Some people will think this is crazy, just a string of coincidental occurrences that I’ve bent into having larger-than-life significance. Others will understand, probably because something similar has happened to them.
I think seeing a Cardinal bird is a sign from my mom that she is still with me spiritually even though she died in 2006. Not every Cardinal, just the ones that talk to me. KIDDING. I’m not that kind of crazy…yet.
Here’s why I connect Cardinal sightings and my mom:
First of all, my mom was a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan and loved birds, especially hummingbirds and redbirds. FYI: while she was in the hospital trying to overcome pneumonia in both lungs in the fall of 2006, the Cards made a late-season run and then less than a month after she died on Oct. 6, St. Louis won the World Series.
Secondly, since she passed away I’ve had several sightings of redbirds at moments when I needed a connection to my mom. If this happened every other month or if I lived in an area where lots of Cardinals are always flying around, I’d be willing to chalk it up to coincidence. But it happens only a couple times of year and at eerily appropriate times.
I started keeping a journal – sporadically at best – a couple years after my mom died so that I could jot down memories of her as they popped into my head. I was (and still am) worried about forgetting things about her.
The first entry I have about a Cardinal sighting is from late spring 2008:
One morning not long after Mother’s Day – a time of year that makes me miss her more than usual – I was getting ready for work. I’m not a morning person so I am not one to just meander around in the a.m. – I get up in time to hurry to get ready and get where I need to be. So it was unusual that on this day I took the time to pull back the bedroom curtain and actually look out into the yard. On our fence sat a redbird. It stayed for a good 5-7 minutes, flipping its feathers around sorta like it was showing off. I thought to myself: maybe this is my mom saying that she was much happier now that she is without the limitations of living with emphysema.
A couple of months later, I made an entry that while Lee and I were walking our dog and talking about my mom, a Cardinal flew by us. We take a lot of walks and this isn’t a common occurrence.
Here are other entries.
My Aunt Linda, Uncle Skip and my stepdad Charles came to visit me in Wichita the weekend after my birthday. It was the first time my aunt and uncle had visited me in Wichita since helping me move here in December 1994. It was the first trip my stepdad had made without my mom. While they were here, I saw a Cardinal right outside my dining room window.
I was in Kansas City just for a couple of hours today. I was driving by a building that use to be a restaurant where I once ate with my mom and Charles (KC Masterpiece). I got really sad thinking of that memory. Then, I drove around the building to get to a fast food drive-thru and a Cardinal was sitting there while I ordered.
I went all fall wishing I would see a Cardinal but I didn’t. It was Christmas Day at my Uncle Skip’s when I finally did. It was our first Christmas without my Aunt Linda, who had died in October. My Grandma Ann had called to talk to everyone and when I got up to get the phone and take my turn to talk to her, I saw a redbird perched on the fence right outside the dining room. It was there the entire time I was on the phone.
Another redbird sighting at Christmas. I had just told Lee that I had really been hoping to see a Cardinal while we’d been driving through the countryside to see my dad and stepmom. We were back in Columbia and heading over to my stepdad’s house when I said that. Within five minutes and just a block from his house, Lee spotted a Cardinal in a bush on the side of the street.
(I’m pretty sure there was a Cardinal sighting or two in 2011 and 2012 but I didn’t make a journal entry and I can’t remember any at the moment.)
When Lee got up on his birthday today (April 27), he went to the kitchen to get breakfast. He saw a Cardinal in the backyard. He came to the bedroom to tell me. When I got up to look out our window, I watched the redbird fly to the tree we had planted just a few years ago in my mom’s memory. The bird stayed there long enough for me to get my camera and get to the kitchen to snap a photo.
OK, I’ve always said that I think the Cardinal sighting thing is cool because “it’s not like we have Cardinals living in our backyard and see them all the time.” Well, for the first time EVER we do have Cardinals living in our backyard!
Lee was laying in the hammock in our backyard this past Saturday, and after I got home from the gym I went out to talk to him. While sitting there, I noticed a female Cardinal, then a male … I sat there long enough to notice that they were pretty interested in the bush growing on our fence. After they had flown away, I went over and peered in to see a nest of babies. This has been a great opportunity to take some beautiful photos of the parents (see images below) and it’s been awesome to get to see Cardinals so much.
So I guess I’m not going to connect having this family nesting in our yard to a sign from my mom, and there are a few other times when I’ll see a redbird but it doesn’t necessarily feel connected. But it’s hard for me to write off the sightings I’ve shared above to coincidence.
If you think I’m crazy, keep it to yourself ;-) If you’ve had something similar happen, please share in the comments!