Highly recommend this book!Honored to have an essay on loss and grief in this important anthology. Each day leading up to publication date, the editor Tom Fleischner features one author/essay on the book’s FB page. My essay is featured today, 3 days till release.Here are three excerpts from “In the Form of Birds.”1.
The movement gets larger and has a sound. Birdlike and big, it quickly overwhelms the small room. Still, I don’t feel wide awake, don’t get up, turn on the light, do any of what you might normally do hearing something strange in your room at night. Whatever level of consciousness I inhabit, I know that the movement is my father, shown up in the form he was able to.
Consulting my bird book now, I see that the new birds I listed that summer were the Western Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Canyon Towhee, Plain Titmouse, Phainopepla, Black-headed Grosbeak and Northern Flicker. The journal I kept reveals this note: If the bird isn’t my father, the fact that I’m even noticing him, paying attention, is my father’s influence, so isn’t that the same thing? Doesn’t matter if the winged visits from my father can be verified; doesn’t matter if they are real or imagined. What matters is this bird love is something he gave me.
It was a harsh grief for me, incomprehensible pain. I thought that having been through the loss of my father, when the time came for my mother to leave, I would do grief well, like someone who’s practiced. Instead, I was a wreck. This grief was an entirely different beast.