Sam – July 1985 – 22 June 2014

by Ken on June 23, 2014

Today I lost my good friend Sam.

He was my pet for nearly 30 years. His memory is spun among so many memories, nearly half a life for me. My youngest son, Bryan, was 3 when Sam came into our lives. Sam followed me from my A-frame, my 2nd home in Lutz and my abodes through many changes in my life.

I have memories of him at the beach when we did our yearly trips. At the ranch – up in the mountains with us during our motor home trips.

My mother watched him at times. I held him in my hands the day she died 18 years ago.

He could sing “I left my heart in San Franciso”. He could recite parts of the Gettysburg address. He would say “Good night Precious” when we turned off the lights to go to bed. He said “hi” when we were eating to get a treat. He once said “Who is it?” when a UPS man was at the door. The man kept saying “UPS”, “UPS” and the bird kept saying “Who is it?”.

He had antics that one only completely knows after nearly 30 years of sharing.

He was a background to my life. He was always there. He survived cats, children and even, mostly recently, a dog. He would cluck around his cage at times like a hen. He was picky and loved cheese and peanuts. Those were foods I yielded to him – and may have lent to his eventual demise. I truly do not know. I will not regret. That is a promise.

But I am sad. We brought him home tonight from Kim’s folks, who were taking care of him while we were away on a trip. I last saw him alive when we flew him down in the airplane to be with them. He took to the airplane well. Her parents, Tony and Bev, loved him so much. Beverly even painted a picture of the little guy.

Yes, parrots are just birds. And many may see such a passing as trivial. But parrots, among pets, can live a very long time. It is both wonderful but a point of risk. Wonderful for obvious reasons. Perhaps a bit risky for the pain they leave because they carry with themselves so many years of our own lives. Nearly half my life….and I am 62.

We just brought him home. It is late. We moved his cages and all his trails of material accummulations out into the hangar. And I buried him – tonight.

I have known of his passing, now, for about 4 hours. No tears. I understand how it fits into the scheme of my life – which is so good and so full of precious loved ones.

But I buried him with many feelings of emotion. I held that little body – and allowed myself the memories. The spaces and places. The sounds. All the phone conversations that he had – one-sided for sure. His fluffed feathers as I played the piano. He loved my playing – and he showed me. His scratching his own head and sounds of pleasure as he did it – or my scratching his head and watching him close his eyes in bliss. The memories….they flooded through. I scanned them, shed a tear or two, so I can move  on.

I will miss him.

This afternoon, he was happy and himself. He was climbing on his cage to the top – and just fell off to the floor – dead. A precious little life – gone. May we all go so quickly and without pain.

My thanks to Sam for spending half a life with me – all of his. I was his truest friend. He loved me – trusted me – and was happy to have me in his life. I was happy to have him in mine.

I buried him and released my own grief as he was released from this life.

And I ended the cycle. Done.

This loss hurts. But it was worth it!

Ken Risley

22 June 2014.


Follow up 30 June 2014

The power of life as it is in us today and the fact that every tomorrow remains a golden gift for our taking is so true that the ending of important cycles becomes known as a necessary part of all cycles. Would one ever want to live a life in without them. I once knew a guy who shunned all relationships – mostly out of fear of loss. He died a miserable and lonely man.

Been a great week of ever-expanding horizons – as they all have become this last year. Regarding Sam, I was fine the next day and have concluded with certainty that the quick and brief pain of loss of a pet is totally an acceptable cost for the years we have and share.  I used to wonder if it is worth the possible pain.

Now I know.

I think we’re gonna get another bird :-))

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bryan Risley June 23, 2014 at 12:45 pm


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