I place myself on the stool at my kitchen counter, coffee at hand, and look out the window. I worry for a bit that the birds won’t come this morning. But they do.
My husband died but the birds still come. It’s one of my greatest comforts and yet it makes me cry. He loved the birds and we both got a kick out of watching them play at the feeder and through the trees and bushes. It’s too sweet to recall sometimes how we’d both just grin, watching the birds, chatting quietly about this one or that.
He died in June, 15 days before turning sixty. For a while I was looking for the Towhee, his favorite, to perch on its usual bush and tweet a bit. I didn’t see it for what seemed a few weeks. Some finches were coming and going, the hummingbirds active, but no Towhee. Finally, one morning, up popped the Towee through the branches and there it was – sitting still, like an ornament, on top of its leafy round bush. I gasped. Tears streamed down my face.
I think I always knew that when a loved one dies we remember them fondly as we see things that they once enjoyed. What I didn’t know, until now, is that seeing those things is of astounding import and can take your breath away. Seeing something as flighty and seasonal as a bird, can be the day’s most profound signal. It can flood your heart and mind in an instant. All of a sudden you are awash in loneliness, the blood surges through your ears, and you are standing there, hesitant to move, clinging to that still-existing part of life that he loved, that you can still see.