Friday, April 27, 2012

A Little Birdie Told Me

Remember when my dear college friend told me during the weeks after the accident she kept seeing blue jays and having the overwhelming sense that Jack was okay? I thought it was neat because although she did not know it, Jack had always been associated with birds in our minds.

My friend did not know that Jack's first word was bird.

She didn't know he made up his very own baby sign language sign for "bird."

She didn't know we had a special group of birds that came to our kitchen window every winter that we lovingly called "our flock."

She didn't know that I got the kids a special Christmas ornament each year and that Jack's last one was a bird.

She didn't know Tim and I had used bird imagery when we spoke to Jack at his 6th grade dinner 3 months before.

She didn't know another friend would write an amazing poem about Jack, describing him as a "Rare Bird" or in Latin, the language he took at school, "Rara Avis."

...and she didn't know WHY this message of comfort for us would come through a BLUE JAY, of all birds.

What she did know was that when she would see these certain blue jays in her yard, she would get the overwhelming sense that Jack was thriving. She would hear the words "Rare Bird" over and over in her mind. And she got a playful sense from Jack that there was a puzzle behind WHY it was a blue jay, rather than another bird. The boy did love puzzles.

I was kind of "huh?" when she told me about the blue jays beause I'd always considered them big, loud, and mean, not like Jack at all. I mean, how about a cute little songbird, even though Jack couldn't carry a tune? Or a tufted titmouse or downy woodpecker-- plain "Downys" we called them-- from our kitchen window flock? Or maybe a powerful hawk? I haven't told you that the morning after the accident, Tim, Margaret and I (separately) saw a HUGE hawklike creature that must have been at least 3 feet across, swooping down and around our house for hours in the maddeningly beautiful sunshine. "Did you see that huge bird?" I said. Yes, they had. We didn't think of it as a sign for anything except perhaps that our world had been turned to shit,o who the heck cared if huge birds were swooping around us? I mean, if one of the world's most careful kids could get swept away in a creek, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a Pterydactyl land on our carport at that point.

But back to the blue jay.

My friend puzzled and pondered...

Was it BLUE because vibrant blue ribbons and bows were soon associated with Jack? Maybe.

Jay as in "J" for Jack?? Perhaps.

Or was it for the baseball team the Blue Jays? NO...Jack was a Yankees fan.

Well, what about the traditional symbolism of the blue jay?

Talkative, able to mimic (acting!?),

Oh my yes. Sounds like someone I know and love.

Here's some additional info:

"Blue jay animal symbolism resonates truth, faithfulness, and solidarity because they are vigilant in their tasks. They also keep the same mate for life, which is symbolic of endurance, patience and loyalty. The jay is an excellent symbol for those wishing to honor their long-lasting bond between friends, family and lovers.

In the spiritual realm, the blue jay speaks of clarity and vision. In Native American symbolism (namely the Sioux Nation) the azure of the jay against the blue sky indicated a “double vision” or double clarity. This visual/spiritual “blue on blue” concept speaks of purity of the soul, truth of the heart, and clarity of thought."

I've also learned that the gradual color change on a a blue jay's feathers sometimes represents a link or bridge between Earth and Heaven. I definitely feel that Jack's life and death are linking a lot of us here to a there that it not so very far away. His death is showing us thin places between heaven and earth.

All of this symbolism resonates with me and helps me believe the blue jay (like the rainbows and sunsets and other birds!) is a generous and creative sign from God that our Rare Bird is thriving.

But my sister, who has seen numerous blue jays on her runs since the accident, pointed out another aspect of the bird that should not be overlooked --the cute little crest on its head.

Kind of like a "Jack hair floop," I suppose.


Meredith Self said...

I think I checked your blog today about 20 times. LOL. Seemed silly to check it again 8:30 pm on a Friday night, and yet....

Oh, jays also mimic, like an actor. :) Though the floop is now my favorite!

With you through all the seasons, ups and downs.

Meredith Self said... mentioned the mimic behavior already.

A couple days ago Amma added bird to her sign language vocabulary. It is so bitter sweet every time she signs bird. My heart is with you and Jack every single time.


spedhead said...

Everything you post something like this I get goosebumps. It's just amazing. It's comforting to know our loved ones are capable of sending signs and communications to try and ease our pain. I love Jack more than any other kid I never met. He is special for sure.

Victoria said...

I think it would seem strange to many that when I need a reminder that God is good, He is present and He is perfect I come to your blog. It really is true that with God nothing is impossible.

Ellen aka Ellie said...

The book I picked for our class library in memory of Jack is called "January's Sparrow." It's not a Jay, but it's a bird. I had forgotten about the bird "thing/theme" until this post. And now I'm smiling.

Megan {The Brick Bungalow} said...

When I started reading this it made me think about a conversation I just had with a friend about birds and people who have passed on. A friend of my best friend's mom passed away and my friend continually saw a cardinal, even once having it stare at her while they "talked" back and forth. She thought it was crazy and that no one would understand. Yet here we are, discussing it and I mentioned that I agree on the bird thing. When my step-grandmother passed away, we thought she came back to us as a heron. When my grandpa passed away, we saw bald eagles. On a family trip we saw a heron and bald eagle almost flying by each other. I don't know about my brother who passed away almost a year ago. I haven't figured that one out. But here you are with your blue jay connection and now you can smile when you have blue jays visit your house. I love the bird, I think they are bright and beautiful and rare (it seems like they are anyway).

