I want to share a personal story: Earlier this year, my older brother passed away quite unexpectedly and suddenly.
My brother was a larger-than-life powerful attorney in Bergen County, and used to tease me in good fun about my being a birder. Sometimes, there was a bit of sibling tension between us, but always love.
Wednesday, Dec. 14, would have been his 66th birthday. I drove to Ridgefield, where he is buried at the English Neighborhood Reformed Church. I stood beside his grave silently for 15-20 minutes, prayed and whispered quietly about how much I missed him.
As I was about to leave, I said I was sorry for the things we sometimes said to each other and how I wish I could tell him how much I loved him, and if only we could speak to each other….at that very moment, I heard the odd sound of some unfamiliar noisy birds.
I looked up, and passing directly over me was a flock of no fewer than 25 Monk parakeets. Life birds for me. Surely sent as a sign from Heaven. I smiled as I departed. Life birds: an early Christmas gift from my brother.