A few months ago I read a book named “The Gift of the Red Bird” by Paula D’Arcy. In the book Paula describes a red bird she saw at a particular point in time that reminded her of her family and the God who made all things. I really enjoyed reading it and since then have discovered that a lot of people believe a red bird is a sign that loved ones are near who have passed away. Today, I saw my first red bird.
I got up this morning and decided that I was way overdue for a visit with Daddy Jack. He is my last living grandparent and we have always had a special bond I guess you would say. I love him dearly and miss seeing him a lot. Daddy Jack has been really sick for a while now and hasn’t really felt like having a lot of company, but today I just felt like I needed to go see him and just visit.
When I got there he was walking on the treadmill in his sun room and Paula (his wife) was vacuuming up the ladybugs. I don’t know about you, but the ladybugs have been TERRIBLE this year. It’s like we have all declared war on the ladybug in my family! Anyway, shortly after I arrived we sat down in the sun room and started talking. Paula needed to run a few errands and so Daddy Jack and I just settled in for a good visit.
We both stared out the window as we talked and a few minutes passed by before I saw it: My first Red Bird!
I couldn’t believe it when a few minutes later two more showed up!
All together we saw four red birds in the trees just outside his window. It was pretty awesome! There were several other types of birds flitting around as well, but I have no idea what kind they were.
After deciding it might be nice to sit on the front porch for a while, we sat down in the rocking chairs and enjoyed this view:
The water feature is my favorite part of Daddy Jack and Paula’s yard. Its so relaxing and peaceful just listening to the water run. The creek behind the water feature leads directly into the Tennessee TomBigbee Waterway. There have been a few fish caught out of this little jewel over the years and that’s a fact!
Right before I left, I snapped another picture of the buttercups. The buttercups line the entire property. They are so pretty and add color around the whole yard. All of the bulbs were planted by Daddy Jack and Paula several years ago. They have multiplied quite a bit since then I’d say:
All in all it was a fantastic day. I enjoyed talking to Daddy Jack about life. He gives pretty good advise even when he feels bad. Seeing the red bird in his yard reminded me that time marches on for those of us still here.
The last time I sat on his porch was in late October. I remember how I was a hollow shell of a person at that time. I remember looking at the water feature thinking I was not going to make it another day. I remember being desperately lonely…and sad….and in pain. I remember thinking to myself that I just didn’t have what it took to keep going by myself. It had only been a month since Greg’s funeral and I was just starting to come out of shock. Breathing was literally something I had to remind myself to do minute by minute.
Today, I felt alive again. As I sat there and discussed life with my grandfather I realized that he has more life experience, memories, and regrets under his belt than me and he is still trying to make it. That’s a big lesson to learn. Every day is a new day. We have to keep moving forward one day at a time. We can’t give in to the pain we feel and we can’t give up on our future. We just have to focus on the good that we see each and every day and make up our minds to keep going.
As I sat there and enjoyed the red bird…the butter cups…the puppy playing…the water bubbling… and the visit with Daddy Jack and Paula, I realized that life is livable again. It was a shock to me to see how far I have actually come since that day in October. I moved my arms and legs…and they didn’t hurt. I looked around and saw beauty all around me. I smiled when I thought of all of the good things that are happening in my life. And not once did I have to remind myself to breathe. It is amazing how time helps to heal all things.
Paula noticed that one of the rose bushes had fallen over as we were sitting on the porch. Daddy Jack told her to put some fresh dirt around it and stand it back up. She went and filled the wheelbarrow with rich soil and carefully planted it back in its spot by the house. Time will tell if that rose bush will make it or not. She did what she knew to do to help it live, but it’s ultimately up to the rose bush to either make it or not. People are the same way.
Deciding to live and just keep going through the motions of living are two totally different things. When you decide to live…you put forth the effort to do things. You don’t give in to the urge to sit still and wallow in your sorrow. You don’t let people tell you what you need to do or how you need to do it…you just pull up your boot straps and figure it out. That’s what I made up my mind to do in January. That’s what Daddy Jack has to do right now. It may be something one of you needs to do as well.
All I know is the woman who sat on her grandfather’s porch today was not the same woman who sat there in the fall. Today’s woman has found her confidence, her laughter, and her desire to live life to the fullest…and boy, is she ever thankful!