The Cardinal’s Visit


It’s been a week since Mom passed away. It’s been a difficult week. Planning a funeral is hard and attending it is even harder. But there has been one incident that is a positive and has been on my mind for a week now.

Mom passed on Saturday evening. I drove home on Sunday afternoon. When I got home, I went through the house to the back yard where my dogs were. I fed them and was sitting on the porch petting Bear and telling him what happened and why I had been gone so long, when something out of the ordinary happened.

There’s an old rotting stump in my back yard near the patio. It’s about 10 feet tall. As I was sitting there petting my dog, a cardinal flew to the top of the stump and perched there. I knew the belief that a cardinal represented the spirit of someone recently passed. I thought that as I looked at the bird.

As I considered that it was just a coincidence — that I’ve seen cardinals in my yard before, though not this one with mottled plumage — the bird turned itself, cocked its head, and fixed me with one eye. We stared at each other for a minute, then the cardinal flew into some bushes and sang for a few seconds before flying away.

I have not seen a cardinal in my yard, neighborhood, city, or anywhere else since that one flew away.

Was it a message from Mom? A coincidence? A bird looking to steal some dog food? Who can say for sure? But I know what I want to believe.

There would be a great deal of irony in my mom sending me a message through a bird. She let me watch Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” when I was way too young and I’ve had a phobia since then. I’m sure she got a giggle knowing my first thought was that the cardinal was coming for my eyes.

This is a Google search I did after the cardinal’s visit.

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