I carefully glide mascara on my lashes when her shriek smacks into my ears.
I drop the mascara brush and run towards the panicked noise. I call in a shaky voice,
“What? What? What is it?!”
She runs from her room, hair flying after her.
“Mama!” She sobs and gulps. “It’s Pip. She’s…she’s…she’s lying at the bottom of her cage!”
I move around the corner as my eyes hone in on the birdcage. Sure enough, Pip the parakeet lays motionless, her bright yellow back facing us.
Pip belonged to Faith. Pip’s birdcage even resided in Faith’s room, and Faith took wonderful care of her. A Christmas gift two short years ago, Pip spent countless hours chirping while Faith read books, made jewelry, sang songs, and engaged in a hundred other endeavors in her room. According to Faith, Pip also had “amazing taste in fashion” and helped her pick out her clothes.
To sum it all up, Faith and Pip spent a whole lotta time together, Faith adored the little bird, and Pip’s death devastated her.
Although she died weeks ago, Faith still cries over it like it was yesterday. Today, I’m tempted to get short with her, to tell her to pick herself up by her knockoff Ugg boots and move on. But I remember we all handle grief on our own time table, and I don’t want to discourage that same tender heart that makes her a thoughtful daughter to our family or the kindest friend to her peers.
Watching Faith mourn for her little bird, I glimpse how important we are to our Creator. As His image-bearers, we carry personality traits that don’t surprise Him. If we can feel deeply for little parakeets, how much more does He feel deeply for us?
When I face loss – big and small – and the mourning hangs on, I sometimes imagine God tapping His foot, telling me to get over it already. Heaven knows I say these words to myself. But He doesn’t. Loss is one way Love is made visible, and God does not trivialize our pain or set expiration dates on our mourning. Yes, there is a time for everything, a time to mourn and a time to dance. But in the transition from one to the other, God is patient.
May the same be said of me.
Oh how my heart aches for Faith. I lost a beloved cocker spaniel this past summer and my heart still aches at times. When we love with all of our hearts and open our hearts to accept the unconditional love pets give back to us it is so difficult to let go. Even now after all these months when I look at and love on the little rescue I brought into my life to keep my surviving spaniel company (and let’s be honest fill a void in my heart as well) I still think about the little chocolate colored fur boy who left me far to soon and the ache is still there. Loss stays with us even when we finally find the courage to move forward. I sometimes think that God uses these small creatures to teach us about unconditional love and acceptance and sadly sometimes how to let go. The very same things He offers to us in abundance. Perhaps He hopes that once we learn how easy it can be we will be more accepting of all He offers us. Big prayers Faith’s way that time will ease the hurt and the wonderful memories she will always have of her precious pet will once again bring a smile to her face.
Beautiful words you kindly bring here, Stella. Thank you!
Angela Giles Klocke says
My daughter reacted the same way years ago when her parakeet died. A blood curling scream that had me racing to her room, almost expecting an intruder or something. She mourned for a long time.
I get this so deeply to my core. The longterm process, the idea that I should get over it already, the back and forth. Uh, like I said, get out of my head, Kristen! 🙂
Wow, girls and their parakeets, huh?
So thankful for you, Angela. Really.
Oh my gosh. Nearly three months after losing my grandmother, this is where I am…exactly. Thank you for how sensitively you’re reacting to your daughter.
Praying for you, friend. You’re a dear.
I’m so sorry for her loss–and yours.
Thank you Pattie. xo
“God does not trivialize our pain or set expiration dates on our mourning.” What beautiful words, Kristen. I still mourn the loss of my daughter; I cried about it just last week and it has been 20 years…I love this post, Kristen. You have penned lovely thoughts that speak to my heart. Thank you.
Thank you, Mary. I still tear up myself remembering your daughter’s story. Love you!
Well said, dear friend. Thank you. This was my favorite line, “Yes, there is a time for everything, a time to mourn and a time to dance. But in the transition from one to the other, God is patient. May the same be said for me.” In the transition, God is patient. Beautiful! It is a transition. That transition is gradual, sometimes prolonged, often never over. ~jana
I know you’ve lived this in the realest and hardest of ways. Grateful for your heart and words, Jana.
Amy Hunt says
Amen! “. . . in the transition . . . ” This is a remarkable moment — a thin one — where He, indeed, shows His Holiness.
Quite lovely the way you phrase that, Amy. Thank you for sharing here!
Lindsey van Niekerk says
Oh this is so good. I love the way you are mothering her and in that remind us of how God fathers us…loving, patient…letting us process in our own way!
Flower Patch Farmgirl says
You’re so right about not discouraging that tender heart. Love this, K!
What a great and timely post. In the last few weeks I had been silently scolding myself, I should be further along in my grief. I should be better than this now, I should be able to talk about him with out falling apart. August 3, 2011, 3 days before his 30th birthday, my son left this earth for his heavenly home. I need to remind myself occasionally to let myself feel what I am feeling, there is no timetable for “getting over it”. I believe there are things we never get over, but learn to live with, and hopefully we learn to live with them gracefully. Hopefully we learn to be patient with ourselves, with others who can’t get over it either, hopefully we learn to fall completely into the arms of a loving Father who grieves with us. And with that same hope, know that someday, what is broken here on earth will be restored in eternity.
So, thank you for the reminder, that there is a time for mourning, and that we have an all patient Father who loves us no matter where we are in our process of “getting over it”
In His Grace –