I can still remember my cousin holding the bird feeder Grandpa had made by hand. Should this go in the auction? she casually asked. Before my Grandma could respond with yes or with no, I answered through clenched teeth. That birdhouse was not to be put up for the highest bidding. Three A’s were paramount – astounded, appalled, and angry my overarching feelings. How could she not understand that was a piece of my Grandpa she was holding.
Or, so I thought twenty years ago before wisdom graced my life with its teaching. Before I came to understand that who we love is not intertwined in material things. The bird feeder no longer in existence, yet my Grandpa as a bird enthusiast still his living legacy. Every winter when we feed the birds, I know Grandpa is pleased.
Fast forward to this past weekend and another deeper cleaning and purging routine. Letting go of the old and rearranging allows shifts for letting in new beginnings. Furniture moved from the living room to the office and the master bed moved for a different view of the stars when falling asleep. Items put in the donate box and other items in storage brought out to be seen. Wall hangings changed, too. What fun transforming rooms.
Down from the wall came that one picture that has kept watch for many years – I believe near eighteen. A heart attachment to it, reminiscent of a bird feeder as more sacred than being only a “thing”. The picture just that and only that – a picture in a frame. Yet, it has always been symbolic of our home being more than “just” a place. The picture contains a room, a window, a bed, and one more key part of the scene. Curled up in a ball on the bed is a dog sleeping. That picture has kept watch in our master bedroom, since Hans, and since Roo.
The dog in the picture not a replica of either of our four-legged children in fur coats, yet the picture symbolic of the depth of love that has filled our home. Wisdom has further graced my heart by teaching me there is no such thing as goodbye. Thus, my heart whispered let’s change the picture, it is time. Ah, but it isn’t always easy, is it, to let go of an attachment to a “thing”, for a thing holds a connection to our memories. And our memories hold our heart which is threaded with other hearts of this Earth and of above. The thread stitching unbreakable bonds of love.
Down from the wall, pause, listen, and reflect have I heard accurately. Perhaps I am not meant to remove that picture watching over us as we sleep. How will Hans and Roo feel, for I know they are watching? Will they think my love is lessoning? Or will they celebrate that I am resting in the certainness that they are both still by my side? That in the materialness of a picture neither of them I will find. Just as Grandpa wasn’t the bird feeder, yet he as a craftsman and caretaker of birds is still engraved in my heart to see anytime I choose, this picture is only one of many engraved in my heart of Hans and of Roo.
And actually, this picture doesn’t begin to compare to reality. The snapshots of our bed cuddlers show a different scene. There is the one of Hans curled up under the comforter, not on top as this framed picture shows. Oh, and it looks like Hans taught his little sister burrowing under covers is the way to go. Both share a commonality with this drawn four-legged soul – a pillow is the best lullaby to sleep. Well, make that pillows, plural, for these snapshots show both Hans and Roo were good at sprawling.
Recently Roo nudged me to share our story. Across my path was someone in grief. Roo wanted me to share about either our Owl or our Hawk that became the sign she would send to me. Her sign so that I knew she was by my side and would never leave. Roo wanted me to share for this grieving soul to safely tuck way until it was time, when this soul would be ready to look and find her own affirming always with you sign. True to Roo who has been listening to my heart this past week, my heart going out to others who are now walking in partnership with grief. Some have lost literally, experiencing a dear one now no longer on Earth physically. Others have lost figurately, their bodies or their sense of self-worth challenging their comfort zone of security.
Affirmation that changing the picture is okay, and her heart also going out to those grieving. Here is the Owls mom, talking. Share in a blog as a reminder, those we love do not leave and when what we know changes, there is purpose in the transforming.
An owl ballad just before it was time to call it a day. And then this morning, the sun’s rays shimmering in a hope-filled serenade. Life may ebb, and in those ebbs, we may find our buoys are the comfort of “things”. Until the grace of wisdom – and an Owl’s song, a Hawk’s flight, or a sun’s radiance – reminds us our tight grips we can release.