by Joanne Hill
We might think were prepared to lose a loved one, but we never are. After my husband Kens death, followed six weeks later by my oldest brother, Richard, my spirit sank into griefs muddy bog.
I had just returned from Richards funeral, where I had helped his children with funeral arrangements, sort through his belongings and pack them for distribution. Now I was working in the lower level of our house, cleaning out my husbands things, my mind a fog of indecision. What to save, what to give away? To whom? I was on the verge of tears when something caught my eye.
Fluttering outside the bedroom window was a large radiant hummingbird.
He hovered close to the windowpane like a Peeping Tom. I had to laugh. Hummingbirds were Kens favorite and he always kept their feeder full.
Okay, okay. Im sorry. Ill get you something right now, I said. I dug out the feeder, filled it and hung it out. Although I never let the feeder get empty again that summer, I noticed a curious thing as the weeks went by. No matter which room I might be working in, the hummingbird peeked through that rooms window.
One day, as I was sitting on the deck looking at the pond Ken had dug, I began to cry.
Im sorry, God, I said. I just miss him so.
At that moment, I heard a loud buzzing noise. Opening my eyes, I saw the hummingbird in front of me, not six inches from my nose. I stared in disbelief.
For a few moments I held my breath, then I burst into laughter. I couldnt help myself. The bird continued to hover in front of me.
Okay, Im better now. Thank you, I said.
The bird flew away, but for the rest of the summer he continued to make frequent visits to my windows or deck. The second year following Ken death, the hummingbirds stayed at their feeders or out among the flowers. It was time for all of us to get on with our normal lives.