Today I learned that cardinals make me cry. Sometimes they have that effect on people.
I was sitting out on our deck in the cool of the morning, enjoying coffee with my husband, when I heard the call of the cardinal. My dad made that call so perfectly. He liked to “talk” with the cardinals.
He hadn’t ventured outside much the last year or two of his life. Hearing the call today brought vivid pictures to mind of Dad healthy and strong and still getting around in the yard, busy with little projects, as he liked to be.
And I miss my daddy. My strong, wise daddy who wanted to fix everything. Who was always watching out for me. Who was always caring about the details of my life.
Tears streamed down my face. And hours later now, I’m still on the brink of tears.
This is a part of grief. I just got a letter from the hospice group we worked with. It assures me that all I’m experiencing falls under “expected responses to grief/loss”. I am not alone. Every generation throughout history has dealt with feelings like this.
And with Alzheimer’s you grieve as you go along. You trudge through years of grieving as you gradually lose more and more of the one you love. It’s a trail of loss and tears. It’s a journey through depths of grief.
It helped me as I went through the journey with mom, and it helps me through this valley of grief, to actively look for the touches of God’s love. He sends gentle reminders of His presence every day.
It helps me sometimes to read through memories that remind me of His love…
I remember several years ago, I was visiting my Mom and Dad one day. One of my brothers walked by and Mom asked, “Is that Raymon?” (My dad and her husband.)
“No, Mom. That’s my brother.”
“Oh!” Mom said, seeming sincerely delighted, “We have a brother here?”
I chuckled at the time, sad that she didn’t recognize her own son, yet smiling at her enthusiasm about having a brother with us. She grew up with seven brothers herself, and then blessed me with three.
I was thinking about this today. It comforts me, as I miss Mama more and more, to remind myself that she is peaceful and happy with Jesus. She is with our Brother. The best Brother ever. Our Brother and High Priest who laid down His life to take the punishment for our sins, so that all who believe in Him can live with Him forever.
And our Abba Father is watching over her. He is taking care of her. Mama is surrounded by joy and peace and love in paradise.
It helps to remember these things, when the tears take over and keep leaking out. And when my heart aches and I miss my sweet mama. Mama is in the very presence of Jesus. And He loves her and cherishes her!
And He is with me, too. “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) He promised.
We both have our Brother. And we can both take delight in His comforting presence!
“We also know that the Son did not come to help the angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” Hebrews 2: 16 – 18 (NLT)
And now Daddy is with our Brother, too. And with Mama. What a precious truth to know they believed in Jesus and are with Him.
And maybe the call of the cardinal is a reminder, that Mom and Dad are healthy and strong and happy again. Maybe I’ll learn to smile someday when the cardinal sings.
But if the whistling makes me weep for now, that’s ok, too. It’s to be expected. Sometimes cardinals make you cry. Our Brother understands.