Marta said...

Unfortunately I have not been seeing any birds, at least not any more than usual. I am so glad that there are those who are and are bringing comfort to you!

Loukia said...

Blue Jays are a beautiful bird, and your son is so, so handsome.

NanaDiana said...

What a touching reminder of your son. I am sure that there is a fine line between this world and the next and that we are often given little glimpses of that very thing.

Blessings-as always- Diana

IrishRN07 said...

Love, love, love it. I am sure the signs will continue to come.

PS: I saw the most wonderful documentary on grief tonight (yep, friday night and I'm watching documentaries on grief. Single much?) Anyway, it's called "Rebirth" and it's absolutely beautiful stories of love, loss and healing. The context is Sept 11 but the theme is universal. Saw it on Netflix.

Sharon M. said...

Thank you Anna. Just for being you and for continuing to share about Jack. For continuing to remind us what is important in life. Hugs and prayers for you, Tim and Margaret.

New Mom said...

For 28 years now, I have gone on vacation to Wyoming where one of the highlights is to look for animals. We see bears, elk, moose, and wolves, but whenever my family tries to stop the car for a bird, I am notorious for saying,"Booorrring! Why are we stopping to look at a bird?"

Now, because of your family, I am such a bird watcher! I am the one to stop my family to look at birds and I say, "You don't understand, there's this rare bird and a special poem and a bird mobile and sign language and a bird that sang all through a storm, and and and!"

Thank you for showing me the beauty of birds, especially the beauty of your rare bird.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I love this. Life is hard (well I think it is) and it's comforting to think of Jack now being free to fly unencumbered. Fascinating to hear about Blue Jays and how much they represent Jack's personality and values.

Love you!

OSMA said...

I don't want to be Captain Obvious but look at the header and footer pic of your blog...bluebirds. It has given me comfort every time I click into your site. That precious little bluebird leaning over your words inquisitively and again at the end of your posts, protectively.


Formerly known as Frau said...

A beautiful sign of your rare bird........((hugs))

Cassie Bustamante said...

yes, i think the blue jay is the perfect jack symbol! i will think of him whenever i see them now, too. i do think of him on my morning walks when i listen to all the birds, and i think of you and your family.

Anonymous said...

"...a link or bridge between Earth and Heaven. I definitely feel that Jack's life and death are linking a lot of us here to a there that it not so very far away."

I have come to learn that Earth and Heaven are right here, in the same place at the same time. Jack is never far from you. I believe that with all my heart.

Unknown said...

I am so glad that you share all of this with us. It makes me feel more hopeful.

DawnGes said...

Absolutely beautiful--both you and your rare bird!

Love, prayers, hugs...

Laura said...

I love this.
Especially knowing how many blue jays I've seen while out on my walks. Walks which so often have me thinking of and offering prayers for your family.

And the floop?
How perfect.

Lisa said...

How perfect. The blue bird. Jack. The symbolism. The floop. It's beautiful...and a constant connection with that wonderful son of yours.

Mellow said...

This made me smile today. Hoping you are having more and more moments that make you smile. Love the "floop" of hair. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Loved this post. I got chills reading it. I saw a blue jay on my walk the other day. It was so bright. I've never seen anything like it before. I love reading your blog. You are a very strong person. I, like everyone else, feel like I know you.

Anonymous said...

The floop makes me smile, and I just love that idea of blue on blue.

Since you have mentioned before that weekends are rough, I hope that this one contains some lighter or peaceful moments for you.

Anonymous said...

I love when you speak of him in the present tense. It's a little bit thrilling. Yes, he is.

~ A Sister

Katherine said...

Love this post. Love you, too.

Heidi said...

A blue jay, indeed. How perfect.
What a gorgeous post, Anna.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Beautiful as always! How I admire you for yearning towards the sunshine even in the midst of the pain! Hugs!

A Speckled Trout said...

I am a bird watcher by way of marriage. My husband tells me all kinds of stuff about them when we're sitting on our screened in porch. I have never been a fan of bluejays until he told me that when they see something that is a danger to them they yell to warn the others.

Like your family.....they look out for one another.

Elizabeth said...

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." -Thomas Campbell

I just started reading your blog about 2 weeks before Jack's 13th birthday (came here through Momastery). I have cried for you, Margaret and Tim...I have cried for Jack. I am so sorry you lost your handsome and gentle son.

This post reminded me of a book I read by the wife of a 9/11 victim. I realize that you didn't lose Jack on 9/11/01, but I feel you should read this book (if you haven't already). Anyone who believes that those who leave this Earth never really leave us should read this book. Sorry, I am not very good with links, but here is her story and link to the book.

Thoughts and Prayers,

B-Mom said...

