Editor’s note: I read this touching story by Hilary Jacobson, author of Mother Food, on Facebook and asked her if I could share it on this blog. You may want to grab a handkerchief before you start reading.
My beloved parrot was dying, and then I did this
By Hilary Jacobson, special to JenniferMargulis.net
This last week has been tough.
My beautiful parrot had an accident and we thought we were going to lose her.
It brought home to me how much a pet becomes a member of family.
She would have recovered from the injury, but she was stunned and in pain, and therefore wasn’t eating or drinking.
The second day after the accident I was sitting near her, feeling such sadness because I couldn’t figure out how to force-hydrate her. Maybe she sensed my concern. She gathered all her strength and courage and flew to my shoulder and nestled against my cheek.
I remembered: She has sometimes wanted to eat and drink from my lips… a very bird-thing, I believe. It seems instinctive to her.
So taking a sip of cherry juice, I allowed a drop or two to rest on my lips. She saw it and licked it up.
And so we began, drop for drop, to hydrate her.
Soon she accepted teeny tiny pieces of red pepper and tomato from my lips. I sang to her, and she seemed to love that, too. All these familiar, personal things we do mean so much when an injury is involved. That day, I fed her two hours. The next morning, and the day after, she repeated the process, each time for about 90 minutes. Later those days, she would accept larger bites, but the day always began with this return to infant-mother comfort, on my shoulder, from my lips.
Now, a week later, she is fully mobile, fully singing and happy, fully being her normal self. She still likes to sit on my shoulder and nuzzle up against my cheek in the morning. I sometimes jokingly call this “Attachment Parroting,” and it just takes me deep inside the emotional bonds that make life rich and real.
Hilary Jacobson is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and author of Mother Food: A breastfeeding diet guide with lactogenic foods and herbs.