Return to the Nest

My father passed away two weeks ago. That is when the hummingbird returned to her nest with the intention of starting  a new family. She did lay two more eggs before I traveled to Michigan for my father’s funeral and to spend time with my mother. When I returned this week, she was still on her nest. I am awaiting the new babies.

hummingbird's returnMany times I’ve read stories where a bird visits when a parent dies. I can’t help but wonder if there is a connection here.

The funeral was good. Many people spoke about my father, and my daughter sang “At Last” (the song popularized by Etta James). A military ceremony was held at the National Cemetery. The flag that draped his casket was given to my mother. My uncle put it in a hand-crafted flag case (made halfway by my father and then finished by a friend of his) and then my brother added the casings from the gunshots fired during the ceremony.

The days that followed the funeral I organized my mother’s basement, particularly the family photographs that were strewn throughout. I discovered 150 photo albums and collected loose photos into two cartons, in addition. Hubby bought my mother hanging plants and a rose bush and replanted an indoor plant for her. He taught her how to take care of them. He fixed her front door and her toilet.

I feel very far away from writing now. But hubby and I did make it to the shelter last night for the kitties. It had been too long. We have a new mom and her five babies. Her name is Galaxy as she is all black–and so are all five babies. If I had named her I might have called her Dionne after the famous quintuplets.

Galaxy and her kittens

We have a lot of all black cats right now. If you’re in the Phoenix area, think of how much one of these little guys could add to your home. We have Nakana, Milo, Ebony . . . .


Please excuse me if I’m slow to get back to blogging. I hope to be fully back next week! xoxo


Filed under Arizona, Blogging, Cats and Other Animals, Writing

72 responses to “Return to the Nest

  1. Hogs and snout kisses my friend. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’ve heard stories about birds coming to visit in conjunction with the passing of a loved one. This may very well been a visit 🙂 Love your black kitties. XOXO – Bacon

  2. Commiserations

  3. I too have read about the birds visiting when a loved one passes on. Even if it’s just an old wives’ tale, it’s a nice thought, isn’t it?
    Glad to know services went well.
    We’ll wait for you 🙂

    • Thanks, J. I wonder if it can be an old wives’ tale when it seems to happen so often. I wonder if it happens sometimes and someone doesn’t notice!

  4. So sorry to hear about your father. Looks like you sought a little cat therapy last night. Animals can be a tremendous solace to us at times.

  5. Luanne – my orayers continue to be with your family. This was a loving tribute to the final touches that each of you, including your Father, put on his years of life. I hope you will continue to share his life with us. Your hummingbirds and kittens are a true blessing in a world where our cycles begin and end in great love.

    • Mama hummingbird is still out there on her nest, although I worry about the temperatures. It was 108 yesterday. So many blessings in this world. I hope mama hummer is blessed again.

      • I saw that temp on the news yesterday! Yikes!! I imagine if the hummingbirds are there they must have found ways to survive the heat. I don’t know much about birds but they might have a cooling mechanism humans don’t.

        Our very rainy May has brought more birds than usual amd I’m enjoying their morning chorus now that sun lures me to the deck.

  6. Oh, this is lovely, so poignant…yet lifting. I am sorry for your life, as you express so beautifully here, life goes on.

  7. when my love died April a year ago, within two weeks a lovely bird made a nest on the eave of my patio and lived there for some time before flying off, I know it was just a coincidence, but I had to smile at the irony.

  8. I’m so sorry about your father, Luanne. My thoughts and prayers are with you. It sounds like the time you spent with family was helpful and healing. I’m very glad, though, that you also sought cat therapy – Galaxy is gorgeous. How wonderful that the mama hummer chose your yard art to nest in! And how lucky we all are that you share this with us. Wishing you peace and comfort.

    • I think the time with mom especially was very good, and I think it was for her. But now she is far away, and I hope she is doing ok. Cat therapy works wonders for me, Jennifer! I can’t get enough of them! Mama hummer is still out there this morning. I’m praying that she and her babies/eggs can withstand the heat. It was 108 yesterday.

  9. Condolences.

  10. Thanks for the update. It was a very good funeral. Do take your time getting back in the west-running brook. Read a little, relax a lot.

  11. It’s so good to see you again, Luanne. I was just thinking about you early this morning. I hope your mother is doing okay. Prayers for you and your family. xo

    • My mom seems to be doing well, but she has been married to my dad since she was 18, so I expect it will be difficult for her. Thank you, Jill xoxo.

  12. Luanne, I’m so sorry. We will meet your dad again when you feel drawn back to the memoir, and we will rejoice. Until then, take care of yourself. I’ll be thinking about you.

    • Thank you, Ellen. Yes, I will be writing about him in the future. He was a complicated man, and we had a complicated relationship, so anything short I write about him doesn’t do justice. My next step with the book is to do certain research, but I would like to try something shorter, too.

  13. I totally believe God sends us those birds.

  14. Luanne, so so sorry to hear about your father. I’m glad you were comforted by the funeral, and how lovely that your daughter sang. One of my daughters sang at my father-in-law’s funeral. Whether the bird is an actual sign or not, I think it’s a thing of beauty and new life when you’ve just experienced a loss, and that makes it extra special. I hope the kitties gave you lots of kitty hugs and purrs. They are so adorable! Virtual hugs from me, too.

