The Great Blue Heron

My father in law was a funny guy. I’ve not really talked about him in this blog. I don’t really know why. We weren’t especially close, but I loved him. He thought I was the b1016956_3238403934819_865653410_nee’s knees. We had an interesting relationship.

His last name was Herron so everything around him was somehow associated with the Blue Heron. He loved the bird. The condo he bought had a Blue Heron as its mascot. He had what I would consider a “pink flamingo lawn ornament” but it was a Blue Heron. When we’d look for gifts for him, we knew we couldn’t go wrong if it had an emblem of a Blue Heron on it. He was easy in that respect. It was something that I always associated with him. His whole family did, as a matter of fact.

About ten years ago he was diagnosed with Diabetes. They came to visit us one day with bags of booze, since he could no longer drink alcohol due to the diabetes. Most of the booze were big bottles of Wild Turkey. It was his favorite whiskey. It’s what he’d have whenever we he had a drink. Wild Turkey on the rocks or Wild Turkey with a little Seven Up, depending on his mood. I still have so much Wild Turkey in my liquor closet that I don’t think I’ll ever use it all.

He passed away last Thursday after a battle with lung cancer. We lay him to rest tomorrow. As with any death of a loved one, we all grieve in our own ways, and the grief comes in waves. The weirdest thing will trigger a “moment.”

Yesterday Mark and I went out to the lake to spend the day with his two sisters, one of whom is having an especially difficult time with her dad’s death. She was there with him when he took his last breath, and that mental image is just right there for her. She is having a rough time processing it all. We dragged her out on the boat with us, knowing that what she really needed was time with the family. Being surrounded by your family is the best medicine for that kind of loss. So we went out on the boat and rode off to a favorite cove to play in the water, ride the wave runners, and just…heal.

As we were floating in the water and visiting (and for me, being used as a jungle gym by my little niece), a large Blue Heron soared over our heads and landed on the lawn at the edge of the cove. Granted, Blue Herons are a dime a dozen all over the lake. It’s where they live. We’re in their environment. But still, we all went, “Awww, Dad’s hanging out at the lake with us.”

But the story doesn’t end there. The Blue Heron stayed on the grass the whole time we were there. About an hour after it landed, we heard a sudden whoosh of wings and across the cove flew a FLOCK of wild turkeys! A FLOCK! Like twenty! I gasped and went, “Oh my god! Wild turkeys!!” I looked at the one sister (the emotional one) and she immediately started crying. I looked at the other sister and we were both going, “This is too weird.” So we hung out in the lake while the Blue Heron watched over us and the wild turkeys pecked around at the ground foraging for whatever it is that wild turkeys eat.

The universe is an interesting thing. And it doesn’t matter what I personally believe, or what my sisters in law believe, we ALL felt like our father/father in law was there at the lake with us. That lake was his favorite place, after all. It only makes sense that the Great Blue Heron would be there with us.

Rest in peace, Marv. I’m gonna miss you something fierce!

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