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*Trigger Warning: This post contains some sad pictures and topics on sickness and death.
JC’s siblings who died too young. Last month, I marvelled over the births of five tiny parrotlet lives. Unfortunately, only one of them survived. After asking around I discovered that this is a common scenario for birds, especially if it’s the parents’ first clutch. “Live and learn” is harsh in the bird kingdom!
We gave them temporary names on the fly, and the sole survivor was JC (named after a friend who shares the same birthday). It was a blessing to watch her grow bigger at an astonishing speed, and she was starting to look a lot like her mother. The others were Archibald (named after its father, Archer), Sacha (it had red eyes, and shared the same birthday with another friend), Pepper (named after its mother, Piper) and the first one died before we could name it. Archibald died in my hands, which was very sad. I was stroking his tiny head to comfort him, and he laid it down to rest forever.
JC did not make it in the end. I woke up in tears when I found her stiff body. She died with her eyes open 🙁 I actually wanted to rewrite the whole section above, but decided to leave it in for contrast. ‘Remembering’, after all, is a collection of transient thoughts that shifts with every moment. It’s a stark reminder that life is both precious and fragile. Every and any beautiful moment is worthy of celebration.
In Memory of Archer & Piper’s First Clutch:
Enjoying a headrub.
for my sickly parrotlets. Sorry if I’ve been talking too much about my birds, but it’s been a pretty eventful few months for them. I tried to prevent them from bearing children at such a young age, but nature does as it wills. As a result, their tiny bodies seem to be over-taxed, on top of some negative viral or environmental effects. Piper has been all fluffy and sleepy, although Archer looks to be on the mend (fingers crossed).
I’ve been handfeeding the baby and parents about four times a day, and it’s surprisingly tiring! It takes me 1.5 hours each time, as I need to prepare the formula, boil water to keep the food warm, pump it drop by drop into their tiny mouths, then wash up after. My hands have become sore as a result, and I even had difficulty drawing formula up a 1ml syringe. It also triggered some minor flares, but I count myself fortunate to be able to rest whenever I need to. This made me a tad depressed, as I wondered how I was going to manage a real human kid in future, if ever.
Once again, I decided to leave what I had written intact, in memory of the caring process. Archer died a day after J.C., and it was a huge loss for us. He was one of our favourites, full of curiosity, sass and a good bite! When I think of him, this silly chant plays in my head, “Archer-cher-cher-cher-cher”. He loved to say that, on top of ‘good boy’ and ‘naughty boy’. He also loved to imitate all sorts of sounds, from the squeak of the sponge against dishes, to the creaky spritz of a spray bottle. His nickname was ‘Blue Monster’, because he could be quite the brat! We will miss him a lot.
Meanwhile, Piper is still under intensive care, and we got her a heat lamp under the vet’s advice. It seems to be helping a little, on top of the extra probiotics and medications, although her beak is becoming warped for unknown reasons. Hang in there, sweet Piper.
Archer, still caring for his little lady up until he died.
my partner’s father who was in town. Okay technically this happened last month, but he’s still here for a few days in May so that counts? 🙂 He visits for a couple weeks twice a year, and seems to be blending into local life pretty well! I hate having people live with us for an extended period of time as I value my solitude and privacy, but I’d say that he’s an exception! He’s more like a friend who’s easy to get along with and doesn’t judge, so I feel comfortable having him around. The banter has been fun, and I’m happy for my partner to have family here, plus someone to watch the rugby with because I just don’t get it 😉
my days, not planning them. I have a pack of Art Oracle cards that’s pretty neat! I was opening one every morning for a period of time for some fun and insight. There are three short quotes on the cards from various artists, one for work, life and inspiration. I like this particular line from Charles and Ray Eames, “Design your days – don’t plan them”.
That got me thinking as to how I write todo lists for myself every day (actually, these don’t really help me, but I just like playing around with the colours, stickers and washi tape in my bullet journal 😉 ). Back in design school and when I was working in advertising, I learned that design isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s about how you put elements together (on a screen, in my case), to impact the viewer in a desired manner. It’s about creating an experience, with a positive feeling as the goal most of the time.
This is also how I interpret this quote; I’d like to try and make my days less of a to-do list and instead, design my tasks around how I want it to make me feel. For example, if I want to feel peaceful today, how can I organise my todo list such that it generates this emotion? What activities or non-activities can I schedule in to help me achieve this aim? Is there anything I need to strike out, in order to maintain peace?
that I can make a living from my writing one day. p.s. I decided to use this prompt to answer Claire’s question on my Twitter Q&A, too! (She runs a great blog over at: painpalsblog.wordpress.com)
Sheryl – how do you manage to support so many other bloggers, whilst writing a fantastic and dealing with your own illness??
— Claire(PainPalsBlog) (@ClaireSaul1) April 21, 2018
I haven’t done much pure coding for the past few years, although I still take on web development jobs sometimes. I have been focussing all my energy working on my blog as if it were a full-time job. Part of this is because I genuinely enjoy doing it, so it doesn’t feel like a chore at all. Another reason is that I hope to establish myself as a writer and blogger as the years go by, and make it my full-time career with a sustainable income. I believe that such a career isn’t only better for my physical and mental health, but it’s also more meaningful and satisfying. I’m definitely not going to rest until I’m able to bring some bacon home as well, as the saying goes 🙂
Thank you for reading, and I hope to read your responses for May’s prompts too! Click here to submit your own entry, and to read about what others are up to as well! If you don’t have a blog but wish to participate, you can publish your post on Medium for free. Or drop me a message and I might be able to publish it on my blog.
