From Chicken Soup for the Country Soul

Bird Heaven

We shall all meet in heaven.

Last Words of Andrew Jackson

While I was standing at the kitchen window, five-year-old Spencer, my oldest son, ran into the house screaming, “We need a doctor out here! We need a doctor! Hurry, Mom!!”

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

Spencer anxiously told me he had found a dead bird that needed a doctor.

Dutifully, I grabbed a small plastic bag from the pantry and took Spencer’s hand—after all, that’s the sort of thing mothers do! While my son led me out the door and toward the bird, I explained that if the creature was indeed dead, a doctor could not help. When we arrived at the accident scene, it was obvious that the baby bird was dead. Spencer and I could see the nest high up in the tree. My son and I discussed the probable age of the baby bird, its inability to fly well, and exactly how the fall had caused its death.

“I bet his mommy and daddy really miss him,” Spencer observed. I reached for my boy’s hand and tried to ease his sadness by saying I was sure they did, but that they would be okay because the little bird had gone to Heaven to be with God and PoPo (my deceased grandfather). I assured Spencer that the bird’s mommy and daddy knew their little one would be cared for and loved. I told Spencer that PoPo loved little birds, and I was sure he was in Heaven holding and playing with the baby bird right then. I picked up the little creature’s body, slipped it into my plastic bag and gently placed the bird in the trash can. Nothing else was said about the matter for the rest of the day. Spencer went right back to playing as if he had never been interrupted, and I returned to my work in the kitchen.

At breakfast the next morning, Spencer sadly explained to his father that he had found a baby bird the day before that had fallen from its nest.

“It was dead, Daddy!”

Trying to lift Spencer’s spirits and remind him that the little bird was really okay, I asked our son to tell Daddy where the baby bird was. Spencer, looking solemn-faced at his dad, stated, “In the trash can with Mama’s granddaddy, PoPo.”

Merilyn Gilliam

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