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A Happy New Year
I just knew it!
This morning is New Year's Day, 2013. After capping off a particularly successful and blessed year, I stood at the kitchen sink preparing our traditional southern food, black-eyed peas, looking out at the cold rain. It was then I became aware of a red cardinal, the male, sitting in the window box less than three feet from my face through the glass, singing his happy song. I hollered to my husband, "come quick, you have to see this." By the time he got to me, the bird had flown down to the ground outside, but lingered. Over coffee, I reminded my husband of seven years that I always have red visitors on special occasions...have had them for twenty years now, since my first husband had died from brain cancer twenty years ago when we were 32 years old. I told him I knew it sounded nuts, but that I've believed for awhile cardinals were some link between heaven and earth or spirituality...that over the years I've become a firm believer. After he went downstairs to watch football, I started Googling, and after finding bits and pieces of lore to support my theory, I landed at this website! Wow.

The thing with cardinals started for me as my husband lay in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home in Atlanta, GA, with the framed picture of a cardinal in winter on the wall of his room. At the time, I just thought the nuns hung it because it was pretty. After five years of his illness (he was a Marine pilot and former special forces operator, and a young, strong guy when diagnosed)he was finally, really going to die on the night of June 26, 1993. Because the hospice is in a bad area of town, I had to leave his bedside on that night at 7:30 when the gates closed. On the way home, Atlanta Braves baseball fans crowded the streets near his hospice (just next to the stadium). I could barely see to get on the expressway, through my tears, knowing my two little girls and I would never see him again. For some inexplicable reason, I decided to stop at the ATM machine to get cash. I have a vivid memory of bunny rabbits, at least a few, cardinals and other animals seeming to gather around me at that teller machine. It was sort of surreal. This was a bank just next to the busy interstate...and the animals seemed almost like a Disney movie...just gathered. Rich died that night. After that, for the next 20 years, I have become aware of two things: rainbows, which we saw the fist few years on the anniversary of his death (but especially the double rainbow that seemed to "follow us" -- according to my four year old daughter -- on the way home from his funeral). And cardinals, which seemed to always appear outside on significant days, always loudly chirping, always seeming to want my attention. Seems like it would happen at least twice a year, and not necessarily less as the years passed. Then, this morning, as we awoke to the new year. My little girls grew up and are finishing college now, happy, I think. I remarried after being a widow for 12 years, and my husband (who served in the Marines with my first husband) just returned safely from Afghanistan. We had two more beautiful kids and my life is happy again. But I learned to listen to nature along the way after some lonely years. Also, last year, my father in law passed away suddenly. His widow will visit us this week, and before Christmas I'd found her an adorable cardinal figurine for her home, intending to tell her about my own experiences with cardinals that for me inspire hope and reassurance. Now that I've found this site, I can direct her here or print out some of the stories. I don't know if she has seen any cardinals in southern California, but I'll bet she has.

This Story is Dedicated to: The Nuns at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home, Atlanta, Georgia and Horace, a dedicated servant of God. Sent From: Acworth, Georgia, -United States,

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Go Back Added 2013/01/01 | Updated 2013/02/15
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