Heartwarming Tearjerker of the Day: The sheer cliffs at the mouth of Sydney Harbor have long been a popular Australian suicide spot. But they’re about to get a lot more deadly — the local man who is credited with talking at least 160 people out of killing themselves since 1964 died this week.
Window-watcher Don Ritchie, known as the Angel of the Gap, could spot the troubled ones from his home across the street; he’d wander down to the cliff-edge and calmly ask, “Can I help you in some way?” More often then not, he could. He’d chat with them a bit, then invite them back to his place for a cup of tea.
“My ambition has always been to just get them away from the edge, to buy them time, to give them the opportunity to reflect and give them the chance to realize that things might look better the next morning,” Ritchie once said. “You just can’t sit there and watch them. You’ve got to try and save them.”
Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.
A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’
Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.
Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog.
Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find, I am wherever there is love.
Sigh. I love good people.
Is it okay to cry at this?