Cardinals of Comfort

These are my personal stories that I have experienced. I want to continue with the Cardinal birds and share a few of my experiences. Such beautiful birds that mate for life representing God's love and comfort along with His desire to be in relationship with us, His beloved. I shared before how the red males represent Christ's blood as they were named after the Cardinals in the Catholic Church that wear red symbolizing Christ's blood.


My first story, that I have already shared, occurred several days after my 25 yr-old son, Whitner, died on Palm Sunday 2011 when I asked God if he was with Him. God responded by sending me a Red Cardinal. That is when I researched what they represented. There have only been two times that I have asked God blatantly & directly a question. The second time my oldest daughter was in treatment to deal with past trauma. I was visiting her several months after my son's death, and the center was on a river with much natural wildlife. I had gone by the dock to enjoy the view. There were 1000s of dragonflies which will be a topic of my later stories. Just to say my son is represented to me by the dragonfly, and I always wear one next to my cross around my neck as he now lives with Jesus. There was one dragonfly that was buzzing me like he was ready to run into me. This went on for about 10 minutes to where it got my attention. That was when I asked God if my son could see me and knows what is going on in my world. That was when a Red Cardinal flew up and lit in the tree next to me, but a second Red Cardinal flew up and lit on the post on the dock next to me. So what I received was a big, YES. It reminds me of the great cloud of witnesses that surround us in Hebrews 12:1 that are cheering us on to victory. I always feel that I provide a lot of comic relief for them as they place bets if I am going to do the same thing again expecting a different outcome. This is of course the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.


Six months after my son's death on Oct. 17, 2011, it was 8:30 am I had just gotten out of bed. I was really sad missing my son. I was staring out the window thinking of him. There is a Magnolia tree next to the bedroom window. Everything was still and quiet. I began to notice some movement in the tree. It was a bird, a Red Cardinal that had been waiting in the tree for me. Then he did something amazing. He ventured out on the limb next to me and stood perched on the end in full display only a few feet away. I called to my husband who was still in bed to come see this bird. He got up and saw it then went back to bed. The bird stayed there another 5-10 minutes to where I said get out of bed this bird is still here. So he got out of bed and saw the bird again. Finally after a total of 15-20 minutes or longer, he flew away. Wow, what an experience of love from God and my son to show his presence with me on a day I really needed to feel God's and his love.


It was the first Christmas after my son's death that we had all the entire clan over. My son loved his family and all his cousins. I was setting the tables on our glass porch. I heard this loud knocking at the front window like a tree was banging the glass. It was so loud and annoying I stopped what I was doing to see what was going on. There perched next to the window making all the noise on the glass was a Red Cardinal. So to me it was an affirmation and gift of love. I felt my son was very happy that I was keeping all the family together to celebrate the love of family and Christ's birth.


When parents lose a child, I now make a habit of visiting the family and giving them a glass sculpture of either a butterfly or dragonfly which represent rebirth and eternal life, respectively. I made one of my sad visits which is always heartbreaking and hard to do. As I was driving out their drive and into the street, a Red Cardinal was sitting in the middle of the road and would not move as I approached. He finally flew off after he had made his presence very known. I figured it was another affirmation that I was doing what I was suppose to do bringing love and comfort to others who are suffering.

This is a female Cardinal story. Our beloved yellow Labrador, May, of almost 12 years had died just short of a year after our son's death. I was at the kitchen sink window and she flew up to the feeder. I then went to the laundry room and she followed me. She was sitting next to the window on the dogs' water bucket. I thought that was a little odd, but went on about my business. I then went to the basement to send a fax in the office. There are high windows in the rec room next to the office. I hear this loud banging sound over and over not stopping until I had to stop what I was doing. I went into the other room and to the far window from where the sound originated. There staring at me was the female Cardinal making sure I saw it was she making all the racket. I smiled realizing it is true all dogs go to Heaven. Someway my precious May wanted me to know she was OK and with Whitner.


These are just a few of my Cardinal stories. In fact just a few days ago when I needed comforting and guidance, a Red Cardinal lit next to me and stayed for a visit. I don't believe the red bird is my son or the female is my beloved dog, but I do believe in the Incarnational when the invisible, eternal, spiritual realm makes itself known in the visible, temporal, physical realm. I am not sure how it all works, but I think God is behind it probably at my determined, persistent son's insistence or pulling at Jesus' robe to send his momma some love, comfort, and affirmation. There is great mystery, and I do believe in the miraculous. There are miracles all around us if we just have eyes to see and ears to hear. I hope you receive these blessings of love; they bring such comfort and affirmation. 


- Rhonda Milner