Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Birdy Weekend: Part 2

I didn't tell all in my Birdy post. Putting everything down then felt like too much. So this is a P.S. of sorts.

But please read the previous, "Birdy's Lesson." Also, for the full meal instead of a taste, "A Boy's Long Strange Path Here" on May 24.

So, to recap, we visited Birdy only a few weeks before she left this vale of tears. She was cheerful. She whispered to me that her cherished mother, long dead, had been calling her on the telephone. Then in the dark night, in the old farmhouse where no streetlight penetrated the deepset windows, Birdy's mother paid a visit to her old bedroom.

Perched on the foot of the bed, clad in a white nightgown, the lady of the hair watched me, seemed about to speak. Then I woke up and she vanished. A few weeks later, Birdy passed away. Before she died, though, something amazing happened. One friend called it a miracle.

My son was conceived.

I had grappled with and come to terms with not being a mother. I had tried to conceive and a specialist said don't risk it, in fact, get your tubes tied. The pregnancy did not happen on the night of the Birdy visit -- that would have been, well, rude. But it happened right after the visit from the lady of the hair.

We were thrilled. But I was stunned. My doctor immediately sent me to a high-risk practice. The pregnancy was easy, except for four months of nausea, which was not the scary kind that puts a woman in the hospital. Mine required me to eat constantly. I know. Go figure.

I sailed through delivery. The obstetrician was ecstatic. "You were a champ! Let's have one more, maybe two! Come on, this was easy for you."

Hold up. Fate had been tempted once. And there was only one visit from the lady of the hair. And that resulted in what one friend called "the miracle baby," who was born right before Christmas, even. If you can stand it.

One more thing. After Birdy died, the large family gathered in Pennsylvania from all over the country for a good old Irish wake. At the graveside service, our friend D.'s girlfriend F. was speaking. She had gotten along beautifully with Birdy. They were sympatico.

Soon after, a bird flew into the circle and started to tease F. Divebombing, in a way. Not threatening, playfully. The family laughed, the symbolism not lost on them. Birdy was there, saying hello to a favorite.

And what happened the following year was even more surprising.

D. married F. Well into his 40s, a longtime confirmed bachelor, this was beyond a shock. But they tied the knot and before long they were the parents of two children.

So this is the thing. The four of us, J. and I, D. and F., walked into a portal of sorts on that cold winter weekend in Pennsylvania. Birdy was on the verge of leaving this earth. The lady of the hair was somewhere in the ether, waiting to escort her daughter home. She showed herself to me, at least in a dream, seemed about to tell me something. At least in my narrative.

My son was conceived. Birdy died. Another life. And then, in such a short time, two more. Life and death.

Can you see it? Miracles, magic, coincidence, your call. We all die. We don't know when, how, what happens next. No details or specifics. Change is the certainty, that's the scary part. I think a big picture, though, is right in front of us, playing out everyday. A Birdy weekend happens maybe once in a lifetime, giving us clues on a marquee signboard.

I see it now when I spy a bird in flight, because it takes me back to that weekend. I don't know but feel we are unending, in some way. I remember that lesson. Circle of life.

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