Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Death of A Bird

Yesterday I told you about the rabbit who had an automatic wash. The rabbit was lucky. The budgie we had wasn't.

Before I start, I really do have to reiterate that Paul would never hurt anything willingly. The things he did when he was younger were purely because he didn't understand the consequences. There was no malice and certainly none of the wickedness I've often witnessed amongst some so-called 'normal' children.

Ok, on with the story.

We had a budgie. Once again, it's name escapes me but I remember it was blue. A beautiful pale blue with white flecks to its feathers.

The budgie was very tame so when I put my hand in the cage, it would happily come onto my finger to be brought out for some free flying and time spent pulling my hair. This particular day, Paul asked if he could try to get the budgie out. Maybe it was foolish of me to say yes, but nevertheless I did.

Paul opened the cage door as gently as he was able, put his hand in and waited patiently. Because the bird wasn't used to going onto Paul's finger (even though it would happily land on him once outside the cage), he just sat there, watching; possibly debating, if birds are capable of such things.

Paul's patience wasn't too good when he was younger so after a few minutes, he took it upon himself to grab the budgie in order to get it out. As soon as I saw and heard what was happening -- the squawking and flying feathers gave it away -- I jumped up shouting for him to stop. But it was too late. Paul had grabbed the budgie by the neck and pulled him out of the cage.

The result? One very dead bird.

Paul was devastated. He sobbed until there were no more tears left. He understood that dead meant the budgie would have to be buried and would never again sit in his cage chattering away, or fly around the room, or annoy his mum by pulling at her hair. He understood that while we all die one day, it isn't a good thing to cause another creature to die.

While he's forgotten a lot of the incidents that happened during his childhood, he does remember strangling the budgie. But we don't talk about it because on the occasions it has been mentioned, he's cried again and there's really no point upsetting him over something that can't be undone.

Although the rest of us can look back and make light of it, Paul can't. And maybe he shouldn't, either.

I know it sounds awful that we can make light of it at all. It isn't nice but sometimes that's the only way that families who have had to deal with more than their share of traumatic events can deal with things. They make light of the less traumatic ones. It's some weird kind of psychology but as long as it works, why knock it?



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