Thursday, August 1, 2013

For My Dad

I remember the day before my father passed.  I had just arrived home with the kids from a trip to Disneyland.  It was already evening, and I was  in the living room unwrapping the little porcelain miniature Disney characters I had purchased, setting them up on the coffee table.  My father seemed impressed by them, and I was surprised by his curiosity.  My father was sick, but he looked well to me, sitting on the couch, I could tell he was a bit relieved to see that I got home from Los Angeles alright.  My father could never rest until he knew I got home safe at night, when I was younger just starting to drive, and even now after I moved back home again after my divorce, and even after his diagnosis, I still caught him a few times standing outside on the drive way waiting for me to arrive at night.  And according to my mother, at night, he would not fall asleep until he heard me at the front door.    

But now I was home, and safe, and the kids were restless and needed sleep, and there I was sitting in the living room, with my dad admiring my Disney treasures, not knowing it would be the last evening on Earth we would be sharing together.  Suddenly, out of no where, he spoke of a little visitor he had earlier that day.  It was a little bird.   I sat back on the couch, a little surprised by his unexpected candor. Apparently he had been sitting in the backyard earlier that day, and a little bird came to him while he sat by the lemon tree.   It stayed there with him for quite awhile, keeping him company.  He apparently was very impressed by it’s little visit, and the way it sang to him.  I did not know my father was such a nature lover, and his words almost made me laugh to myself in surprise.  His face lit up magically as he spoke of this little bird, and he chuckled, and his eyes were bright and smiling.  It was a bit out of the ordinary to see my dad this way.  First he was admiring nick-nack souvenirs he would normally not bother to look at, and now he was communing with birds?  Something was different.  I saw a gentle, childlike side of my dad that night, a side that I will never forget.  He seemed somehow at peace with himself. 

To this day, when I hear the sounds of birds singing, I think of my dad.  When I see a bird at my window, I feel he is near.  When I hear a bird singing, I remember that special night, and the light in his fading green eyes. I cannot believe it has already been 11 years, tomorrow since he has been gone. 

Little bird

Sitting on the fence

Sitting in the lemon tree

I hear your song

Luring me into your melody

Oh little bird who comes visits me

I’ve waited for your company

Where have you been?

What have you seen?

I long for you to take me with you

Somewhere far

Under your wing

We shall sing

Together and forever

To the stars

To the sun

That shines so brightly in your heaven


Anonymous said...

Nice story, cousin. Reminds me of a story I heard from a college professor once. A Hupa and Yurok native man from the Klamath River area, he had had a friend and mentor who recently died. The older man was known for his kindness, easygoing demeanor, and simple but meaningful wisdom. Shortly after the man died, this professor was in his mentor's house helping take care of his affairs when a little bird perched on an open windowsill. Though the bird could clearly see the professor, who moved closer for a better look, the bird was calm and unafraid. And then the bird cocked its head and looked at the professor in a way strikingly reminiscent of the man who had died. Something about the way the bird acted convinced the professor that his friend had returned, even if briefly, in the form of the bird. Something going on with those little birds, perhaps. -Tom

Coelha :B said...

Yes, those little birds are, I believe, God's little messengers. :) Thanks cousin for the comment! :)

Lori said...

What a beautiful memory.