We may look totally different to one another, but many humans and parrots share a special and endearing quality. We both form very close bonds with our friends and partners. And just like Lovebirds and Scarlet Macaws, many humans will live out their lives with just one particular mate. These special relationships are forged by love. And this means that if we lose a close friend or partner, our love will turn to grief. Because it’s grief that fills the void in which our love once flowed.
Right now, I feel desperately sorry for my owner and his special friends because someone that they all loved dearly has left this world. Matt had spent the last couple of years battling against an aggressive form of cancer. He was only in his fifties. Up until his illness, Matt had always been the life and soul of the party with a wonderful sense of humour and a kindness and a gentleness which won everybody over. His funeral service was always going to be a difficult occasion, but also a uniquely special one. And so it proved.
The service took place in the modest village church of West Anstey on the edge of Exmoor. At least a hundred humans packed themselves inside, leaving another fifty clustered around the entrance door. It was an astonishing turnout which included Matt’s family and friends, his work colleagues (many of whom went back many years), and just about everybody from his local village.
The church looked beautiful. His family had spent a long time decorating it to create a visual feast of flowers, foliage, wood and stone. You could have heard a pin drop as the eulogy was read out, followed by a profound poem and a prayer that Matt had written a number of years before. For a few moments, it was as though the essence of Matt was there amongst all those gathered. The atmosphere was powerful and intense. Scores of men and women quietly wept. The congregation, -made up of all kinds of humans who had never previously met,- became as one. United in spirit and united in their love and grief for their fallen friend. And it all spoke volumes about the kind of person that Matt had been and how much he was loved by so many different people. Despite the poignancy of the occasion, if a funeral service can ever be described as “beautiful,” then this was it. And it was beautiful because during that service, the presence of God was very near. Not everyone knew quite what they were sensing, but my owner came away not hoping-, but knowing- that his good friend Matt was now in God’s safe keeping.
“The darker the night, the brighter the stars The deeper the grief, the closer is God.” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky [1821-1881]: Russian novelist: This quote comes from “Crime and Punishment.”)
“We may speak about a place where there are no tears, no death, no fear, no night; but those are just the benefits of Heaven. The beauty of Heaven is seeing God.” (Max Lucado [1955-Present]: American author and evangelist).
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”