I’m sometimes weird (more than sometimes, heh). Of the people who really know me, this should come as no surprise. I’m also a very emotional person and I get tied emotionally to things that are seemingly small and inconsequential for reasons I’d be hard pressed to explain. This may or may not come as a surprise to people, but it’s how I am nonetheless. It’s how I’ve always been. I thought it would be something I’d outgrow, but the older I am, and especially after losing Ukiah, I seem to be even more emotional now, and even the smallest things seem to upset me.
Take this weekend for example. It all started Friday night. Maxwell Cynn posted an update on Joshua’s health and it completely wrecked me. I don’t know and have never met Maxwell or Joshua personally. Up to a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know they existed, but after I read Maxwell’s account of Joshua’s diagnosis, I became incontrovertibly linked to their story. I read every post and update made to the fundraiser now, and so I knew I had to read Max’s update on Josh. I sat on the couch, staring at my phone, reading the update and I was wrecked, trying not to sob. My husband gave me one of his patented looks and I had to explain what had happened. As a way of explaining myself I said. “It seems so silly to be so wrapped in something so small.” My husband replied simply, in the way he does “It’s not small to them.” This sent me on a crying jag even more. To date, I’ve given 83 dollars in total to the fund, which although not insignificant, is just a drop in the bucket in the $10,000 total they are hoping to achieve. It’s small, but it looms large in the hearts and minds of Maxwell and his son. And this touches and connects with me in huge and profound ways.
Cut to Saturday morning. My husband and I decided to take our daughter to the zoo for the first time. Despite this being a joyous occasion, there was something that loomed large in both of our minds. We never got to have this experience with Ukiah. We wanted to so badly, but we never could. It was so bittersweet, taking our little girl on an adventure that our little boy could never enjoy.
Cut to Saturday afternoon. Thanks to a comedy of errors, somehow I had discovered a little bird on the ground by our house. It was a little hatchling and didn’t have any feathers to speak of. It hadn’t even opened its eyes. It was struggling and covered with ants. I didn’t see any sign of a mother bird on the ground or in a nearby tree. We did the best to clean him up and get him a safe place to rest. After a few hours, it looked as if the mother wasn’t going to return, so we fed it some ground up meal worms and tried keeping it warm and safe. My hubbie tried convincing me that the mother would return and that he’d be fine, but I didn’t feel that hopeful. I felt inextricably tied to the fate of this little bird. I bought it mealworms for Christ Sake! And then it hit me, why. I realized that if this little bird died, it was another being, like Ukiah that I had failed to keep. This broke my heart.
Despite my gut feelings, I let Chris stick the little bird in the makeshift nest we made for him out in the tree for the night, thinking his mother would find it.
Morning came. I told Chris I didn’t want to get out of bed because it meant facing that little dead bird in the tree that I’d let down. Sure enough, Chris came back in with the Tupperware bowl we’d used as a nest, and showed me the little bird’s body. We both cried bountiful tears for reasons neither of us felt like putting into words. This little dead bird reopened wounds for me and I couldn’t help but bleed.
We named the bird Fred. I don’t know if it was a boy or girl but if episodes of Angel have taught me anything, it’s that a girl can be named Fred as well as a boy. We dug a little hole in our side garden and put Fred’s body in the hole. We said a few kind words and then covered it and put a paver stone on top. I was crushed and worthless the whole rest of the day. I kept looking into the skies, apologizing to the momma bird and crying big tears.
I wish I wasn’t as waylaid by such things in the magnitude that I am. I wish the small things couldn’t penetrate my armor and make me bleed, but after Ukiah, my armor’s pretty battered and thin as it is. But at the same token I’m glad I find such things profound and important. My sensitivity, my emotions are what make me me and I’m proud of who I am. I'm proud of how Ukiah shaped me. I’m proud that small things like a bird’s death or a young man’s fight with leukemia bring me to tears and make me do something or want to do something.
I'm glad I'm me.