An errant feather.
A stray bit of seed.
The ding of a toy bell.
The chirp of another bird…not mine.
It takes only the smallest reminder to bring forth a wave of emptiness…each time.
And yet, the words for tonight’s blog have been with me all week:
It was his time to let go. Now, it is my time to let him go.
But after sixteen years of his proud, exuberant personality, I’m having a great deal of trouble letting him go.
Because I’m reconciling with the fact that I’ll never again see all four ounces of him march down the hallway as if on a mission. Or watch him walk right up to a thirty-five pound dog and nip him on the nose. Or perch on my book and lean over as if carefully reading upside down. (He was an unspoken fan of Jane Austen’s work.)
He was the embodiment of a big bird in a little lovebird’s body, and I adored him for it.
Now, it is too quiet in the house. No one chirps or rings bells in greeting. And every time I go to talk to him, I encounter only the emptiness that accompanies loss.
It was his time, and I must let him go.
I remember being afraid of these words nearly a decade ago as I stood in my parents’ back yard, listening to him chirp delightedly from a neighbor’s tree, several houses away. While I was cleaning the summer room, he had flown out and decided to visit with some of the local birds. Given the size and distance of the tree, I knew then that there was a possibility I’d never see him again, that he’d abscond with his new friends and spend the rest of his life in the trees.
But he didn’t. Instead, he flew back to me, unceremoniously landing on my head and remaining there as I proceeded to his cage.
I distinctly remember reveling in the fact that he could have left me that day, and I would have had to let him go.
But he chose to stay with me.
And now I can’t completely let him go.
I realized this the other day as I selected a new fabric for my classroom bulletin board, and I was reminded of it yesterday as I carefully anchored the fabric to the panel.
Stepping back, I couldn’t help but smile at the array of birds gracing my classroom wall. Suddenly, I felt less alone.
It was then that I knew he had once again flown back to me.
Somehow, I’d managed to both let go and hold on.
And while this doesn’t erase the emptiness created by his physical absence, it does ease the hurt of losing a life-long friend.
Released, but never forgotten.