A CARDINAL EXPERIENCE

LEI’D TO REST
In Memory of Carol Wilder

Oahu, Hawaii

My sister and I held a special Celebration of Life for our mom on the North Shore of Oahu on the one-year anniversary of her passing. The reason for that location was because our mom went to high school and college in Honolulu. She also visited Hawaii on a regular basis throughout her life to visit her best friend and a small group of very close friends. On the day of the celebration we gathered together with family and friends to celebrate our beautiful mom.

On the morning of my mom’s celebration, I was enjoying a peacefully quiet moment alone outside when a red northern cardinal landed on the ground below my balcony. This set the tone for what turned out to be a beautiful and joyous occasion later that day.

With everyone gathered together, we scattered Orchid petals into the ocean and set free two biodegradable sea turtles that were filled with cardinal feathers I had found near my home. A pregnant woman and her three children were nearby enjoying themselves while also respectfully observing our celebration. Suddenly we noticed the mother and her children leaving the beach in a rush, so we asked her if everything was okay. We quickly learned that she had just gone into labor and was heading to the hospital! Everyone in our group clapped and cheered as we continued to celebrate the passing of my mom’s life and now the beginning of another. This was a truly touching moment that reflected the Circle of Life.

A few days later, I went to Maui with my sister and two of our best friends. During the first morning there, I was relaxing in our condo and enjoying our breathtaking ocean view. Out of nowhere, a vibrant red cardinal landed on our balcony railing and remained there long enough for me to capture his photograph! The following morning, a female cardinal stopped by and stayed long enough for me to snap her photograph as well.

These blessed experiences occurred at a time when I needed them most. I know in my heart it was my mom letting me know she was alright and that we celebrated her life in a truly special and loving way.

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