I've read your blog for months and have been moved by each and every post. I'm a quiet reader, I don't comment much, but today I just have to. I read this lovely post, got up from my chair, walked into my kitchen where I saw my first blue jay of the season, sitting right outside my window. I smiled at the bird, he flapped around and flew up into the tree off our deck where he remains now flying back and forth between my window and the tree. I whispered hello and ran back in here to the computerto write to you. I live in the midwest, far away from you, but still I think it's a little sign. What a beautiful little gift to see this Sunday morning.

The Dose of Reality said...

The floop. Of course. And the blue. And the meaning. And all of it. All of it is a reminder of Jack, as I suppose is just about everything else. Somehow, though, this reminder feels like more. Thinking of you today, Anna and stopping by to say so.

Michelle said...

Anna - I saw a beautiful bluejay late yesterday afternoon, out my window, and immediately thought of your Jack! I'm not really sure why...maybe your earlier posts about the connection to birds, etc. And then I read this post today. Wow. Goosebumps, again.

Anonymous said...

I want everyone to meet Jack and his floop (he is even cuter than his pics). Heaven is for real, but so is hell. I was just reading in Luke 16:19-31 how eternal our choice is! God revealed himself through Moses and the Prophets, through Jesus, and today through Jack and jays! But...we have to respond. Christ doesn't share his throne with anyone or anything! Who or what are you following? "For God so loved the world, that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 Jack didn't worship a feeling but our living God! When you see a jay, think of Jack, think of heaven...and then ask yourself if you believe in Jesus...Jesus is our ticket to heaven and Jack!

Jana said...

Love this. LOVE.

Anonymous said...

We have never met, and I came upon your blog purely by chance, but have now become a follower. My husband and I are struggling with some grief of our own this year, and I truly feel for you. We have a blue jay's nest in our yard. They are mesmerizing, beautiful, and fiercely loyal. Sounds pretty perfect. Thinking of you.

Kim said...


Anonymous said...

It must be a sign from God. I too have goosebumps about this.

Hope you are doing's Sunday as I comment.


Debby@Just Breathe said...

As always very powerful and so sweet. No doubt these are signs from Jack! ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

I read your post last night, so moved by all of this and especially your words, "linking us here to a there..." Love the way that is written. I've been touched before when you posted some of the bird meanings in Jack's life and since his death. I even bought a blue bird ornament for our Christmas tree in early December as a tribute to your Jack. After reading last night's post, I selfishly thought, "I want a bird sign from MY mom," who passed away just after Christmas, 4 months ago today actually, Dec. 29. Anyhow, this morning my 5 year old uncharacteristically wanted to make a craft and went off on her own. She appeared later with a blue bird(!) she had drawn, colored and cut out and then decorated with Christmas ribbons!!! I was speechless! Coincidence or not, I now have a beautiful blue (albeit paper) bird that reminds me of your Jack, of my mom and of everlasting life.

Leslie said...

Oh Lord, I love his hair.

And everything you said about the blue jay sounds just like everything you've said about your guy through the years.

Thank God for sending birds. I've mentioned before how the Lord has used birds many times in my family's lives to let them know things are OK.

Unknown said...

I love what you said about the thin places between heaven and earth.

I just assumed the blue jay because of the blue ribbons, but it's good to read about those other things, and yes! The floop! You know things are always deeper than what they seem. You can keep digging and digging and always find more symbolism in the Bible as well as in life.

Forgive me for saying this, but you are blessed to have such a spiritual, spirit-filled view of the world now. Forgive me for saying it because the cost is steep. Too steep. I know.

Hugs and love

Michelle DeRusha said...

We get lots of blue jays in our backyard, Anna, and I have to say, I know they have a reputation for being mean and bossy and cackly, but they also have another quieter, really beautiful song. Now when I see them and hear that gentle song, I will think of your Jack, too.

Liz P. said...

I have always loved bird's nests. I collected the empty ones, and used them in all kinds of ways. My daughter died many years ago; a few years ago my friend sent me a page from a Martha Stewart magazine.
"Calliology - def. - from the Greek 'kalia' - the study of nests or huts".
My daughter's nickname - Callie.
There are NO coincidences...
with love, Liz

tacy said...

Even though my heart hurts everytime I come to read your blog, I keep coming back because of the love. I can't think of another example of such a loving community of readers across the whole internet. And your words, even though their written through unimaginable pain, convey truth, honesty, faith, and love as well. It feels wrong to say thank you for them, because I'd imagine that you must hate the circumstances from which your writing comes, but I do hope that it's okay to say that you are in my prayers and in my heart often. Love and wishes of peace to you.

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

Loved this. So glad Jack has a family that can see and hear him. It must so frustrating for those who do not.

Kent said...

I read this last week Anna - I read everything you write and keep you in my prayers. Yesterday I saw about 10 blue jays all day long - swooping in front of me while I was running, driving, walking. And each time I thought of Jack - and you, Tim and Margaret. Love and prayers - Kent

Alexandra said...

Anna, I believe in these messages, these deliverers of how our loved ones are, where they are, that they STILL ARE.

So many things like this happened to me after my grandmother died, the one who raised me.

THey're real, Anna: all these messages are Jack.