Whenever we visit my sister-in-heart, I look forward to seeing which cheery seasonal wreaths are decorating her entrance, one on each of the double doors. They remind me of her and how she swings open the portal to her home with a big smile.
Her smile had been put to the test, though. In 2015 she’d lost her husband of nearly four decades to cancer while she was recovering from major health issues. At his memorial service, Linda was pale and tired and I thought then about more hard things ahead for her. There would be many, but probably the toughest would be walking into their home. Widowed a few years before I met her brother, I discovered that a person’s presence fills far more space than the physical form.
Together with her kids, other family, and her friends she traveled the valley of grief. Faith was a shelter for her soul. A year after Greg’s death, she decided to sell their home – the place they had built together, where their three kids grew from teenagers to adults, where Greg nurtured the park-like grounds – the place she called Foggy Ridge. Another kind of grieving began.
On a day we arrived to help with preparations for the move, the doors were dressed with pinwheels of floral color, each sporting a cute pretend bird’s nest. While we were sorting things to keep or toss, Linda said, “Hey, did you see the extra nest in my wreath?” She went to the front door she keeps locked shut and to our amazement she showed us a real nest directly above the decorative one, blending into the design. I touched it gently and it was still wet – a circle of mud, grass and twigs. It had appeared, complete, the previous morning.
A day or two later, Linda posted a picture on Facebook. One luminous blue egg. Then another. And finally three perfect robin’s eggs perched in that avian orb. “Linda!” I posted, “You have eggs!” My heart skipped in delight. A blessing of encouragement from heaven, everyone agreed.
A few more days and another picture on Facebook: The chicks had hatched and sprouted feathers. It seems the timing of this miracle of new life was also perfect. The day she moved, she says the chicks were “all sitting in a tree with mom and dad singing a robin song.” Linda and her chicks fledged at the same time.