Updated: Apr 29, 2021
Non-human friends fill our lives with joy. We start out with eyes wide open and fully aware that pets don’t live as long as people. When they are small, cute, and frisky imagining them taking a last breath is almost impossible. We just refuse to go there.
A girlfriend, Cookie just lost her best friend of twenty-four years a mini-parrot named Kiwi. This little yellow-green bird was smart, funny and in a class by himself. She taught him to count, say his prayers and dunk his Cheerio like a donut in a tiny cup of water. He knew his right foot from his left and never got confused when ask to present one or the other. I always wondered how a bird could do that when I sometimes have trouble keep right and left separate. Hearing the shower running he would occasionally hop in with Cookie and was known to sleep on the pillow next to her if he set his mind to it. Married to a Korean, she laughingly called Kiwi her “avian” husband (as opposed to her Asian one). He traveled with her and their bond was unshakable. If she petted a wooden bird, he got truly jealous and upset. He lived well and remained healthy throughout his life but eventually, his little body just gave out and he died in his sleep.
Grief hangs overhead like a relentless cloud and tinges the splendor of everything we normally enjoy. Slowly and almost without being aware, we start once again to see light and beauty. I will do a portrait of Kiwi for her or perhaps include him in an imaginative, tropical scene looking self-satisfied to return to the land of his ancestors. I’ll give her a copy of a journal so she can write memories of her best friend for almost a quarter century.