I recently assisted a little geriatric terrier.  He had passed peacefully, curled up on the foot of his mama’s bed.  As we sat in silence after he passed a Cardinal landed at the feeder hanging just outside the window.  He lingered there for quite some time, eating and peering into the window. The woman went on to tell me that when her husband was in hospice care, a similar cardinal visited the feeder outside of her husband’s window.  She felt comforted by the bird’s presence and felt that it was her guardian angel.

In the fall, I helped a loveable, senior black Labrador pass peacefully. His family gathered around him on the deck as he drifted into a deep and final sleep.  As he took his last breath, a small flock of Cardinals took off from their perch in the birch trees. It was beautiful and too unusual to ignore as a chance. I looked it up when I got home and the Cardinal is typically not a social or flock bird, expect in harsh winters.  But, this was a beautiful, warm sunny fall day.

It is believed that a cardinal is a spiritual messenger sent from a loved one who has been lost.  I truly believe that those that we have loved and lost are never truly lost. There are signs all around us that they are here with us. Maybe the sign comes through a symbolic animal, like these stories or a special song, memory, or feeling. If we are open, patient, and observant we will see these signs or messages and they can bring us strength, comfort, or solace.