I Have a Story (3)

(Another real life story from my sister’s life)

“On Goodbyes”

When I lived in the cold country of Colorado, I used to watch a squirrel family of five gather nuts in my front yard every morning.  One time, when I was leaving for work, I looked up and saw them crossing over to the other side of the street single file, using the branches of the trees that grew on both sides of the street with the branches intertwined over the street.

Another day, when I walked out of my duplex to get in my car, I saw a girl out in the street looking down at something lying there.  She looked up at me and said it was an injured animal.  I had an old gray sweatshirt in the car, so I gave it to her and she scooped up the animal and brought it back over to me.  Next thing I knew, she placed the bundle in my arms, and I looked down into the trusting brown, shiny eyes of a squirrel. It had been hit by a car, she said, then the girl left abruptly.

I took the injured animal into my living room and set it carefully on the floor.  I couldn’t see any blood, maybe he was just in shock.  He laid quietly on my sweatshirt, while I lightly petted him, and stared at me.  I made a quick call to the animal shelter to see what I could feed the squirrel.  As I hung up the phone, I went back over to him.  He looked at me with the most loving gaze, let out a tiny little sneeze, then died.  Blood trickled from its mouth.  It had been bleeding internally.  I very sadly placed him in a bag, set him gently in the trash bin outside, and went on to work.

I returned home from work late that night.  I shined my flash light so I could see to unlock the door.  To my surprise, I saw in the fresh snow several sets of tiny paw prints below my window and on the window sill.  My window was really low to the ground.  The squirrels must have seen me take the injured squirrel inside and they had been peering into my window trying to get a glimpse of their family member!

I never realized squirrels were that smart or family oriented.  There was no way I could tell them know their little buddy had died.  They would just have to always wonder what happened.

After that, I watched only four squirrels foraging and playing in my front yard.  I’ll never forget that I held and petted a wild squirrel as we gazed into each other’s eyes, saying silent goodbyes.

The end

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