Yesterday our family gathered together for a memorial service as we said goodbye to our parakeet Otto. He was a member of the family for the past 4 years and was greatly loved.
To start our service off, we had a reading of scripture. My mother read from the Message Bible, Matthew 10:29-31. God cares even more than we do what happens to the birds we own.
We had a beautiful bouquet of bright orange flowers that we each were given to remember Otto by.
As we took turns coming forward saying a special word about Otto, or some words of goodbye, we laid our flowers down on the grave. I think this was very helpful for my children, as it allowed each of them some closure from the loss of their bird.
Some of the things we'll always remember about Otto were his gentleness, his singing voice, and the friendship he gave. We were also thankful for the happiness that he gave to both my daughter and my father.
"In all the world there is no better friend than you." We allowed Valentine a chance to say goodbye too, although I'm not sure she really grasped what was going on. I'm certain she must know Otto is gone, but she probably doesn't understand why or that he's not coming back.
We had a special snack to share together, some chocolate bird nests filled with jelly bean eggs and our own baby chicks.
The last part of our service for the bird included a balloon release. We each had the choice of either a yellow or green balloon.
As the backyard is full of trees, we decided to walk to an open field where we could let go of our balloons with no worries.
We attached a note to each balloon asking if it be found that they send an email to my father. We are all praying that at least one person this week sends us a message.
As we released our balloons we each said our last goodbye to Otto. I hope he realized how special of a bird he was, and how loved he was by the family.
I think the day was a sort of celebration of Otto's life. We don't know that pets will be in heaven, but we do know how thankful we are that we had the time we did together.
I found it very fitting that on the trip back to the house we found a nest of baby birds. Here we were grieving the loss of our small bird, and God was creating new life.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death ’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:4-5
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—
a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you."
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?" Matthew 6:25-26