My sweet parakeets. Oh how I loved them. My parents wouldn’t let us get a dog. My mom didn’t think we would take care of it (which she was probably right) and she didn’t want to take care of it. It was one pivotal point where one day when I was 8-9 years old that my mom said lets take a visit to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. And fate would have it, IT WAS CLOSED ON THAT DAY! Never again did owning a dog come up.

So whats the next best thing? Some lovely parakeets. My dad had some birds when he was in Cambodia. He didn’t loved them as well. It was a pretty monumental moment in our wee little lives. We got our first pets! (Ok we had some fighting fish before too). But these pets interact with us, like to play and sing. We got a blue and yellow one for my brother and I. We loved to play with them. Though we weren’t the best trainers. You can teach them a number of things. Through the years, we got some more. We had a total of 6. The original 2, and then 3 others we decided to buy. Then one we found randomly off the side of the road.

My cousin Santana running like an NFL wide receiver to catch this little guy fluttering. Little did we know parakeets have wild flocks flying rampantly through the state. Or else we would have let it go, we thought we were saving him.

I think they had a good life. We feed them lots of spray millet treats. We even gave them access to most the house to fly around. They only cared to stay in a few certain favorite spots. If you know my mom, you would find this amazing being the clean freak she is. Not a grain of sand should be on the floor.

They would chirp and sing in the mornings. They would clean themselves during the day. Sometimes we gave them baths. Sometimes we took them outside in a cage to get fresh air. At night, one might fall and go crazy flying through the cage not knowing whats going on. They would knock everybody else over. Take sometimes 30 minutes for them to get their bearings. That part wasn’t so fun. There were bad days. Two or maybe a third even got sick with some mites disease on their face. It was painful and we did the best we good every night to take care of them.

But something I sort of blocked out of my mind. It came back to me a couple months ago. I remember the death of our first bird. The first bird of the two. And then 1-2 others it happened the same. It wasn’t just they died. It was a feeling I remember from those times. I don’t like to think about it, I don’t to remember. I don’t like to relive those feelings. But maybe it is something I need to remember so I can keep my mind and humanity on the right path.

It was that first bird that died in my hand. He was sick or dying of old age. You could tell he was on his last legs and not doing well. He was sputtering about, could barely stand up. He couldn’t function. I tried to take care of him, m parents tried to take care of him. It was about 1-2 days lasting. We wanted him to get better but he just couldn’t get on the rebound.

Lots of things die, and everything actually dies. Whats the point in all this? Its how I felt at that time and what it did to me. It was a real and eye opening experience to feel something die. You didn’t see it after it die, you didn’t watch it die, you didn’t hear about it die. I actually felt it. I remember him in my hand fighting and fighting. He didn’t’ want to be held. Even though I was trying to help him stand up, maybe its his way showing its not what he needs.

A couple hours of him fighting to get out again and again. In one fell swoop, he was gone. Within seconds, he stopped fighting. There was an energy and presence that left. I could feel in my hand, my heart, and my mind that a life was ending at that very moment. He would cease to exist. His body would remain, but his energy that would make my parakeet who he was is leaving forever. It was extraordinary surreal moment to have. And I don’t think its something anyone really gets to experience. It was extremely tragic time for me. I told myself thats life and moved on. I loved all my birds and at one time or another had to watch them pass.

But its good to remember how precious life is and what it means. We all only have one. One chance to be here and make of it what we can. My bird was not some object, there was a special inner soul as you would call it within him. And thats what people may all need to experience. For how we treat our pets, how we treat the wildlife, or even the animals we kill to eat. People need to know they are all special and precious. If they had that feeling, they might change how they think and interact with not just animals but each other.

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