In Memory of Tavi
March 16, 1984 - November 27, 1996


Poem written by Karla M. Bertram and shared with us by Kim Dunning.

The Greatest Gift
By Karla M. Bertram, 11/23/96

I always knew this time would come,
From the very instant our eyes first met.
How I loved you then! How I love you now!
I made a promise then and I keep that promise now . . .
You will not suffer from a pain that will not heal;
You will not know the loss of a life remembered, now gone.

It is for me alone to make this decision,
The price for the bright joy and pure laughter
You brought me during the time we shared.
I am the only one who can decide when it is time.
When my hope dies, and my fears ride high,
Just when I need you most, I must let you go.

It is for you alone to tell me when you are ready.
For without your guidance, I will no know
When to lay my grief, my guilt, my anger,
My sorrow and my selfish heart aside
And give you this last gift, this greatest gift.
Your eyes will speak to mine, and I will know.

The pain of this moment is excruciating.
Tears stream down my face in a river of sorrow,
And my heart drowns in a pool of grief.
For you have spoken, and I have listened,
And unlike other decisions I have made.
This one brings no relief . . . no comfort . . . no peace.

For if there's one thing you've taught me,
If there's only one thing I've learned. . . .
Unconditional love has a condition after all,
I must be willing to let you go, when you speak to me
I must be willing to help you go, if you cannot go alone.
And I must accept my pain so you can be free of yours.

Go easily now, go quickly now,
Do not linger here, it is time for you to leave.
Go find your strength, go find your youth.
Go find the ones who've gone before you.
You are free to leave me know, free to let your spirit soar
Rest easy now, your pain will soon be gone.

I pray I will find comfort in my memories . . .
In the dark and lonely days ahead.
I cannot say I will not miss you, I cannot say I will not cry.
For only my tears can heal my broken heart.
But, I promise you this: as long as I live,
You will live, alive in my mind, forever in my heart.

So I give you this last gift, all I have left to give,
And this will be my greatest gift . . . sending you away.
It is the measure of my unconditional love . . .
For only the greatest love can say,
"Good-bye, go find the bridge, we'll meet again,
Loving you has been the greatest gift of all."

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Updated September 1, 1998. TBCR is registered with Tompkins County, Ithaca, NY. All material ©1996, 1997, 1998 by Beth and Chuck Goelzer Lyons, Tavi@bcrescue.org. All text and photographs are copyrighted. All rights reserved. Do not copy.