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Posts: 13
My beloved Sammy died three weeks ago today. Today is also my birthday. I stopped wanting to celebrate my birthday years ago when I got to the age when it just made me depressed about getting that much older and seeing my chances of building my own human family grow that much less (I am chronically single, an only child and my parents are getting old and are far away). Sometimes friends or co-workers have been kind enough to visit from out of town, bake a cake or take me out for dinner or drinks to celebrate. But there have been many years when I simply stayed home alone and tried to ignore the cruel passing of time. This is one of those years. The friend that was supposed to visit had to cancel due to other plans.

With Sammy in my life, however, I was never truly alone. He could always cheer me up when I was blue. He could even whistle the "Happy Birthday" song, and he would burst into song easily when he was in a good mood, or if I prompted him by waving a tissue or other cloth in front of him. This is the first birthday in nearly 20 years when I didn't hear his lovely little voice singing Happy Birthday to me. I have a few short videos of his various vocal stylings, which I will eventually post on YouTube or a tribute web site, but for now I just play them for myself. I am so thankful that I have those, so I can listen to them when I long to hear those precious sounds.

When I was cleaning files off an old work laptop that I had to return to the office for disposal, I found three audio recordings of him that I forgot I had - one of him whispering sweet nothings (which he often did with his beak in my ear), one of him singing and another of him laughing. The laughing was a sound he only made during a certain "game." I would pat his head lightly with a washcloth and he would laugh rhythmically along with the patting. If I drew the cloth away, he would pause and stretch his body up in anticipation of another round, and then when I brought it back down to his head again, he would bow down, stick his head under the cloth and go "ha ha ha ha ha" when I went "pat pat pat pat pat." Sadly I don't have a video of this, only the audio.

So this is why I'm having a hard day. I am grieving just as much today as I did two weeks ago, the pain has not lessened. In fact it has gotten worse because in addition to missing him, the guilt has grown over the fact that I did not give him the best life I could by keeping him as a lone bird. I know I don't deserve much compassion due to that. Most people on here are better to their pets than I was, so I understand if you don't want to respond to this. I just appreciate the chance to get my thoughts and feelings out on this difficult day.

Elna, Sammy's Mom


Posts: 1,328
Sorry for the loss of your Sammy. I know what you mean about birthday's. They always spark an array of feelings. For me, too. I had one a few weeks ago.
I hope that  a seed of new hope gets planted for you, in the upcoming year. When things look absolutely the worst--sometimes that's when better things start coming. Take care and Happy Birthday.

Posts: 62
Dear Elna,
You sound like a WONDERFUL mom to Sammy and don't for a second think that you weren't!!! I don't think there's anything cruel in keeping a single bird when they get as much attention and love as Sammy got from you. A sad and miserable bird doesn't sing happy birthday to his mom, whisper sweet nothings in her ear, or play games just for fun. I read your old post where you said he spent almost all the time you were home outside of his cage, flying around the house, and let me tell you that most pet parrots and birds today hardly ever get to come out of their cages and enjoy like your Sammy! Having been active in bird rescue, I've seen so many birds put in a small cage and put away in the basement, garage or some out of the way guestroom because they "made too much noise". Sammy had a great and happy life with you, so don't you beat yourself up and think anything else! Your love for Sammy is so clear through you post, and of course he knows how much you loved him and will continue to love him always!

If you don't think you'll want to have another pet in the future, maybe you could try being a temporary foster home for rescue birds if there's a bird rescue in your area. That way you would be able to help show truly sad and miserable little birds how to live and love again, and trust me, that's a wonderful feeling. It might also help you understand that you really *were* a great mom to Sammy. He knew it all along and he loved you for it.



Posts: 205
Dearest Elna...first off Happy Birthday..maybe if you listen real carefully, you can hear Sammy whistling the Birthday time or separation could ever take away that memory...
Sammy watch over your mom, she misses you terribly...Tai-Chi's mom Lisa


Posts: 699
Dear Elna,

Sending you warm and good wishes on your birthday.  I can truly understand how much you miss your Sammy today, when for so many years he has helped you celebrate in such a special way.  What a smart little guy he was, and how lucky he was to be with you, who not only loved him so much, but helped him to to be all he could be.  His long life with you is a clear indication that he felt loved and well cared for.

I can imagine that this day is such a bittersweet day for you.  Please do not feel alone, because you are not, my friend.  You will always have the love of your little Sammy, your little soulmate.  And we are here for you.

Big Birthday Hug,
Katharine, Grunt's Mom Forever 


Posts: 5,100
You were a GREAT mom to Sammy!!  No doubt about that, so you need to put that guilt trip right out of your mind.   He was way too happy a bird to be lonely.  And, you loved him with all your heart (and STILL DO).

