It’s one of those events that happens and becomes a story that you relive and tell again and again because it’s simply amazing, at least to me it is.
It had only been a month since I lost my husband Jake. Winter was upon us and it was the dark of night. I’d fallen asleep on the sofa alongside the dogs while watching tv and awoke at some point later in the evening then headed into my bedroom to have a good night’s rest in my bed. As I laid there ready to drift off I detected a burning smell so I thought I’d better get up to investigate. I looked about the house and nothing seemed amiss so I headed into the basement for a look at the boiler/heating system. There was so much stuff in the way down there and barely a path to the back area that it made it difficult to get to where the heater was located. Once I got to it I examined it carefully and all seemed okay but I still smelled the burning scent. Not knowing what to do next I just stood there fretfully, feeling kind of helpless.
Adding to that feeling was seeing all the heavy metal equipment, tools, building supplies and so much more taking up half the basement. I wondered how I’d ever be able to move it all out there which was one day going to need to happen. Where was Jake? Why wasn’t he here anymore? Why was I left alone like this with so much to figure out? Why did he die? With the weight of this on my mind I felt the tears begin to well up in my eyes, I began to cry.
In that moment something odd happened, I heard a noise. Frightened at first I tensed up and scanned the space around me for the origin of the sound. Down there in the basement were three high up casement windows and in the one closest to me, just eight feet away there was a bird chirping and tapping his beak on the window pane. This was not just any bird, it was a cardinal. I stood in disbelief! I just couldn’t get over it because since Jake died I’d been reading and hearing things, words of comfort that include cardinals. There’s a notion that is said in a rhyme. “Cardinals appear when angels are near”. What? My mind was scattered and I was confused but I felt could this be? Could Jake’s spirit in some way be near to me? The reality of things told me he wasn’t there but this occurrence had me imagining greatly the possibility. Then in that moment, I got it, it hit me fast and hard and I began to breathe easier amidst joyful tears. If Jake had been there, he would have done what he always had when I felt this way. He would have told me not to worry, that everything was going to be okay.
Contentedness began to overtake the overwhelm and I felt calmer. I realized that seeing the cardinal and imagining Jake’s presence near to me was exactly what I needed and it helped and it guided me forward. I no longer smelled the burning scent either. Now I could return to bed and deal with what needed me tomorrow.
My experience with the cardinal at the window allowed me to feel a powerful connection to Jake in the moment. Maybe it’s true, perhaps an angel was nearby, but even if not, the cardinal’s presence allowed me to got the message I so needed in that moment….. Just breathe, all will be okay.