One of the first blogs I posted was titled “Butterflies, Turtles, God-Winks, and Hope.” And in the article was a picture of “T,” our turtle. A while back, Lori saw a post on Facebook that read, “Expect Good Things,” with a small picture of a turtle. She was on her way for a walk and grabbed her cell phone because she was expecting a call from her sister. Her phone rang while she was walking down the wide bike path along the street. When she looked down to turn the phone on, a baby turtle caught her attention sitting in the middle of the path. He looked so vulnerable, afraid, and all alone, so she brought him home and found a bowl for him.
It was like a baby was left in a basket on our door step. I bonded with the little green guy in a half shell. I even drove him to Colorado on vacation. I stopped to buy a sponge for him to sit on in his water bowl so his head wouldn’t vibrate so much. Behind our house, I built a small pond for him and another turtle, Bea, that was given to us by a friend. For months, we were a family and I dreamed someday seeing baby grand-turtles swimming in the pond.
T and Bea seemed content in their little world, but soon after spotting some wildlife lurking in our backyard, they disappeared. I searched their water, I searched their compound—I was distraught.
Maybe they left, maybe they found a bigger pond, maybe some nasty raccoon swooped them up and made turtle soup. They were gone. But I still looked for them, I still kept the pond going. I still thought about them, but I couldn’t accept they were gone. It just wasn’t right. Again, something was ripped from me. It didn’t matter that it was just two little slider turtles. It made me sad to think about them—I felt for my wife who cared for them. I felt guilty for not providing a secure home for them.
Today after six months, I looked again to the sunny rock in the middle of the pond and Oh my gosh.
“Lori, Lori, come here.”
“Come quick, you gotta see this.”
“Is it good or bad?”
“Good, very good.”
“Oh my gorsh,” she said.
“Is it Bea or is it T?”
It looked smaller than T but bigger than B. It was Bea, we figured. Bea was growing up. Back from hibernation? Back from her own vacation to Colorado? I didn’t ask questions, because after all it’s a turtle and turtles don’t talk.
When people tell me how animals have a special way of reminding them of their loved one, I get it now. We need them. They don’t fill a void, but they do bring us a sense of wonderment. They remind us how fragile life is, and how small we are in this world. But they remind us that we don’t have to be intimidated, even when we are alone and afraid. They teach us that somehow after months of cold, seemingly alone and forgotten in the dark; because of their faith and will to live, they swim to the surface. They find their rock in the sun and it is still warm.
I am finding my rock in the sun, it is right here–listening, and writing to you. I signed a book deal with Elk Lake Publishing and Credo Literary Agency. “When Sunday Smile” may be published as early as December or possibly one year from now. I am so excited to put my hands on the first copy. I will be sharing more about the content in the weeks to come. Maybe someday, I’ll read it to Bea’s kids.
Andy is a Clinical Psychologist who lost his son in a tragic motorcycle accident and now dedicated to helping others find answers to life’s most difficult questions. The quiz is available! Go to http://andymdavidson.com/Home/Pgd to find out if you may have Prolonged Grief Disorder. Look forward to his upcoming posts and books. Follow him at his website, AndyMDavidson.com and Facebook.com/ThroughLifeandLoss to find out more about prolonged grief.