top of page
  • Writer's pictureKit Wisdom

Let the tears be here, Melbourne.

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

It was his eyes that got me: a bottomless, beautiful blue - wide, clear, and shiny. Their intensity reminding me of the depths of the sea.

When I saw his not-yet fully formed tears and then heard his heavy-hearted voice, a wave collapsed into my chest.

"Mum, I found a dead pigeon. I need your help to bury it."

At another time, I might have entertained another, less generous, response - Sorry bud, I haven't got time right now; I've got to get back to work – yet in my foggy, oh so foggy, covid-fatigued, lock-downed, hypervigilant state, I could sense something significant in this request: a deep need, a craving to be met. His eyes, revealing the vastness of the now, were awash with grief. The pigeon's neck was broken. Flightless. No longer free. Our home was where it must stay. Much like us. Currents were crashing onto my son’s cheeks, as he explained how he found it.

“I was sitting on the fence, Mum. I saw it. It was so still, lying on the ground. Birds are meant to fly, high in the sky. It wasn’t flying like the others.”

Sitting atop the side fence was a new thing for him. It was a place he went to expel his anger and frustration, to watch the world of our suburban Melbourne street pass by, to allow the trees and birds to cajole him back to safety in his body. It had become his escape from the confines of a COVID-cloaked existence.

I noticed my heartbeat slowing, my body lowering, these words forming on my lips: Let the tears be here, bud. Let them be here. Let them come.

The crashing currents were now rapids. Surging and wild. The bird had given him permission to reveal some of his inner landscape and it was clear its terrain was in tatters as he cycled through many stages of anguish – anger, sadness, denial, bargaining – all at once.

You didn't deserve to die!” he yelled. “The world was a better place with you in it. Whyyyyyyyy? I don't want you to die! Mum, can we buy a pet pigeon? Where do they sell them? Can we get one today? We neeeeeeed to find one.”

His grief was so strong it was hard to know what to do, how to be, how to help my beautiful boy through his pain. As I embraced him, I noticed my own internal conflict: wanting to protect and also aching to surrender and join him in his pain.

It's as if he sensed my own need to mourn, my own longing to acknowledge all the loss - of connection, touch, laughter. Of hope, smiles, spontaneity. Of freedoms never thought to be taken. Of time. Of too much time spent disconnected.

And so, he took me and all our sadness by the hand, he held our hurting hearts, and he led us toward what we needed most: a ritual.

"We need to dig a hole, Mum. One big enough for it to fit in and be comfy."

And so, we dug together. Taking turns. Both his feet on one side of the shovel, mine on the other. The first spot, we hit concrete.

Maybe we need help, bud?

"No Mum. We need to do this, just you and me."

We chose another spot, the tears still torrential.

"I'll put it in the hole, Mum. I want to do it."

As I watched him carry it towards the hole, trying to realign its neck for burial, I found myself wondering about this child I knew so well. How his explosive tendencies got more airtime than this softer side. How behind his hostility is fear, and sadness, and pain. How we need more opportunities to explore loss. And how nourishing it is to grieve.

"Mum, I don't want it to be buried alone. Can we find something to bury with it? What do pigeons eat? Can we search it up?"

The torrents had eased, his tears now more like a gentle river trickle.

We looked it up. Pigeons eat grains, some fruits, green things. We find bread, blueberries, coriander.

"I'll tear the bread, Mum. It needs small pieces."

Another deluge of tears and intense need follow the feeding.

"Not yet, Mum! Can we give it some time to be with the food before we fill in the hole? Can we write the sign first?"

Many teachers I've spoken to remark how primary-aged boys rarely approach writing unless it's about something meaningful.

I don't think I've ever seen him write with such purpose. Normally his need for perfection creates barriers to participation, frustration seemingly ready to pounce. But not today. Today is different.







Love from Fergus

"Mum, can you fill the hole in? I don't want to. Please be gentle. I'm ready now.”

As my kid takes my hand in his, so warm and alive, I notice the lightness. I sense a cleansing, an oceanic cycle fulfilled, the complexity of being human not only acknowledged but celebrated.

Able to let his feelings flee, we watch them emerge from their cooped-up cage. Their wings spread wide. Equipped for flight. Beautiful in the mid-afternoon light.

And I am so appreciative of him. Him, and Pigeon Friday.

He squeezes my hand and swings our arms and suggests a cuddle on the couch - some time together, to remember, to imagine the little bird who once made its way so freely across our city’s streets and skies.

138 views0 comments


bottom of page