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I LOVE the idea of designing your days. RIP birdies x losing pets is so hard xx Lowen @ livingpositivelywithdisability.com
Hi Lowen, yes it’s an interesting way to look at it, I think! 😀 Yes RIP, and another bird is sick now…seems like bad luck this year, or I have no luck with birds 🙁 Fingers crossed!
Sheryl, I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your feathered babies. Our pets become such a part of the family and it’s hard to say good-bye. They were lucky to have you there to love and care for them, so I hope you can take comfort in that.
Sorry I’m so late to the party — I almost let the month get by me again! As always, your prompts made me think. I appreciate you hosting this linkup each month. I always enjoy reading everyone’s entries.
Hugs to you lovely lady!
Yes pets can become such a huge part of the family, even if it was barely a year! I just hope I didn’t cause their deaths indirectly somehow without knowing 🙁
And no worries, I hope to be able to run these linkups for as long as I can without burning out, so you can join anytime when you’re up for it! 😉 I also love reading everyone’s entries, it’s so much fun 🙂
Sending hugs back! xxx
Wonderful to read your post.
So sorry for the loss of JC and Archer and the other little ones. (Is Piper okay?)
I love the story about the Art Oracle cards, and “designing” rather than “planning”. It’s such a lovely distinction. (I can’t hear the word “plan” without think of the Yiddish proverb, mentchen tracht und gott lacht.–“man plans and god laughs.”)
So nice that you enjoy the visits with your partner’s father– that they’re enjoyable and very low stress. (And that they can be entertained by rugby and you can be otherwise engaged. 🙂
Thank you for your beautiful writing and for the linkup!
Thank you, a loss of a beloved pet is never easy for sure. Piper is still in ‘hospital’, but hopefully she comes out fine!
Yes, the cards are gorgeous, and I love little snippets that provoke thoughts like this 🙂 Thanks for sharing the proverb, I think it’s a really good one! 😉 With poor health, no matter my pride, I’ve learned that there is such a thing as ‘fate’ 😉
Thank you for your beautiful entry as well, I thoroughly enjoyed your writing and reading about what other spoonies are up to! xxx
Glad to hear Piper is hanging in there. Sending <3!
So lovely that words can be nourishing and time-shaping in these ways. And thought provoking snippets are the best! 🙂 (I wonder if for spoonies buoying and meditative words are that much more important. Would be cool to make a deck of similar cards just for spoonies! 🙂 )
Glad you like the proverb!
I don't know quite what I think about fate, but sometimes I really marvel at the fact of existing. Just the sheer nuttiness of it all–the universe, Einstein, galaxies, planets, boy bands, DNA, light waves, sound waves, photons and the polarization of light, binary code, badgers, lantern fish, puffins, tardigrades, tree communities and their elders, the way leaves absorb and reflect sunlight, how every creature larger than an eyelash is an ecosystem in and of themselves and yet part of greater and greater ecosystems–it .just seems really wild that we're here and constantly having to make sense of the vastness and smallness of everything that we are.
I'm so grateful I found your blog and got to meet you and I look forward to reading more of your writing and doing more linkups!
A great post, Sheryl. So sorry for all the losses though, it’s always tough with little critters, although they only stay with us a few days, the bond you create while caring for them is strong. Hugs
I love the idea of designing your day – something I will be thinking about implementing next week.
Hello Char, thank you. Yes they’re little critters with a big impact on life 🙂 Happy memories though <3
Yes, I forgot about it myself lol. Def need to go back to designing my days again! Let me know how yours goes 😉 x
This was such a touching post. The ups and downs of our fur babies keep us going on a day to day basis and we feel their sorrows as we do their joys.
I am so sorry that this has happened to you and your fur friends and hope in some small way that writing about it has helped you with closure.
Hi Barbara, thank you for your kind words. Yes it’s heartbreaking, but he brought us so much joy while alive (and I hope he enjoyed our company too!), so I wouldn’t have had it any other way 🙂 It’s just sad he died so young, he would have been a year old this week! R.I.P. my blue baby x
I’m glad you didn’t change any of it. You shared their little lives with us, and it’s right that you shared their little deaths as well. How hard that must be after all the care and effort you put in. Sending good thoughts and gentle hugs your way.
Thank you dear Kathy…I loved the way you put it, sharing their little lives and little deaths 🙂 It wasn’t that much effort, if you look at the grand scheme of things! 😉 But I do miss the little creatures x
I’m sorry about your loss! We’ve lost three senior dogs over the past year and I’m still missing them.
Thank you Marya x Yes it’s not easy to lose a pet or family member who’s brought so much joy and character into your lives!
Sheryl, these are great prompts for May. I always think of this month as one of new beginnings. Trees are regaining their leaves, plants are poking their heads out of the ground, the air is fresh and new. The stories of your little bird family are sad, but they would be even sadder if those little ones had not come into the world at all. I look forward to writing my own answers to your prompts in the next few days.
Hi Lydia, I’m glad you find the prompts are good ones for May! Unfortunately or fortunately it’s tropical country here, and even though I grew up in Hong Kong and visited other places in winter, I don’t get to experience the whole cycle of life with seasons like you do in Canada! Yes may my little birdies rest in peace, I will miss them greatly. I will be waiting to read your prompts, but take your time and no stress! Hope you have been coping alright as well. Sending much love xxx