In Memory of Carol Wilder

Arlington, Virginia

My mom passed away in September 2017. In June of this year, about a month before what would have been her 79th birthday, I noticed a pair of cardinals in my yard for the very first time. They seemed to go out of their way to make me notice them. Separately, my sister had also started noticing the cardinals, but neither of us mentioned it to the other until one day when we saw the male cardinal at the same time. We both said aloud, “I think that’s mom.”

At that point we had not ever heard about the spiritual connection of these magnificent creatures. I wanted to get cookies decorated like cardinals for my mom’s birthday celebration. While trying to find cardinal cookies online, I learned about the special meaning of red cardinals.

Not long after my mom’s birthday, I was leaving the house and the male cardinal flew down my driveway and landed right in front of me before I entered my car. I was able to snap a couple of photos before he flew away.

As I backed down my driveway, I noticed a feather on the lower part of my windshield. As I started driving, the feather made its way to the middle of my windshield. It stayed there throughout my drive and I snapped some photos along the way. It was about a three-mile drive. When I got to where I was going, the feather was still there. Of course, I kept it.

The next day while I was cleaning my garage, the male cardinal stopped by and chirped away. After he left, I was walking on my driveway and I dropped what I was holding. When I bent down to pick it up, I found another feather. Once again, I kept it.

This September my sister and I had a celebration of life for our mom in Hawaii, a very special place for her throughout her life. We had two biodegradable sea turtle urns that we put some of her ashes in, along with one feather in each, and released them at sea. On the morning of the celebration, a red cardinal came to visit. It was the first time I had ever seen one in Hawaii. Throughout the rest of my time in Hawaii, I spotted several more. Cardinal visits are a true blessing!

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