Refuge in Grief – Day 08

These are the guiding stars inside my grief. 

Even if you have a dishwasher, there are still things that have to be hand washed. I am one of those people who wears gloves (non latex actually) while washing the never-ending line up of these items. When I squeeze dish soap on to my sponge, occasionally a burst of a bubble (or two) pops out of the bottle. I find that when I am thinking about my Mom Suzie that this bubble will most likely make an appearance. It always floats and lingers close to me. Maybe it’s the steam from the hot water holding it up, but I feel it is her kind of checking in on me, offering me silent commentary to the thoughts in my head. I’ve even kissed one just because it felt like the right thing to do. I really miss her. 

I often forget to bring in the mail from the mailbox. The day after Jon died, I suddenly remembered to check the mail. I was thinking about him, almost kind of wondering where he was in a spirit-like sense, when as I came up to the black mailbox, I could see the brownish prints of two bird feet that had perched on the mailbox. It really struck me because they were large prints, and I felt like the bird was there but not there, very much like Jon. Ever since that day, I find that I see a bird in flight at that moment of thought where I’m asking Jon for advice or having a memory of a time long since passed. Usually a hawk, solitary, floating, watching from up high. I was at my son’s lacrosse game this past weekend, thinking that Jon was alive and here at this tournament last year, and just then I look up in the sky and there is a hawk in acknowledgment.

Today is overcast and not a good day for a bike ride. It’s gym time. Running is something I’ve been doing since I was 13. It gave me control, it was my thinking time. The track surrounds a 12 court tennis emporium and it takes 5 laps around to do one mile. I usually run about 5 miles, and counting all those laps while in thought, I can sometimes lose count, so I carry a small towel and I switch hands as I go. Right hand odd numbers, left hand even, it’s better than nothing. As I begin to run today on the track, I notice a small house sparrow is trapped inside this space. It is desperately trying to find a way out. There are large windows along the back wall and with every lap I complete, the bird is trying almost every way it can to find an escape: flying high up, swooping down, approaching every window. I can hear its wings flapping over the drone of the tennis playing, and I feel like I can hear it’s fluttering heartbeat. I really want to help this bird because I fear it will die of exhaustion in a few short hours, and that just seems so cruel. As I round lap 13, this bird is flittering along the window sill in front of me, pausing for breath and to rest its wings now and then. I see my chance. Very gently, but with smooth follow through in one movement, I approach this bird with an open towel and laying it over top of it, I scoop it up and wrap it. I can feel it’s racing heart, it’s wings fighting then settling, probably it’s thinking this is the end. As I turn away from the window with my little bundle, I see the cute lady I saw earlier walking around the track approaching. She has silver white hair like my Mom Suzie, and smart-looking dark rimmed glasses. I noticed this lady earlier because she is wearing a light pink long sleeved shirt with a hot pink tennis skirt that reminds me of a drastically shorter version of a poodle skirt. She had a certain swing to her hips which carried through to the skirt and I found that fun to watch as I passed her. The pink poodle skirt reminded me of Jon’s Mom Carole, who wore these in high school. Pink lady is thrilled that I have the bird, it was on both of our minds, as she had set a cup of water on one of the sills to help it earlier. The emergency doors exit is right there, so she opens the door for me. This tiny creature in my hands has become calm. Bending down, I prepare for its release. Gently now pulling my cupped hands apart the sparrow emerges! Surprisingly it flies away seemingly to have spring-boarded off of the mulch on which it was placed. No hesitation, it just flies away, the fresh air under its wings. The little sparrow was stuck, but now it’s free. Pink lady and I thanked each other for helping one another, and I continued my run. ~Paula

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