On this one year anniversary since Asterix passed, something poignant happened.

In the early morning of September 24, 2018, it will be one year since I lost my beloved parrot, Asterix.


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Losing him was deeply painful.  I lost my companion.  I lost our family history keeper.  I lost my parents’ voices.  Taking care of his little body, saying our goodbyes, wrapping him in a little shroud– all felt deeply ritualistic and tender.


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I have been thinking a lot about how I might mark this day, an especially powerful anniversary with the Autumn Equinox and the Harvest Moon.

This morning my daughter and I were in the living room, and I said to her, “Isn’t it amazing that not before or since the day Asterix died has a bird landed and looked in our window?”  (I was remembering the crow that landed on the windowsill the day Asterix died and sat there looking in, acknowledging.)

Our cat, Reina, was playing with my china markers and my daughter said, “Reina is channeling Asterix’s spirit!”  (Asterix LOVED playing with my china markers.)

We carried on Sunday morning lounging, me drawing and Squeak, our other cat, snuggling with my daughter.  After only a minute or two we heard a sound, like a knock on the window.  A poignant thing happened.  Our cat, Reina, came into the living room and made a strange and unusual meow.  My daughter checked and she was very surprised to see a dead bird on the rug.

We have not had a cat bring us a dead bird since Riley brought them in when we lived on the Sunshine Coast when he was an outdoor cat.  (We moved from there 15 years ago and Riley retired to become and indoor cat in 2003.)

Reina was shooed away from the bird and we took the cats into my bedroom.  My breath was taken away when I saw my pillow and bedding sprinkled with little feathers, in the sunshine under our window.  A bird had obviously hit the window and Reina had grabbed it.  But this was more that that.  The timing, profound.  This seemed nothing less than magical.  Especially considering my deep connection with birds.


I went back to the living room and picked up the bird carefully and placed it in a container and placed it in the freezer.  (We have not had a dead bird in the freezer since we wrapped Asterix, a year ago, and gently placed him in there for safe keeping until his cremation.)

Before taking the bird to the park to bury it, I took some photographs.  Thanking this sweet heartbreaking creature for its life and message.

I went alone and walked into the park to find a special place.  A little squirrel guided me to this spot.  I dug a deep hole, gave my thanks and left.


“A bird is symbolic of perspective and freedom.  When a bird hits your window the spiritual meaning of the bird is something you need to take notice of.  Due to the fact that birds swoop up high up in the sky, it is believed that birds are God’s messengers – providing a bridge between the spiritual life and the mundane.  They can be a positive sign of great luck.  Since time immemorial, birds are in folklore symbols to many cultures.  Now, to see one single bird that approaches your window peacefully or just sits and looks inside your home – in ancient times was thought to be a sign of the spirit of your dead loved ones.  In some folklore books, a bird hitting the window can mean an angel wants you to take notice. I t could be that your angel is trying to communicate that they are around helping you, and watching over you or spiritually.  Make sure you are aware of the day – it could be an anniversary when the bird appears.  Look up the date, does this day or month mean something?  It is a lovely sign and you can use your intuition to get the right message from the bird.  The message is of a loving nature.  sparrow hitting your window represent emotions, heart healing, socializing, generosity, romance, and the power of spirit.” – auntyflo.com

I love you, Asterix.

Until we meet again… dropping off Asterix 

Letting go

In order to hold on

I gradually understand

How poems are made…

– Alice Walker


Recall September 24, 2017:

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Well, I did it.   Finally.  It was time for Asterix’s cremation.

I pulled my parrot out of the freezer this morning and placed his wrapped body (decorated with a drawing by my nephew) inside an IKEA freezer bag(!) and then placed him in a tote.  In all honesty, I have found it comforting to have his body in that freezer, but it was definitely time.


I wanted to do the trip alone, so I didn’t remind the family and headed out to the bus stop, grateful that the weather was below zero.

A gorgeous Fall day.


I carried my buddy, my companion, my secret onto the bus and headed across the bridge.

The herons usually don’t return to the rooftops till February in the West End, but when I stepped outside my apartment with Asterix- I saw three were sitting on the roofs on Chilco Street.


And little birds and seagulls and crows everywhere.


Oh my goodness!  Until We Meet Again.  Such a sweet place and two cats greeted me! Their cremation services are on site.


Asterix will get a lovely cedar box with a latch.  He loved chewing on wood, so I found it appropriate.

I pulled out the angel cards he had chosen to chew on a while back:


Forgiveness popped out as well.

His shrine gives me comfort.



My sweet sweet boy.



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Saying goodbye to the life of Riley.

Riley aka Mr. O’Riley 1998-2014


My beautiful cat, Riley, passed away peacefully on January 1, 2014.  He wound down slowly all last year and passed away surrounded by love and his favorite people.   He loved the outdoors, so we placed him in the earth in a beautiful spot.  [Special thank you to Darcy for being there with us!]

Riley: A Short Biography of my Cat by Julian Bowers:

 1998: Born. Moved in with us. Kept me up all night with his meowing. We locked him into the bathroom yet he smeared his poo all over the walls. Nightmare kitten.
1999-2003: If there was a closed door, he would try his best to tear it down and annoy us, and it usually worked. He was an outdoor cat and he hunted things I didn’t think were possible to catch around our property. Voles, hummingbirds, bats, snakes, squirrels, every type of small bird you can think of. He was frustrating, but could be affectionate when you wanted it.
2003-2013: We moved to the city, so he had to transition to become an indoor cat. He had some aggression towards the concept initially, but he mellowed out over the years. Still annoying about doors, but a sweet cat.
2013-2014: Started to get skinnier but still healthy up until Dec. 26th when his legs started giving out. He started to slowly wind down. We gave him Fancy Feast and he was still affectionate yet understandably tired. On Jan. 1st, he couldn’t walk anymore and we moved him to a cozy spot. At around 5:45pm, he passed away.
I’m going to miss him, but I can take solace in the fact that he lived a good, happy life and he went out as comfortably as one can.


A week or so before he passed, Riley managed to climb on to the toilet to hang out with my nephew.

A few days before he passed away, Riley preferred to lie in a spot where he could keep an eye on us.
A few days before he passed away, Riley preferred to lie in a spot where he could keep an eye on us.

The day before he passed, he wobbled in to the shower.  He loved drinking warm shower water.
The day before he passed, he wobbled in to the shower. He loved drinking warm shower water.

A few hours before he passed, I found him in the spot, trying to climb into bed with Violet.
A few hours before he passed, I found him in the spot, trying to climb into bed with Violet.

Riley then spent his last hours comfortable on my bed. Violet by his side.



After he passed, we placed him in the basket he loved to snooze in, with his favorite things- a can of Fancy Feast, a stuffed bird, a catnip mouse, a fresh chicken bone and a vial of shower water.
After he passed, we placed him in the basket he loved to snooze in, with his favorite things- a can of Fancy Feast, a stuffed bird, a catnip mouse, a fresh chicken bone and a vial of shower water.



I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul. – Jean Cocteau

Riley and Violet
Riley and Violet