We bid Tori a “bye-bye birdie” on Tuesday night.
All around the sights and sounds of vibrant a stark contrast to the drab inside my heart, as we prepared for the Memorial Service and “burial at River” I’d requested of my veteran-sailor hubby.
Here, children skipping, jumping, and laughing alongside their parents as they strolled past us on local footpaths.
There, a man stowing gear in a dripping power boat pulled from the water.
“If anyone asks–you’ve got some explaining to do.” My hubby said glancing back at the patrol car behind us as we walked to the end of the dock.
In the nine days devoted to caring for the dove egg orphan, there had been zero mishaps. Or even close calls.
Only minutes before the funeral, I’d held the shell to the outdoor light.
Doubt crept in.
What if she needs more time?
Having extended our commitment to Tori’s survival by six days, over a week past the two Wikipedia deems a normal gestation period–was it wishful thinking?
Here’s where memory fogs…
Just as I knelt to put her back on her shredded-paper-packing material nest she rolled out of my hand.
A reflexive cry, then eyes squeezed tightly shut.
I stood frozen, terrified to open them. Afraid not to.
Yank. Up. Courage.
The shell cracked neatly in half revealed the truth:
She’d already succumbed to the second law of thermodynamics.
Have you ever really noticed the constant juxtapositions of life’s every, every, minute?
Living and dying; laughing and crying; hatching and halting.
Reflecting on the past 9/60 of 4&5/2017, I compiled a list of gains in spite of the loss:
- Anticipation. The hope (and faith!) for something more.
- Joy! Strangers, though surprised, were happy to offer their opinions about: “Can birds smell?” A debate sparked between my hubby and me. The results were mixed. Google it. Hint: Audobon.org
- Awe. Participation in God’s creation ignited childlike wonder.
- Our youngest son, living in Fifth-gear-land, actually stopped everything to help me (via cell phone) set up an incubation station and encouraged me to seek answers online on how to care for Tori as a feathered friend.
- Like April, the Giraffe, Tori garnered her own fan base including a neighbor and several of my friends and blog followers. One, all the way in Switzerland.
- Two friends, a silver, and a gold flew to my side that first day to confirm or deny chances for life. We laughed and wept and prayed as we chatted, got caught up, and discussed ways to also help humans in crisis.
- A prompt. Life is fragile. Handle with care.
- Inspiration. If God cares about the birds of the air and not a sparrow (or a dove!) falls without Him seeing, think about what that means about how he feels about us (Check out Psalm 139)!
- Patience. Something about the not knowing stretched this virtue in me.
- Outward focus. Nurturing Tori forced me to think about something besides a broken relationship in a close relative’s life and other circumstances I have no control over.
- Acceptance. Letting go of expectations, disappointments, and regret. There was something reverent and beautiful and transcendent about releasing Tori into the vast waters of the Mighty Columbia.
So. Even though things turned out differently than I had hoped, I’m choosing to focus on the larger events set in motion in the brief time shared with one of God’s smaller creatures.
Bereft now occupies Tori’s corner of our living room and the tears flow fast.
But I know the time and effort invested weren’t wasted.
In fact, I’m beyond grateful for every good thing.