I haven't posted this on any of my public blogs, only on my myspace blog. From some things I have been reading lately, I think it's safe to post here and maybe some fellow bloggers will read it and enjoy it, even understand it. :-) Enjoy...
When my dad was dying, I was taking a class about guided imagery. If you don’t know what guided imagery is, it’s basically a way to get into your subconscious through imagery that is controlled by another person telling you where to go – kind of through a meditative state. A person (in this case the instructor), would sit at the front of the room and guide us through a place – say, starting at the bottom of a mountain – and he would guide us up the mountain while we were to picture and see, feel, hear and smell our surroundings. At the end of the meditation, we would write about our experience. Then we would try to interpret it.
One evening, we were asked to picture our parents as animals. I don’t really remember how we were asked to do it, or how we got to that point. Usually, several people in class would be crying at the end of their meditations. This time, I believe I was the only one. I understood it. I saw my mother as a doe. Gentle, kind of puzzled, and somewhat stuck in the headlights of an oncoming car. I saw my father in our plumeria plants that we had on our patio, as a wounded hummingbird. His wing was broken and he couldn’t fly away.
When I got home that night, my dad asked how class was. He was always interested in what happened during my day. Probably because he was a very social person, he lived for when I came home and told him all the gossip from work. So I told him the subject of our evening. He laughed and said that I must have pictured my parents as pigs. He always thought I had no respect for them and bad mouthed them when they weren’t around. I was kind of taken aback and told him, no, that wasn’t what I pictured. He looked closely at me and asked what I say mom as. I told them both what I saw. He understood that. Then he looked at me again, and said to me (almost with a tear in his eye), “You saw me as a bird, didn’t you?” My dad never really read me before that I knew of. This was amazing to me. I explained the visualization. I could tell he was touched, but he moved on. Within a month, he had passed away.
When people in my dad’s side of the family pass, we often see animals who remind us of them – generally starting on the day they pass. When my grandfather died, my grandma saw a frog in her garage – next to the passenger door of her car – where my grandpa always got in. She associates frogs with grandpa now. When my uncle died a few years before that, she saw a skunk – she had always called Uncle Larry a skunk. Now, when dad died, everyone associated him with the hummingbird story. It was weird, because when things needed deciding, or we were having trouble concentrating, suddenly a hummingbird would appear right outside the window. At times of celebration, there was a hummingbird – even if it wasn’t the right time of year, and in an area that was totally not hummingbird friendly.
A few things about my dad before I tell you the rest of the story. Every day – my dad would wear a red 49er t-shirt. He had loads of them. For what seemed like years, he would also wear red sweat pants. My dad was fond of trying to make decisions for me, even though he knew that most of the time I wouldn’t follow them. He was fond of giving advice and trying to help me figure out if a guy was suitable for me. He was more often right than not. But like most people my age, I needed to make these mistakes on my own and learn from them.
In late October, Tyler and I were sitting on the patio of my apartment early one morning. It was very cold out. I think we had just started scraping ice off of our windshield in the morning about this time. I was watching for Mario while he was running around trying to go potty. As I looked in the direction that mar usually doesn’t go, a hummingbird with a red chest came right up onto the patio and into my face. He just flew there for a minute. Then he flew over to Tyler – about 6 feet from me, and then back to me and away…. At first I just gasped. I don’t believe I have ever had a hummingbird so close to me. I just kind of looked at Tyler. I think Tyler felt that he had just met my dad. I realized how perfect it was when Tyler said – “You know, he was wearing his 49er shirt.” I think I was finally getting approval from my dad about my choice of men.
I miss my dad a lot, and I am sure that I will miss having him physically at major events in my life, but I know that the hummingbirds will always be there to show my dad is there in spirit.