Friday, July 2, 2010

When to give up

I'm going up to Maine again this weekend, and am trying to decide if I should bring Haricot's cage back to Boston with me or leave it there. This seemingly simple decision has taken on symbolic significance, since if he is still alive and wandering the forests of Maine, his cage would be a familiar sight that he might gravitate toward. Recently neighbors of my parents thought they might have heard him, and his cage was moved to their yard on the off chance that he was hanging around their house (turned out to be a false alarm). On the other hand, I don't know if I'll be going back up to Maine before the end of July, when I'm scheduled to adopt a new baby lovebird.

My new baby, who I went to visit last week

I belong to a lovebird forum, where people have been very understanding and helpful with dealing with Haricot's loss. On the forum, they counsel people not to give up on finding lost birds; parrots are so friendly that they are often taken in by new families, and are sometimes returned to their owners years later. No matter what, they have counseled me, you shouldn't give up hope. Not only that, but you need to keep actively looking, posting signs and checking local listings. One woman had three parrots stolen from her home last summer, and eventually was able to recover two of them. She is still looking for the third.

I am not sure that this is a modality that works for me. While I respect other people's willingness to keep hoping and searching for months or even years, for me this would make it difficult to mourn and move on. It seems reminiscent of the cocoon of denial I have been learning about in my Hospice training: acceptance allows one to make the emotional adjustments necessary to wrap up one's life or, for the family, to keep living life.

When I get up to Maine this afternoon, I plan to comb the area again to see if I can find any trace of Haricot. I will keep posting ads on Craigslist, and check to make sure my missing bird posters are still up. But, come Monday, I think I'll be bringing Haricot's cage back to Boston, and start thinking of it as my new baby's cage. Who knows, maybe if I do find Haricot they could one day share the cage and be friends. But in the meantime I am looking forward to bringing my new baby home.

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