(I refer to Sparrow as ‘he’ but I don’t actually know for certain. It feels too impersonal to say ‘it’)
The Sparrows in our garden love playing in the hedge and on the front lawn. They are a joy to watch, but one of their number will no longer be joining them. In July one of the younger Sparrows flew into the lounge window with a very loud thud, and didn’t get up. I thought at first he was just stunned so I watched for a couple of minutes, but when he didn’t move I went out to check on him. The poor little Birdy was breathing so heavily but couldn’t seem to move. I gently picked him up and his head lolled to one side; I think his neck had been broken.
I spent the next few minutes just holding him, trying to make soothing noises and gently stroking a few feathers. Slowly the little Sparrow’s breaths became more laboured, and his eyes half closed. Just as rain started my little friend passed from this world. I asked Mum to get a small cardboard box and she lined it with some tissues. We lay Sparrow in the box and placed him in the entryway because it’s sheltered there. I planned to bury him.
In the previous couple of days I’d been doing a lot of inner healing work, releasing emotional trauma, but I hadn’t been able to cry and release the tears I felt inside. When I went to bed that night I thought about Sparrow – he and his siblings had been playing on our lawn so happily only the evening before. Mum had even commented on how lovely it was to see them. It was sad to think he’d no longer be flitting about in the garden, playing hide and seek, and nibbling on the Clover flowers.
I burst into tears.
Sparrow seemed to represent a part of myself – playful, innocent, open and light-hearted – and the sudden hit against the window echoed a situation in my own life that struck me abruptly and ‘killed off’ those parts of me.
I got to be with Sparrow in his final moments and make sure he wasn’t alone; I was given the honour of being with this tiny, sweet Bird as he took his last breath. In replaying those memories I was able to sit with and honour the parts of my Self that had been through trauma, and I was finally able to express Grief. I sobbed and keened, and finally let it all pour out. Sparrow acted as a Guide for my own inner loss.
The following afternoon I buried Sparrow in the raised bed in the garden. I said a few words of prayer for him, and also of thanks for his Gift of Grief. I placed a little stone over his grave and placed some Rose petals and flowers there too. I shed a few more tears as his Gift worked through me again (and they continue to do so writing this now).
The Gift of Grief can help to open the heart again, after a certain time. That time is different for everyone. Tending to inner wounds and trauma can be difficult, but sometimes we are gifted with an experience that helps to give us a channel for it so we can start to truly heal. I honour Sparrow for his precious Gift on my healing journey, and for those final minutes I got to share with him.
© Michelle Thereze, Enchant The Ordinary, July & August 2020