I am excited to share my third art journal page. I used the Wings prompt from week 22 of Journal 52. There was no question what I would do for this one, but first, let me tell you a story (you may want to grab a tissue and be warned, it's long).
Back in March of 2014 my mother became ill and bedridden. She had little to no strength and she spent her hours confined to her bedroom, scared and depressed. The only thing that she found comfort in was watching the birds that were in the bushes outside her bedroom window. We set up a bird feeder right outside her window so she could see all the different birds that would visit. She particularly loved watching the Cardinals, and there were many! I don't think there was a time when I was there that there wasn't a Cardinal in her feeder. It was one of the few things that made her smile.
On June 27, 2014 my mother passed. It was the darkest day of my life. I began praying everyday that she would send me a sign that she was o.k. The sign I asked for was a Cardinal in my own bird feeder since I never saw any in my feeder. I figured if a Cardinal would just show up in my feeder I would know she was fine. I watched my feeder constantly, but as the days turned into months, not a Cardinal was to be found. I gave up hope.
The months went by and all the "firsts" came and went, I struggled through the first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, and my birthday, all without my mother. My mom's birthday came up on February 28th and I was having a really tough time. A very good friend of mine invited me to her house for some crafting and card making to keep my mind off things. She had a beautiful craft room with lots of windows and a bird feeder that was attracting lots of turkeys that day. At one point while I sat playing with some markers my friend said to me "is that a Robin?" I turned around, and there it was, a beautiful red Cardinal staring at me through the window. My heart swelled and I knew it was her, finally letting me know she was o.k. The Cardinal only stayed for a brief moment. But that was all I needed.
The months continued to fly by and I continued to get more and more depressed. Going on with life without my mom was more difficult that I could have imagine. She was the one person in the world I knew truly loved me. I could tell her anything and she just had a way of listening, of caring, of commiserating. Without her I felt alone and unloved. In early May I had one of my darkest days. My friends rallied around me, trying to be supportive, but it was all I could do to stay afloat. I sat on my couch, crying, wishing so bad to that I could talk to my mom. And that's when I saw it. The most beautiful red Cardinal, sitting in a branch near my bird feeder. It was the first time I had EVER seen a Cardinal near my feeder. I could almost feel her with me, telling me it would be o.k.
So I pulled myself together and kept at it. Still missing her, but trying harder to move on. I had some good distraction as my son graduated from high school in late May. Of course the thought of sending him to college didn't help my all ready depressed state. The anniversary of my mom's death came on a Saturday. The day was blur as I tried to keep myself busy. I struggled through the day and looked forward to going to bed so I could ease the pain.
The next morning I sat in my recliner, being my usual depressed self. My husband was sitting on the couch across from me when he mentioned a red bird was sitting in the tree. I turned around and there it was, the Cardinal. This time it stuck around for a bit, and had a friend with it. They eventually flew off together. I have a suspicion who the other one was, but that's a story for another time.
So that's my story. Three dark days, three Cardinal sightings. I believe in my heart that each time it was her, trying to reach out to me, trying to let me know it would be o.k. I'm trying as best I can to do just that.
I'm impressed by anyone who's read this whole post. So now you know the inspiration behind my journal page.