Who knew my sister and I would find encouragement in the presence of a female cardinal outside our dad’s hospice room window? While the dove cooed and a deer meandered through the woods, a redbird cocked her head inquisitively as she peered inside the window. In an instant, she darted to a nearby tree.
Silence filled the room as Dad grew weaker. My sister and I held his hand, expressed our love for the amazing father he’d been to us, and exchanged glances. In total peace, and with one last breath, he departed this earth.
With tear-filled eyes, we glanced out of the window. The female cardinal returned, fluffed her wings, and stilled. Her head turned toward the trees, and her tiny feet did a little dance the moment a male redbird landed by her side.
I’m not superstitious, nor is my sister, but we believe God speaks and offers comfort in many ways. We couldn’t help noticing the incredible timing of the bird’s arrivals and their departure.
To our surprise, we learned that not only does the redbird represent the blood of Christ, but it is also said they appear when angels are nearby. When God sends a cardinal, it’s considered a visitor from heaven and is usually a heaven-sent messenger of love.
Though it may sound silly, we envisioned Mom arriving to escort Dad into heaven. Not necessarily in redbird form, but angelically, spiritually.
Did we think the cardinal was an angel? Hmm, not necessarily. Only symbolic. But we loved the timing of their appearance just moments before and after Dad moved to his heavenly home.
Dad loved the Lord and longed to see his bride of sixty-six years who went on before him. He shared his testimony about God’s unconditional love with every nurse, nurses’ aide, and administrative staff who entered his room. He was ready to go and showed no apprehension or fear.
But what about the dove hanging out on the patio?
I’ve always thought of a dove as a symbol of peace. My research concluded that above all other symbolism, the dove is often a symbol of sorrow and mourning and is also a spiritual messenger of peace, love, and faith.
Who, but God, could orchestrate such tiny, feathered friends to appear that day, at that specific time, to quieten our despair and confirm His presence during our time of loss?
What about you? Have you experienced a similar situation? Let me hear from you.