Several days after my beautiful, lively mother stepped into eternity, my husband hung several bird feeders outside our kitchen window: ” . . . to bring you joy and remind you of her,” he smiled when he came inside. How perceptive his gift! In the almost-25 years that have flown by since her death, I have delighted in the daily menagerie that flutters around the feeders within easy view of my kitchen and office workspaces.

And each year, as our garden grows to provide even more shelter, I am the excited observer of new varieties of feathered visitors joining the regulars at the fly-in diner. In recent weeks, we have enjoyed visits from Redwing Blackbirds, Cardinals, a Rufous-sided Towhee, Bluebirds, and a couple of Cedar Waxwings! The vivacious activity outside my windows is a daily reminder–a living memorial–of my lovely, joyous mother.

Perhaps you are grieving the loss of someone dear to your heart. May I encourage you to establish a “live” memorial in their honor–a bird feeder or two, a patch of wildflowers, a graceful tree, a flowering evergreen shrub–close by, so that each day you can enjoy vibrant beauty “in living memory” of your precious loved one?

Contributed by Betty Hanselman
(Gardener’s wife and joyful bird watcher)
With gratitude for my mother, Miriam Keener Buhr
(January 13, 1926 ~ October 6, 1999), and mother-in-law, Winifred “Joy” Hayman Hanselman (July 3, 1922 ~ December 10, 1999).