One week ago today my beautiful pet conure, Baby C, died by misadventure. One week. Seven days. Time enough for an Almighty Creator to fashion a universe, (with 24 hours to spare). Time enough for NCAA fans’ hopes (and brackets) to be either realized or dashed. Time enough for a Presidential hopeful’s campaign to gain unstoppable momentum, or become hopelessly mired in it’s tracks. Time enough, one might think, for a well adjusted, mature person to fully embrace and accept the loss. Well, I am doing neither – I am instead, devastated almost beyond words. Despite that, here is my endeavor to say goodbye to my Baby C – taken from me far too early and abruptly to allow for the natural progression of the grieving process. This is my attempt to force the hands of Time, as it were.
Almost a year ago, my home and life were invaded by a little ball of fun, love, and humor and my heart and home have been forfeit ever since. Now that you have ceased illuminating my world, I am wondering how I could have muddled by all those years before you came to me. To be sure, life is mildly less complicated in your absence: No need to protect my belongings and clothing from an unscheduled “organic design” garnish – no need to protect my morning coffee (which is bad for you) from your unquenchable desire to “have whatever he’s having”
– no need to creep quietly around my room in the early morning to keep you from waking and beginning your endless entreaty to be released from the confines of your enclosure, waking the entire household (and, probably, a few of the neighboring households, as well). No need to ensure all papers of import are hidden away from your (forgive the pun), bird’s eye view and all-seeking shredding beak. No more constant water changes or the once every three day cleanout and freshening of your enclosure. No need to battle for ownership of the keyboard I am typing on or the mouse I am using. No worry about keeping the ambient temperature in my room comfortable for a tropical bird species. It is true, I am relieved of all these concerns today, but suddenly realize that, in the balance I have lost so very much that the foregoing list not only pales but rather vanishes in a flash of insignificance. Allow me to enumerate more completely – both for your edification and my own (desperately needed) catharsis:
No more loud “hello” each time I entered a room you are in (the timing and delivery of your hails made it clear that you understood you were issuing a greeting and not merely repeating a familiar sound.)
No more battling for control of the mouse and keyboard (I know I listed this above, but, truth be known, those never-ending battles were actually great fun)
No more hearing the flutter of your wings behind me each time I exited a room as you sought to stay with me wherever I went.
No more watching TV together (you were content, despite your indefatigable penchant for mischief and activity, to perch calmly on my knee or shoulder for hours on end, a steady and constant sentinel against the demons of tedium and loneliness)
No more enjoying your hilarious antics as you did your best to gain access to the forbidden areas of my room (inside or behind the printer and/or Macintosh come to mind, here)
No more watching you strut around my bed or desktop, looking for trouble to be had (If you weren’t supposed to or probably shouldn’t be doing it, then, of course, you ALWAYS were) Incidentally, those times that I had to intervene for your own good, I always was laughing from the bottom of my heart.
Although your tenure here was all too brief; you took the place (and my heart) by storm from the moment you entered the household. I remember how you would tap your beak incessantly on my knee when you were sitting up there – I researched and learned that was “ownership behavior” for birds such as yourself – claiming me as your possession.. I also remember always telling you there was no need to lay claim – you already owned my heart and soul…..and being somewhat surprised at the accuracy of that assessment after such a short time.
At this juncture, I am reminded of a song from “My Fair Lady” – as the male lead, and avowed bachelor, Professor Higgins has a sudden epiphany regarding his true feelings about his student and protégé’, Eliza:
Spoken: “Damn, Damn, Damn, DAMN!!”
“I’ve grown accustomed to her face;
She almost makes the day begin
Sung: I’ve grown accustomed to the tune
She whistles night and noon
Her smiles, her frowns, her ups, her downs
Are second to nature to me now
Like breathing out and breathing in
I was serenely independent and content before we met
Surely I could always be that way again and yet –
I’ve grown accustomed to her looks, accustomed to her voice, accustomed to her face
She’s second nature to me now
Like breathing out and breathing in
I’m very grateful she’s a woman(parrot) and so easy to forget
Rather like a habit one can always break and yet –
I’ve grown accustomed to the trace of something in the air
Accustomed to her face”
I can only say I am dumbfounded at the profound depth of sadness I feel today. At the overwhelming sense of loss for all the love, joy and humor you brought to this lonesome old man and, while I am diminished in ways I fear I have yet to fully comprehend, I am hoping you are enjoying living constantly “out of the cage” – may there be an eternity of blue plastic bottle caps for you to play with. I love and miss you so…….. I can’t accept that you are gone and would give anything to be ‘claimed’ by you once again….
While you lived you could not abide my absence – how am I to stand yours?
ADDENDUM: After reading this blog entry and a emotional phone call about the subject, a dear friend took the time to pen the following beautiful words regarding this topic and I was so moved, I felt obliged to include it here:
Oh Baby C – how can it be
Your flights of fancy gone from me.
“Hello; Hello!”, a distant call
No longer heard within my walls.
Hunting, perching, searching wide
Those clever ways you found to hide.
Enchanting me with each new flight
Here now; then out of sight.
In my coffee, on my keys
Off my shoulders, on my knees.
TV viewing side by side
Feeling happy, full of pride.
As days wound down from mischief spent
Off to bed you reluctantly went.
Blue caps, treats and all the rest
No better friend can I attest.
Oh Baby C how can it be?
Gone for now but forever free!!!
dedicated to Kevin Toomey for the friendship you shared so lovingly with Baby C
Written by another friend because I could and should.