Tag Archives: pet loss

Lost and Found

Grief does things to people. It has been bothering me that I don’t have any of the orange feathers from Inigo’s legs. I last saw one in the kitchen earlier this year, and foolishly thinking that there would be more chances to save one, I didn’t pay it much mind and eventually it disappeared. I had about given up when tonight I got the strongest feeling that there was one somewhere in the apartment. I looked in his carrier. No. I took apart the dust trap in the dryer. Nope, not there either, though I did find a couple of his woodchips. 

“The kitchen.”

It was like a whisper. 

But I thought, no, that one is gone.


So I started looking in all the places that I haven’t cleaned in the last two weeks, if ever, places where a tiny feather might have landed and been covered in dust.

I got a flashlight and pulled the refrigerator out, and there it was, on the floor, between the refrigerator and the wall, with a little dust bunny. It’s not the same one I lost. That one was a little fuller. But it’s a feather from one of his “socks” and it is one of the most precious things I will ever have. 

Just when I start to think his presence is fading and that he’s leaving, he reminds me that he never will.

In a Breath

I picked up Inigo’s ashes yesterday. I put them in his house for the day before moving them to the nightstand last night. When I held the little box to my heart, his presence was so strong. He felt young and whole and healed. He felt free.

It feels right to keep them in the bedroom. Inigo loved it there. I think that is where he felt safest. I sleep under the birdie quilt now.

The term “Sunday Blues” has taken on new meaning. There’s not much of a point to cooking pasta dinner when it’s just for me.

Even the laundry is different. There are so few towels now in the towel wash now. Just my bath towels, a couple of kitchen towels, and the towel I put under the front door to keep the cooking smells from the hallway out when my neighbor makes whatever stinky fish thing she makes. The towel wash used to include birdie towels from Inigo’s shelf and bar cloths from when I cleaned the cage. I stopped short when I went into the spare bathroom to collect the bar cloths from the edge of the sink and there were none there.

Because you haven’t had to clean his house in over a week.

The days are filled with moments like that now. Opening the drawer and seeing all the unused syringes there. Taking a banana from the fruit bowl and realizing it’s just a banana now, not a NANNER. Seeing Inigo’s follower count go down, little by little, one here, two there. Opening the oven to heat something up, seeing the writing on the bottom where you can put some water if you want to set the oven to self-clean, and realizing there’s nothing stopping me from using that feature because there’s no reason to worry about the fumes. Or the fumes from Scrubbing Bubbles. Or candles, if I had any. Or Carpet Fresh. Or perfume. Or nail polish and nail polish remover. My hands are a mess from my trip to New Orleans earlier this month, the skin dry from washing them in the hard water there. I had preened the wrong feather the day before we said goodbye, and the wound from the nip he gave me has faded into a small pink dot on my hand.

And silence, so much silence, especially when the thermostat shuts the heat off. Sometimes music or turning on the TV helps, but they are irritating as often as not.

I’m still finding feathers, including two last night, bright green, in the home gym, and may the cosmos smite me if I’m lying but they weren’t there yesterday morning or afternoon when I packed his unused syringes in the spare room closet. My floors are dark wood and my gym mat is purple. I would have seen the larger feather for sure.

Inigo is free, but he’s also here, all around, the breath that blows the feathers out from wherever they hide.

I hope I never stop finding them.

alt text

Fly High, Fly Free

Yesterday, Inigo the Nanner King and I said our goodbye.

We arrived at the veterinarian’s at 11:40. While we were in the visiting room, at 11:50, I remembered Steph, a customer service rep at Birdhism, said she would post Inigo as Chubby Bird of the Day at 11:45. I opened Facebook and it was the first post in my feed.

“There you are, Inigo! There you are, for the whole world to see! There you are!”

He looked at the phone and made kisses! He was so happy!

Shortly after that, once he got used to his surroundings, he let me know he was ready, though he did get tangled in my hair when I tried to pass him to the tech for sedation. He let out a squeak when she gave him the injection.

“That is the last pain you will ever feel, my baby bird.”

She handed him back to me, and I held him on me, over my heart, on the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt I was wearing the day I met him. It was his comfort shirt. She left, and I hummed his favorite song to him as he fell asleep, “Silent Night.”

We stayed like that for 10 minutes. I told him so very many times how special he was, how much I loved him, how much everybody loved him.

Then I pushed the button for the veterinarian and the tech to come in, and I held him and sang to him again after they put the heart needle in.

I looked up at the ceiling, trying not to fall apart and weep all over him, and when I looked back down at him, his eyes were open. He was looking up at me.

“I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. You’re not alone. I’m here. It’s okay to go. I love you. I’m here. It’s okay.”

He closed his eyes, took a little breath, so faint it was barely two tiny clicks, and was gone. He slipped away gently, knowing only peace.

When I called the tech back in, I told her he opened his eyes before he died. She said sometimes birds do that to say goodbye.

Inigo, my beautiful little Nanner King, I will miss you every day for the rest of my life. You honored me in an incomparable way when you climbed over your cagemate, clung to the door, and then flew over, landed on me, and would not come off. You chose me that long-ago April afternoon, and I hope you know how much joy and love you brought into my life. Then you honored me again when you opened your eyes in your final moments here, so I was the last thing you saw.

Mommy loves you, Inigo, now and always.