I enjoy reading your column in our newspaper, and I would like to share with you a story about the appearance of a sweet little bird during a very emotional time for me. My mother always loved nature, especially birds, and the little wren was her favorite. We lived on a small farm in northern Minnesota, so you could say Mother Nature was all around us. My dear mom died in December 1979. On that very cold day, as we all gathered at the cemetery and the priest was reciting prayers, a little gray bird came from nowhere and flew right onto the coffin, fluttering and chirping away. It has been 32 years since that event, and I am convinced that little gray bird was chirping "goodbye" to my mom.
F.P., Naples, FL Oct 18, 2011
Thank you for your moving account of the little bird alighting on your mother's coffin. Birds do seem to somehow "connect" when a person dies, especially with one who had a deep love and respect for all creatures great and small, and offer spiritual consolation for those in mourning. S.P. of Syria, Va., wrote to me about a blue heron that stood on the site where her son was murdered the day before. Later that day, a blue heron circled repeatedly over a nursery her son used to visit, and the following day there was a blue heron in her front yard. E.L.M. of Bloomfield, N.J., was visited every morning by a bird as she sat outdoors drinking her coffee and mourning the death of her husband. L.C.V. of Bethesda, Md., related that she has two distinct memories of her mother's death nine years ago: "One was just around the day she died. I was in her bedroom and heard a loud fluttering. Approaching the window, I found a bird on the outside flapping its wings to stay put, since there was no ledge to perch on. We looked each other square in the eye and it then flew away, leaving that vision in my memory forever. "Sometime near the day of her remembrance party, a bird flew into the house. I've lived in that house on and off for 43 years now, and that is the only time a bird has ever been in the house. I left the door open and it returned to the outdoors, but left a comforting memory." During times of grief, we may look for "signs" of consolation, which could be sheer coincidence, but perhaps not. Either way, creatures wild and tame can provide spiritual comfort and affirmation that we are all participants in the great mystery of existence and should treat all living beings with respect and loving kindness.
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