We never had the talk. You know, the “What we would do if he dies” discussion about our bird. It might have helped. So here it is a few days after our cockatiel Dini has died. We are still discussing funeral arrangements, looking for a proper burial site and asking about the right kind of headstone. Dini has been a part of the family for a very long time. We knew he was getting old but we had never discussed these sorts of things. On Thursday he suffered an apparent stroke affecting the left side of his body. He died on Saturday, May 7, as I was holding and comforting him in my hands. It was a bittersweet time. And yes, he was the very same bird that I set loose in church one Sunday morning in 1981. He became the object lesson of the longest running children’s sermon ever. You can relive that story here.
Dini was present for every meal in our kitchen since the day he was hatched, September 7, 1979. His cage has been by the kitchen table where he saw and heard everything. He always sang every time I came home. Recently, when we returned from a trip to Texas, he sang as loudly and vigorously as ever, to the point Dorothy and I both commented on it. But we knew that old age was catching up with him. He would lose his balance while sleeping and fall from his perch, or be suddenly startled and fall from his perch. He would always climb his way back up, but he took to spending more and more time on the cage floor resting. Pre-planning might have helped, but he never told us his wishes.
I taught him to talk and he added a few words on his own. The phone would ring and he would say “Hello.” He mostly talked about himself, “He’s a pretty bird,” “Dini’s a good bird,” and he also changed “bird” to “birdie” whenever he wanted. He could imitate any whistle and learned to whistle the phrase “Jesus loves me this I know.” He was an ever-present companion. We miss him. I just wish we had talked through this final part.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Talk the talk. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.