I was introduced to the term “pathetic fallacy” in my grade ten English class. We were told that the phrase was used when weather mirrored a character’s emotion in the story we were reading. Today that term popped into my head as I drove through town, the dark, churning black clouds reflecting the absolute devastation I felt after hearing a dear woman, a dear friend had passed away this morning.
The irony of my learning of her death did not escape me. I had called the hospital to find out if I was able to visit her on Friday morning, or at least spend time with her husband while he spent his day in the ICU waiting room. The nurse felt that the family would not mind if she informed me of her passing. My breath caught in my throat and for a moment I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. The tears came soon after the nurse’s words settled into my ears. She was gone. I can only be thankful that I had a brief moment to hold her hand and tell her that I loved her before the ambulance whisked her away from the lodge last week.
Her age and her illness have no relevance to my overwhelming sense of loss. She was the most lively spirit I have ever met. She and I were two peas in a pod and I cherished the time I got to spend with her. She looked every bit the part of a polished, regal lady but she wouldn’t hesitate to drop an f-bomb here and there when she felt it appropriate. She was grace personified and I shall miss her radiant smile and that slight smirk that would accompany those frequent f-bombs.
I spent the drive home today barely able to see through my tears. I had gone to let my dog out and, when I reached my entrance way, I was greeted by a tiny brown bird inside the entrance way perched on my cake pans. It fluttered its wings and flew to the nearest window sill. After a few attempts to retrieve the little bird with my golf ball retriever, the bird ended up on the floor behind some boxes and seemed to wait patiently for me to reach in and pick it up in my hand. The bird did not hesitate to grip my finger with its warm talons and let me carry it outside. For five minutes, I talked to the bird and gently stroked its feathers. It didn’t fly away. Instead, it closed its eyes and I just stared at it.
I am a big believer in signs and I truly feel that this tiny bird was Joan’s way of saying, “I’m okay. I got my wings and I’m not suffering any more”. When I finally put the bird on the table on my deck, it sat and stared back at me for a few minutes, hopped across the table, pooped on the glass table top and then flew away. It makes me smile to think that she still got the last word and left me with laughter and not tears.
I shall miss you, sweet lady. We didn’t know each for a long time but we knew each other well and you will always have a big place in my heart.