You are not alone.  You have all your wonderful memories of Sammy, and you have all of us to offer support and understanding.  

I was single and alone with my pups for a very long time; and eventually found a wonderful mate.   Sometimes it takes a while, so don't give up!   I will say some prayers that your life is filled with a new sense of HOPE and optimism for your future.

Big birthday hugs,

Betsy's forever mom


Posts: 686
Dearest Elna

First of all, happy birthday.  I know you are feeling alone, but your sweet Sammy will always be in your heart and his spirit will always surround you.  He is part of who you are.

Don't ever doubt the wonderful life you gave Sammy.  I can tell by the picture that he was a healthy, happy, beautiful boy!  It is also obvious by the little games you played with him that he was happy.  That is why he responded to you in the way he did. 

I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.   Please come back whenever you feel the need for love and support.  We are here for you.:-)

Huge hugs
Kate (Gus' mom)


Posts: 1,205
Dear Elna

Happy Birthday to you.  It is so hard at times like this, the many memories, bittersweet.......Your Sammy is beautiful.  I had 6 cockatiels but they were in an aviary so never became tame, they were rescues.  I know how clever and intelligent they are, they used to dive bomb my rabbits and hitch a ride on their backs.
Please dont feel so alone, we are all here for you.  I do know how you feel, I have spent birthdays on my own, but I have always had my animals for company.  I am so sorry, Love Di xxx

Posts: 355
Dear Elna

Please know that your Sammy loved you - and what a beautiful bird he was. I think we all have our feelings of guilt and doubt - but deep down we know how much we loved our babies and did everything we could for them. You were a wonderful Mom to Sammy, and he knew that.

I know how hard birthdays are too - as much as i dislike them, I have to "be o.k." on my birthday because I share the day with my Mother (I was born on her birthday.)

I have two children aged 18 and 19, but they are either in school, working, or out with their friends - so for me, there was always my baby cat to come home to, my beautiful Cheeseburger. Today marks 1 month since he is gone and I miss him so much, but I am trying to find comfort in all the cherished memories I have of him and me together. Cheesey always made me smile and brought so much love and happiness into my life.

You have friends here who care and understand. I want to wish you a Happy Birthday.

Listen for Sammy...he is there in your heart always.

Cheeseburger's Mom

Dee + Cheeseburger = LOVE

Posts: 1,569
Dear Elna;

Happy birthday. I am so sorry for your loss. We have a cockatiel also named
Sammy he is 22 years old and has out lived two of his mates. Not as talented as your Sammy was in the whistling category but he has one that sounds like an old car trying to start. He will give you the old "Wolf Whistle" now and then when you walk by his cage. Your Sammy looks so pretty, ours has the typical cockatiel coloring as did his other mates. Please do not feel guilty, our Sammy has been without mate for sometime. Besides they are not alone they have us and you gave Sammy all the love he needed. God Bless--Jerry in Oklahoma.

Posts: 13
Dear Nancee, Maria, Lisa, Katharine, Melissa, Kate, Di, Dee, and Jerry,

Thank you all so much for your kind and comforting words.  You are all such compassionate people and I am very grateful that I found you all on this board.  I now feel a little bit better and a bit less guilty.  I did love Sammy with all my heart and I do hope that he knew that.

I have been reading a lot of the heartbreaking stories here and my heart goes out to everyone who has lost their special animal babies whether it was yesterday, last week, last month, last year, or even before that.  I know it is so hard, and I hope we can all survive these losses together, giving strength to one another along the path to healing.

I consider the ability to bond closely with animals to be a very special gift that can really touch the soul.  Our lives are enriched beyond  measure by these wonderful creatures, and I can tell by the kindness exhibited here that the people whose lives have been touched in this way are especially sensitive and caring towards humanity as well.

I'm sending warm thoughts to each and every one of you and hope that you all know how helpful the support and sharing of similar experiences has been.

Elna (Sammy's Mom)

I measure every grief...

I measure every grief I meet
With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.

I wonder if they bore it long,
Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
It feels so old a pain.

I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.

I wonder if when years have piled--
Some thousands--on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
Could give them any pause;

Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.

The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies,--
Death is but one and comes but once
And only nails the eyes.

There's grief of want, and grief of cold,--
A sort they call 'despair,'
There's banishment from native eyes,
In sight of native air.

And though I may not guess the kind
Correctly yet to me
A piercing comfort it affords
In passing Calvary,

To note the fashions of the cross
Of those that stand alone
Still fascinated to presume
That some are like my own.

- Emily Dickinson


Posts: 5
Hi Elna:

I am new here today because I lost my own Sammy, my 18-year-old kitty, earlier today. I just want to offer my condolences on your loss as well as a shout-out of support because you sound like a wonderful lady. Take good care.

Sarah from San Francisco

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