A Jake-size Hole in My Heart

I am devastated. The only way I can see to get past the sorrow is to write it out, so please forgive me. Last Thursday, at shortly after 10:00 AM Pacific, I carried three clean and refilled waterers out for the aviaries. I had to chase away cats that wanted to come in. I shut the screen door behind me, and then a movement on an empty cage on the patio caught my eye.

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Normally my birds have out time between 9:30 and 11:30 AM. Thursdays are the days I do all the food and waters inside and out. Throughout the rest of the week, I do one section at a time. With the heat, I didn’t want to wait too long to get everything done. I was almost finished outside, just had the three waterers to replace. As I brought them in, I saw Jake on top of Io’s cage by the door. I told him he was a good boy for not trying to get out.

You would think that would have made me more aware. But no, I went out, loaded with distractions, and when I looked up, Jake was on top of a cage outside. My knees grew weak. I started shaking. Please, I asked the Creator. Please, don’t let him fly away. I held up my hand and called his name. But he wanted to see what the world looked like.

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I watched him fly up to the roof, and I thought he was going to go see the violet lovebirds that are in the outside aviary. I would have a chance to catch him there. But apparently from the roof he saw something else he wanted to see, and he flew into the neighbors’ back yard. I ran to the gate, unlocked it, and ran up to their gate to see if I could see him. I called and called. I never saw him again.

That might not be the ending. I reported him as lost on every site I could think of. I made up flyers and put them in businesses that are bird related and every Starbucks I could get to. So far, there is not one lead or hope held out. We are having a wave of thunder storms and more rain than usual, which is not only bad for the situation, but means I haven’t been able to put the flyers up in the neighborhood.

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The next morning when I went out to let the cats out, a beautiful young hawk was perched on the fence over which Jake had disappeared. Chances are high that Jake was eaten by a predator. I only wish I knew what his fate has been.

Can you relate to how silly it feels to be this depressed over losing him? I have relatives who lost spouses, I read about people losing children, Marines being shot, train wrecks, and my dear friend Millie who left behind children, grandchildren, and a wide circle of loved ones. Jake’s loss is real and present, I suppose. He was in my life every day, every hour I was home, he either sat near me, followed me around to see what I was doing, or helped himself to whatever was on my plate.

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I also feel like a fraud. I shouldn’t be writing about my flock if I can’t keep them safe. I can’t give good advice if I can’t live it. This could be the motivation I needed to truly downsize and truly ease my burdens. If that is Jake’s last gift to me, then I accept it. I pray for his safety, even if I never see him. But I would love to know where he went. I understand how hard it is when someone or something disappears and you never know what happened.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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