comes in a cute little red box. What could be better than this darling tea sampler from the Little Red Cup Tea Co?

Organic Tea Sampler

Little Red Cup Tea Company is a company worth getting to know. Their teas aren't your average grocery store tea blends. Each tea is complex and aromatic, with a unique flavor profile. Little Red Cup Tea Company offers so many amazing organic varieties of Chinese teas that the Four Tin Gift Sampler is probably the best way to start exploring their offerings for yourself or (more importantly?) for the tea lover in your life. This customizable sampler is an invitation to try four of the teas Little Red Cup has to offer. Whether they're a seasoned tea connoisseur or just beginning their journey into the world of high-quality teas, this sampler offers a personalized experience that is sure to be appreciated. The sampler is offered all year long, but it is decked out in a fancy red box just for Valentine’s Day.

With the Little Red Cup Four Tin Gift Sampler, you can choose from preset configurations like Four Green Teas, Four Black Teas, Two Black Two Greens, or The Spectrum, or you can mix and match to create your unique assortment. So whether they love sweet subtle green teas, or pungent and smokey black teas,, or you don’t even know where to start, each tin in the Four Tin Gift Sampler offers an unparalleled tasting experience that will introduce you or them to new possibilities.

The Little Red Cup Four Tin Gift Sampler opens up a whole world of high-quality organic teas, and it is a wonderful way to show you care about the planet, as well.

Making the world a better place starts with the choices we make every single day. However, these choices don’t have to be difficult. In fact, thanks to the Little Red Cup Tea Company, even something as simple as having a cup of tea can promote a cleaner world and a better future. The Little Red Cup Tea Company is a family-run business that’s redefining what it means to enjoy a cup of tea. By embracing a mission to sell superior artisanal teas that are certified organic and fair trade, this company is making the world better, one cup at a time. So if you’re looking to take the tea drinking experience to the next level—and you want to make the world a better place at the same time—check out some of the bold and aromatic teas Little Red Cup has to offer.

The Little Red Cup Philosophy

At the heart of the Little Red Cup Tea Company is a story steeped in tradition, simplicity, and a deep respect for nature. Founded with a passion for authentic, traditional teas, this family-run business is on a mission to bring the highest quality Chinese teas to the U.S. market—pure, whole leaf, and brimming with tradition.

What truly sets Little Red Cup apart is their unwavering commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. Every tea leaf in their collection is not only USDA certified organic, but also Fair Trade certified, ensuring that with every sip, consumers are supporting a healthier planet and empowering tea-growing communities. They've built direct partnerships with worker-owned cooperatives, shortening the journey from field to cup and guaranteeing both quality and fairness. By choosing Little Red Cup, you're not just choosing a delicious cup of tea; you're becoming a part of a movement that values the planet, the people, and the timeless tradition of tea drinking.

Commitment to Sustainability

At Little Red Cup, “sustainability” isn't just a buzzword. By strictly adhering to organic farming methods, they ensure that their teas are free from chemical pesticides and fertilizers, offering a purer, healthier cup to their customers. Moreover, their Fair Trade certification isn't just a label; it's a promise. It means that every purchase contributes to a fairer, more equitable system where tea growers receive a fair share, ensuring their communities thrive. This approach creates a direct, positive impact, supporting educational and social programs in rural tea-growing regions. When you sip a cup of Little Red Cup tea, you're not just enjoying a high-quality beverage; you're partaking in a global effort to make the world a little better, one cup at a time.

Little Red Cup Tea Company's commitment to sustainability extends beyond their tea leaves to the very packaging they use. In an industry often marred by excessive and non-eco-friendly packaging, they lead by example, using food-safe tins without plastic liners to reduce waste and keep their teas fresh. Embracing a refill culture, they encourage customers to reuse these tins with larger, resealable tea pouches, further minimizing environmental impact. This thoughtful approach ensures that choosing Little Red Cup is not only about enjoying high-quality tea, but also about supporting a cycle of sustainable consumption and contributing to a healthier planet with every cup.

Join the Little Red Cup Family

The Little Red Cup Tea Company is more than a brand; it's a movement. Each cup of their sustainably sourced, organically grown tea represents a step towards a better world—a world where quality, ethics, and environmental consciousness go hand in hand.

If you’re ready to explore a new world of exquisite flavors and truly sustainable practices, click here to order your Little Red Cup Four Tin Gift Sampler special Valentine’s Day edition today.
Science

Breastfeeding mom's touching encounter with an orangutan has people swooning—and debating

"She sat with me for approximately half an hour, kept stroking the glass and lay down next to me as if to support and protect me."

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

America’s leading happiness expert shares his most important advice to be a happier person

Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey have continued their quest for greater happiness with the “Build the Life You Want” podcast.

Arthur C. Brooks, Oprah Winfrey and their book, ""Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier."

A recent YouGov poll found that most Americans are at least somewhat happy. Twenty-one percent said they are "very happy," 55% are "fairly happy," 18% are "not too happy" and 5% are "not happy” at all.

Those numbers aren’t too bad, but they can always be better. So Upworthy’s Craig Jablin sat down with one of America's foremost experts on happiness, Arthur C. Brooks, to discuss the misconceptions surrounding happiness and the lifestyle choices that can help us live happier lives.

Brooks is an academic, public speaker and author of 13 books, including the 2023 #1 New York Times bestseller, "Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier," with co-author Oprah Winfrey.

Keep ReadingShow less

Dad's sweet moment with daughter turned into a roasting session

Have kids, they said. It'll be great, they said. Well, one dad may have a bone to pick with those mysterious "they," in that colloquial saying. A man running the Instagram account Havea_676, posted a video that has parents on the internet not only laughing at his tender moment turned embarrassing, but sharing their own savage kid moments.

The dad was having a sweet moment with his daughter asking her about her day and what she was excited about for the next day before tucking her into bed. Things appeared to be going well and his daughter who is off camera can be heard answering all of the questions. But at some point during the father daughter moment, the little girl was over the many questions the man was asking.

"Daddy, can you please stop with your questions, I'm trying to sleep and also your breath stinks," the litter girl reveals.

Keep ReadingShow less
Wikipedia/Alison Martinof SimonCowellOnline.com/Wikipedia

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" is just one of those perfect songs

Some songs remain profoundly moving no matter how they are reimagined. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” though of course nobody sings it quite like Judy Garland, arguably could be considered one of those songs.

Several artists have indeed put their own wonderful spin on the tune over the years—Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, to name a few.

And now, we can add singer Loren Allred to that impressive list.

Keep ReadingShow less