A dear friend lost her daughter in a tragic and heartbreaking way. As she revealed her grief to me, we began to discuss the fable of the cardinal in which the cardinal represents a message from a deceased loved one
Her story began with a meeting for coffee in a lovely restaurant with a close friend shortly after her daughter's death. As she spoke of missing her daughter and wishing for just one more visit, a cardinal sat on the ledge right outside her window just a few inches away on the other side of the glass. The cardinal proceeded to cock its head and seemingly give her a wink and then suddenly ruffled his feathers. Simultaneously each friend remarked, "It's a visit!" My sweet friend felt washed with confidence that her daughter in fact knew of her mom's grief and was trying to bring joy into her life at that very moment with a little joke to ruffle her feathers.
Her daughter, she explained, was a lovely young lady who in life had a very vibrant personality and unique sense of humor. She would often tease her mother with mischievous humor. When her Mother would react with surprise, the daughter would respond, "Oh, Mama, I was just ruffling your feathers!" The visit from a cardinal while having coffee that morning became an encouragement. A reminder of her daughter's personality and humor. The cardinal brought joy to her heart at each remembrance.
This was the story she told me as she asked me to paint a cardinal for her. Not just any cardinal but one that would cock its head and with a glint in his eye ruffle his feathers.
It was truly a joy to remember this story as I painted the cardinal. And as often happens with this kind of request, I found the subject to almost mysteriously appear on the canvas. He seemed to speak to me in the same way with a glint in his eye.
It was an extreme pleasure to paint "THE VISIT" for my friend! I hope the joy of confident remembrance washes over her each time she looks into the face of this cardinal.