Can someone have daddy issues if their daddy is no longer living? Or is it just called issues? Since my dad passed away more than 7 years ago I think about him like most people think about their past loved ones. I often wonder what he is doing to keep busy in the afterlife. Some people think that the dead come to visit us, coming back in a form of a flittering butterfly or maybe in the shape of a bird, leaving feathers behind for loved ones to find.
Just before Father’s Day there was this big black crow that showed up outside my house that caught my attention. It wasn’t only the size of the bird that made me take notice or the fact that it would mill around my front yard with a sense of purpose that even I don’t seem to have. But this bird had a call that sounded just like the noise my dad made when he sneezed. My dad had a loud, powerful, almost violent sneeze. The sound was jarring and off putting. The kind of sound that makes a person need to steady oneself afterwards if they did not expect to hear it.
On the morning, nearing Father’s day, the day I heard the familiar bellow. I made my way to the source of the noise and opened up my front door to spot a crow standing in the middle of my front yard. I did what any sane person would do. I looked intently at the crow as it stared back at me and I whispered, “Dad”? The bird flew away. It didn’t fly far, just across the street. I believe it seemed to think that across the street was a better distance to stare in my general direction. I thought that I should make it feel welcome and I grabbed a few pieces of bread and threw them at the far end of my yard. I was hoping that the bread would motivate him to come a bit closer, but he didn’t and the bread just sat as an ignored gesture.
The bird continued to hang around because I would hear the unsettling caw. I tried several times to make a connection by putting out scraps of food and such. But he ignored my friendliness and instead would still stare at me from a careful distance. I sensed judgment. I thought that if I tidied my yard up a bit and made it less scary the bird would soften its glare. So, I did and looked for a different reaction in the creature, but I got nothing. He was as aloof and distant as ever. I found myself wondering if he would notice and approve of my new outfit when I found him leering from my rooftop as I walked to my car on a random morning, but he just flew over my car and shit bombed my windshield. I wondered if he was protesting my outfit or my foreign made car. I might never know. However, I did know that his presence was causing me to entertain insane notions. I wished this scornful flying animal would just drop a feather at my door and make a mystifying mark on me and be on his way to haunt someone else.
I do understand that this could have been just a crow and was probably just a crow. And I am willing to except that I sometimes look for meaning in order to work out deep seated childhood issues. Perhaps my three years of therapy merely just scratched the surface of my semi polished exterior.
I also realized that I might be going down a familiar path of attempting to get an emotional response or maybe any recognition that will nudge me along confirming from an outside source that things are going well and I might be okay. The only difference between now and then is presently I am seeking such ratification from a hapless bird. In the past, I did attempt to get such a response from my father, but it seems the outcome is eerily similar. I fault no one except my own expectations. My dad was supporting a family of four and always had at least two jobs and still barely made ends meet. The crow is busy eating two thirds of its body weight in order to maintain survival. So, it makes sense that I would believe, even for a split second, that dear old dad visited me in the afterlife as a Raven. And it makes even more sense that my dad would be in a form of a super pissed off bird, because even in the afterlife he still has to work as hard as ever just to maintain. Even as a disgruntled, bellowing crow who scavenges for hours and hours for food, my dad still refused to take a handout.