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Stop and Breathe

 In Circle the Child, Weekly Forum Discussion

Written by: Melanie Groves; Circle the Child

I inadvertently stepped into an artist’s date this week. Between funeral arrangements, making sure everyone was okay, planning, crafting, emailing, cleaning — basically keeping ridiculously busy so as to not feel — you would expect that I would sleep like a baby. Those magical kind of sleeping babies that my friend had, not the up-all-night kind that I had. But that is just how I have been sleeping: not much, like the up-all-night babies I had.

It’s 4:44 AM the morning of the visitation. I’m staring at the clock, thinking I could sleep more. My brain has other plans. The birds are singing, almost as if cheering me out of bed, and the house is quiet. It’s now 5:03 AM. I get up slowly and dress in the light of the rising sun, slip on my runners and head outside.

It’s so quiet. It’s a weekday so I expect to see people heading to work or walking dogs or even jogging. Nothing. All is quiet. I turn to look back at my yard before heading down the street to find a trail. The pear tree is in full bloom. Perfect. It’s stunning and it makes me sad. This was dad’s favourite tree and favourite time of year for it and here it is as if just for him in its most glorious state.

I say, “Thank you”. I am feeling my heart swell, I am letting the tears flow and I realize his energy is here, in this tree, and in the feather that I find on the front lawn moments later. He’s giving me signs. He’s in a better place. He is at peace. This gives me peace and I continue on my way.

There is still no one outside. The light of day has almost fully arrived, and the sky is grey — matching my feelings.

I walk trails that I have walked before but this time I actually see, I hear. A rabbit jumps across my path, stops right in front of me and looks at me. We lock eyes. It’s not scared. It’s calm. I stop and stare and fumble with my phone to take a picture. It’s blurry. The rabbit is a rabbit again and hops off. There are little white butterflies that flit above my head.

And then it happens. I am fond of goldfinches. I get giddy when I see them. Dad had bought me a goldfinch feeder last year and smirked every time I would freak out at seeing them. So, as if on cue, in flies one right next to me. I stop to say hi. It flies away and another flies in and follows for a few steps. This happens 5 times. The last one perches on a branch nearby, so close that I manage to get a picture. Then we just look at each other. I swear it’s my dad. He flies off and I keep walking. My heart is lighter now.

I get home. I am still sad, of course, but I am also peaceful. My cup is filled. I quietly enter the house and make a coffee. I smell the sweet aroma and head to my back door to admire my back garden. There, flitting over the Rose of Sharon bushes, is a hummingbird. The tears flow freely now. Releasing me.

Rest well dad. And thanks for our date.

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