Friday, February 1, 2019

A Red Tailed Hawk And The Loss Of A Very Dear Friend

Over the past 24 hours, I've experienced a major span of emotions that has ranged from absolutely exhilarating to devastating. How does that happen? 

Let's start with yesterday...

We moved into our home in July of 2012. In the years to follow, we've transformed the front lawn into a bird haven between the buffet of bird feeders, suet cakes, and during the warm weather months, there's plenty of humming bird feeders and other bird friendly flowers.

Lisa and I spend a lot of time on the front porch during the warm weather months enjoying the company of the birds.

Amid the birds that feast on our feeders...we also have turkey vultures and hawks and seagulls and other larger species of birds that hang around. 

That would include the red tailed hawks.

Over the past couple of years, they've been nesting close by.

I've seen them in nearby trees. In the tree closest to the house. On the ground beneath our feeders.

But, they've usually been skittish. 

I've never been able to get really great photos of them. 

Until yesterday...

This majestic red tailed hawk was perched in a tree about 10 feet away from our porch. 

It startled me a bit. 

I went inside to grab my camera, but I didn't expect the hawk to be there when I returned to our front porch. 


It was there. I got a lot of great photos. The hawk didn't budge. 

The hawk stayed there for about 45 minutes.

I was beyond excited.

Then today...

After Lisa had her breakfast, I decided to snuggle with our kids in hopes to grab an hour or two of sleep.

I dozed on and off for those couple of hours. Got up. Had my first cup of coffee. Signed onto my various tech devices to check emails, social media streams, and Facebook. 

On my personal Facebook wall was a message from "K." 

"K" is a roommate/ex to a dear friend of mine, Sue.

The message was urgent. She included her cell. 

I froze.

Sue had always told me that if anything ever happened to her that "K" would be the one to contact me. 

I went to Sue's Facebook wall. Still holding my breath. I expected the worst, but hoped for the best. 

The first post on her wall was "RIP Sue..."

I sat back in my office chair for a really, really long time. 

Shocked. Speechless. 

I felt as if someone had punched me in the chest and stomach. 

I had just chatted with Sue on the 13th. 

She was fine. 

Now, she was gone.

I focused on getting ready for our evening plans. Having a couple of neighbor friends who have become family. Over for appetizers and drinks. 

At the last minute, I decided to call "K" at the last minute. 

I broke down several times. 

Ended the call quicker than I probably should have.


We had a fabulous night. Sharing food and drinks with friends who have become family. 

I still haven't processed Sue's death in its entirety. 

We were friends for over 20 years. 

I'll be posting this on my personal Facebook wall at some point tomorrow accompanying a photo of Sue's hand around a rose she grew...

"Yesterday morning, I learned that my dear friend of over 20 years passed away. On Monday. A few days after emergency heart surgery. I had no idea. We had just chatted less than 2 weeks prior.
I was shocked. Crushed. My heart shattered. I was supposed to be the first person contacted if something ever happened to her. But, here it was Friday. She died Monday. At the age of 68. We lived miles apart. Me in Connecticut. Her in California.
I met Sue in my early 20's. She was in 23 years my senior. Wiser. Witty. Hardcore. She was my mentor in many, many ways. She didn't put up with my "young" sassy mouth or frivolous ways. She didn't allow me to make excuses or use my past to justify bad habits. She guided me with a stern tongue and her old-fashioned ways. But, at the same time, there was gentleness in her tone and the wisdom she passed along. We had a deep respect for each other.
Sue got me through some rather difficult times in my life. And vice versa. Calls. Emails. Messages. Care packages. And, the offer was always there to visit her home. Or mine. All expenses paid. To relax. Exhale. Breathe. Get away from the chaos. She was always my voice of reason.
She also inspired me to do great stuff. Sue was a Dog Mom too many rescue pups. She also rescued humans too especially those who were the victims of Cali fires. She provided food, shelter, clothes, love, and raised money for people to get back on their feet.
My heart is heavy. I don't even think I've fully processed that she's gone. But, her legacy will continue. Through me. Through the hundreds of people she's helped. I miss her so much."

So, maybe the red tailed hawk that visited yesterday for 45 minutes was a Universal sign of sorts.

Sue knew I loved the birds that visited our front yard throughout the years. 

Especially the big skittish ones.

Seeing a red tailed hawk symbolizes the form of a messenger, protector, and visionary. It also is a symbol of strength and guardianship. 

That symbolizes the friendship Sue and I had for over 20 years. 

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Sue. 

She will be missed by so many. 

This Spring, as we did with my dear friend Bill who passed away last year, we'll be planting another flowering bush. 

I'm thinking a rose plant. 

Rest in peace, my friend.

You will never be forgotten. 

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