Tuesday, February 14, 2012
So I teased you a while back by showing you a picture of a bird on my windowsill, promising to fill you in later. I have a story to tell you about him, but I have hesitated in case you are starting to think I’m a whack-job with all of the signs I’ve received since Jack died: the Bible verse that showed up on my phone hours after the accident, the songs that played on their own, the achingly beautiful sunsets for months of rainy Thursdays at the exact time of his death, a divinely-inspired poem that captured the essence of my son, your dreams and visions and experiences that have shouted “Jack is more than fine!”, a “jacked up” Valentine’s crossword puzzle, and a feeling of peace and hope that makes zero sense yet pervades my days.
I thought about keeping this sign, the bird, to myself. But, as I told a friend last week, I care less now than ever before if people think I’m a weirdo. It’s as if having lost a child, there just isn’t much else to lose, you know? I also have a strong sense that sharing what’s going on is important, even if I don’t understand it fully. Important for me in the telling, but perhaps important for you, too.
So here goes:
About 3 months ago I was having a particularly shitty Saturday. I’ve told you weekends are the worst, right? During the week I seem to muddle through with work/school /dinner/homework/bedtime pretty well, but the weekends just kind of ooze with their wretched Jack-less-ness.
So I cried out (inside my head, lest I would scare the neighbors) that I was desperate and hurting and miserable. I didn’t think I could go on. I needed help. Scary images of the accident and my beautiful brown-eyed boy in a terrible situation flashed through my mind again and again. I felt sick about the future of our family.
I cried out, then I did what any grieving blogger would do to while away some time—begin to cruise the internet in my office. I noticed a few tiny fuzzy gray feathers stuck to the window right next to my desk. In my anger and frustration, I may have said to myself, “Great! I need comfort and all I’m going to get is a dead bird. So NOT helpful.” I refused to look more closely because I didn’t think seeing a dead bird on the ground outside my window would provide any solace while I was missing my Rare Bird so terribly.
An hour or so later I stood up to look directly at the windowsill —which is not visible when I’m sitting down. The cutest chubby gray bird sat there looking at me, perhaps stunned from flying into the window earlier. But if it hadn’t been for the tiny bit of feather fuzz stuck to the window from his mishap I never would have known there was anything to see out there, so I was now thankful for that fuzz.
I wasn’t sure what to think. Was this my sign? Another visit from a bird? Was the bird here to keep me company as I blogged and moped and railed? Had it been hanging around all day, for I know it had been there several hours at least. I wasn’t sure what to do next. In such an instance, do I talk to God? Do I talk to Jack? Do I talk to the bird?
I decided to take pictures.
A lot of pictures, with the camera buzzing and flash flashing. The bird let me get super close and still it didn’t budge. He just sat there looking cute as I made my way back to my desk, sheepishly wondering if it was somehow disrespectful to cruise Facebook while experiencing what was most likely a gift of supernatural comfort.
After a while I thought, much as I appreciate my little visitor, what if the little bird COULDN’T fly away? A maimed bird is right up there with a dead bird in my book as far as depressing signs go. I mean, I wanted the bird to be hanging out because he wanted to, not because his wings were broken. So I went outside and walked right up to him. I put my face close to his and then he flew. He flew! He flew into a holly tree next to the window, where he proceeded to... look at me some more.
I felt euphoric that he could fly! I felt surprised that in my time of great distress, once again I was comforted by a little bird. I felt this would make my clever Rare Bird smile.
In a short time, my mind had traveled from the darkest place of hopelessness to a place where I could ponder the humor and creativity of God and of my my sweet boy who, while physically separated from me, still lives on if I really do believe what I say I believe. Once again, I was reminded of how the veil between here and there, earth and heaven seems to be so much thinner than I ever could have imagined. I thought about how we are all in for some neat surprises when it's our turn to go.
But then I wondered, how long do I hang out with the bird? What if I have to go to the bathroom? What if I just have a ridiculously short attention span and am ready to move on with my day? Could I please just take my comfort “to go?” So I picked the tiny gray fuzz off the window to keep, smiled at the bird, and went back inside.
And yes, I washed my hands.