I had had a particularly lonely and grief-stricken weekend.
It seems I can go for a few days feeling fine and then - Wham! Out of nowhere I am overwhelmed with feelings of pain and loss.
Monday afternoon, I was babysitting my two grandchildren. Little Nathan was down for his nap. I had given him his bottle upstairs and gently placed him in his crib, sound asleep. His sister was sitting in the living room watching a childrens' program on television. Otherwise, I would be hearing "Grandma - where are you?" "Grandma - I have to go potty!" "Grandma - is Nathan sleeping yet?" So with the TV as distraction, Nathan could be put to sleep undisturbed.
Quietly, I closed the bedroom door. Made sure the baby monitor was turned on. Tiptoed downstairs. Peeked into the living room. Jasmine was totally absorbed in her show. Good. Went to the kitchen to heat up my coffee in the microwave. Just then the dog barked to go out. O.K., so I took my coffee to the patio door and let Whiskey out.
It was a beautiful day. Sun shining brightly. Sky a clear blue. Too nice to be sitting inside. So, I took a couple of minutes to walk barefoot in the backyard grass (no I did not step in dog poop). I just enjoyed the feel of grass on my bare toes, and talked to David as I always do. "Why are you gone? Why don't you come back? Where are you?" Silly questions, but I ask anyway.
Heard a chirping. Ignored it. The chirping did not go away. In fact it became louder and more persistent. So I looked around. A bright red cardinal sat chirping for all he was worth on a telephone wire. I watched him for a while. Looked for the female. Could not find her. Just him. Sitting chirping as if trying to tell me something.
Walked back in the house. Left the dog outside lying on the grass, chewing on a plastic dog toy. Peeked into the living room. Jazzy was just fine.
"Would you like some juice?"
"Yes, please," I instructed.
"Yes, please," she repeated.
Poured her some juice. Re-heated my coffee (I like it hot, even on a hot summer's day).
Finally ambled into the living room to sit on the sofa beside Jazzy, snuggling up to enjoy the closeness of her three-year-old body; but still conscious of the sharp pain of loss - knowing David and I will never snuggle up together again.
Enough focusing on the pain! (I admonished myself). Looked up at the TV screen to see what Jazzy was watching. Childrens shows are short, usually lasting 10 or 15 minutes, so I thought we'd watch one last one and then turn off the set. As it happened, a new show was just beginning.
It was about a little robin who was sad. He was looking out of the window in a child's room. The robin had been injured and the child had brought him home. But now he was well and longed to be outside.
The mother of the child walked into the room, sized up the situation, and told the little boy to let the robin fly free. He obediently opened the window and the robin flew out. But a few minutes later, the bird was back. He perched on the child's finger, told him thank you for your care, I'm sorry I have to leave, but I must fly free now. I love you.
"I love you too," replied the child.
The mother explained to the child that the robin was happy now. It had to feel the wind on its wings, join the other birds, build a nest and go on to a brand-new life.
Nice little story.
And then it hit me.
That story was meant for me. It was a message from David saying he was well and happy - flying free now. Thank you for helping me heal, but I must go on to a new life.
No, no, no, I argued with myself. I must be going nuts. How can that be?
It's the timing. The precision of the timing. I had just sat down at that precise moment to cuddle with Jasmine and look up at the television. Had I not let the dog out, heated my coffee, watched that bird, put Nathan down earlier or later, etc. etc., I would have missed that show.
It's always the timing that brings home the message.
Oh, and I wonder what the cardinal had been trying to tell me?