  15. Dear Luanne,
    I’m watching an osprey hover over the water as I write this, and it seems fitting. Please accept my sympathies on the loss of your father. While it happens to most of us at some point, it is such an individual loss, absence when it happens to each of us. I hope he is at peace, and that soon you will think of him with more smiles than tears.

    Years ago after a loss, I heard this song, that has given me great comfort. I hope you find it does the same for you:
    My sister Judy is a mockingbird, my sister Beth is a Carolina Wren, My mom a chikadee, and my dad, a very colorful man like yours, a pheasant.

  16. I’m so sorry for your loss. Hugs and positive energy to you and your mother.

  17. I’m sure you have loads of good memories about your father, Luanne, and in time they won’t hurt so much to talk about and enjoy reliving them.

  18. Windy Mama

    I’m with Ellen. I look forward to learning more about your father in your memoir. Take care, Luanne. We’ll be here if/when you’re ready to start blogging again.

  19. Dear Launne
    We don’t know each other personally.. Only do I read your posts sitting far away from u. But feeling your pain doesn’t require the familiarity. A daughter’s love for her father transcends all. Love and pray for u nd ur family

  20. Dear Luanne, I am so very sorry to hear this news of your father’s passing. But what a beautiful story of the timing of your hummingbird’s return to the nest. I am reminded of my Sweet Robin who came to me the morning I struggled to write about my dear friend John, who was like a dad to me and who passed away last November. I am convinced that birds are sent to us with special messages at such times, bringing comfort to our grieving hearts. I can’t give you a hug in person, so I will send a huge cyber-hug and please know that my prayers & thoughts are with you and your family…xoxo

  21. I’m so sorry to hear that your father died. I think your humming bird eggs are an affirmation of the cycle of life, as well as the five new black kittens.. Your father’s funeral sounds like a farewell that touched your heart. I particularly like your daughter’s singing At Last. Take time for yourself now. We’ll be here waiting for you posts when you feel it is right for you. <3

  22. Yes, indeed, the hummingbird is wanting to comfort you and the kitties want to keep you busy. Take your time coming back to the blog. We’ll all be here. Hugs …

  23. I’m so sorry for your loss Luanne, sending you best wishes and take your time returning – enjoy the comfort of those beautiful cats.

  24. My condolences. Take care.

  25. Sorry to hear about your loss.

    Hummingbirds… wow! Here in Europe the occasional hummingbird hawk moth is all I see.

  26. Luanne, sending you big hugs and warm thoughts for this sad period of time I did not realize how close to death he was. I did continue as I wrote this down awhile ago,when he was having health setbacks.
    “Pray for Luanne’s father to recover.”
    You and your mother are in my thoughts and prayers.

    I had a sense when I went back to the last post, how you were not able to answer some of the comments on one of the posts, that your Dad was not doing well. I went back to where you took the shelter cat to your son’s home and how the cat rode for 6 hours and then, she seemed to be ruling the roost over Meester.

    Again, I am so extremely sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I am not a very good friend to have lost touch and feel so very bad about this.
    Sincerely believe in birds coming to perch in our lives, my Grandfather Mattson’s spirit is embodied in a cardinal. I found out in a Guideposts’ article that angels can appear in many forms and there was an author who felt a bird that started appearing after a death was her guardian angel. Every move I have made, from house to house, I have heard the cardinal’s song upon the next morning. Only one November, 1999, ‘he’ did not sing. I was bereft, my sister in law witnessed as I unpacked my good china a little red tail feather, not a big Native American headdress style feather you can buy in craft stores, but a fluffy one.
    Your hummingbird is a bright and cheerful, along with resilient force to feel her energy and strength. She sure was persistent and a great mother, as your father was a creative and artistic, along with strong father.
    xo Robin

  27. Sorry to hear about your father passing away.

    I agree that birds visit us after a loved one passes. Ever since my mother passed away three years ago, the cardinal population in my neighborhood has greatly expanded. My mother loved cardinals. She wore sweaters designed with cardinals and every time one passed by, she pointed it out. It has been comforting to me to be visited by the cardinals.

  28. Luanne,
    I am so sorry to hear of your father’s passing. Take care of yourself in the hard weeks ahead as well as taking care of family and kitties. And I hope you found many good memories in all those photo albums.

  29. My sympathies, LuAnne–losing a father or a mother defies words to express the emotions one feels. This is a beautiful post–the hummingbird’s return, new life–a captivating metaphor for the life cycle and healing.

    • Sharon, thank you. I really don’t have words about losing my father, but it helps to fasten onto tangibles, especially in nature.

  30. Sending you love and light, Luanne. xo

  31. Luanne so sorry to hear about your Dad. I do agree birds visit us. On the morning my father left us. My mother asked him to send us a sign when he reached heaven. That morning we came out to four beautiful Rosella parrots sitting on the railing and squeaking loudly at the front door. They had never done this before and never have again. I hope you are healing and the kittens look adorable.

  32. Our best wishes to you and your family. The feeling of missing a person pops up at unexpected times. So does the frustration at not being able to tell them about something they would have been interested in. But when a person had died after an illness, there is also relief that they no longer suffer.

    • Thank you so much. Yes, I am relieved that Dad didn’t have to suffer any longer. It was a long winter for him, but once he got to hospice, he went quite quickly.

  33. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I can’t imagine it. Family, pets and surroundings help. My best thoughts and healing wishes to you. -KD

  34. Pingback: What’s Past and The Promise of What Lies Ahead | Luanne Castle's Writer Site

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