My Mom died of pancreatic cancer when I was eight months pregnant so when my beautiful blue eyed daughter arrived I briefly entertained the notion that perhaps she was my Mom – reincarnated. But, really, that was just way too much to process, and I quickly let it go thus allowing my daughter to develop all by her wondrous self.
The first summer of missing Mom, I spent some time with her sister –my aunt, at the family cottage along the historic Rideau Canal system. It was (and remains to this day) a lovely island retreat with the summer sun softly filtered by a verdant canopy of leafy green. It’s a birder’s paradise, and many’s the night I have gone to sleep counting the number of times the Whip-poor-will cried out for love (many, many, many times!!!). In telling Aunt Marg about the record breaking 132 calls I’d heard the previous evening, it became the conversation starter that allowed her to talk to me about my Mom, and how much she missed her. She told me that every time she saw a small warbler flitting along the edges of her flower beds she just knew that it was Mom and felt comforted. This notion both pleased and surprised me because I’d never thought of my Mom as bird before. And I had always thought my aunt was more, well, scientific or something.
Years passed, and I more or less forgot about the ‘my mom is a bird’ conversation until a trip back to the prairies two years ago. The weather was warm and balmy, and Mom’s dearest friend Mardy asked me to take her out to the cemetery for a little visit. I agreed and we spent a quiet, peaceful hour with many old friends and relatives. The windows were down in the car as we drove out of the cemetery, and just as Mardy turned to ask me if I knew that Mom liked birds, a little red breasted nuthatch lit on a branch that was practically inside the car and proceeded to “whank, whank”. And just as quickly, Mardy said, “Oh, there she is! “ and we both burst out laughing. We left feeling happy, and knowing we had, indeed, had a visit with Mom.
A birdsong brings comfort. And my daughter sings like a lark. Mysterious ways indeed.