I had to sit with a foster child at the hospital yesterday. She’d had a seizure in class, and her regular casework couldn’t get to Jackson, so I waited with her for a couple of hours until someone could get there.
She was groggy, but it made me smile when her blue eyes lit up and noticed my hair was purple. “It’s purple!” she said with a lazy grin.
After leaving her in the emergency room, I decided to take a walk to the Serenity Garden, where my sweet Carlie Wren’s name is engraved in the wall.
I developed hiccups right after leaving the room, and they were the painful, loud kind. I covered my mouth as I strolled by some passerbys, silently growling inside my head at the inconvenience.
I arrived to the garden, and I sat on a concrete bench. I remember feeling numb this day, for whatever reason, and the hiccups were breaking my concentration. Out of nowhere, I heard a sweet, playful little girl voice in my head.
I wanted to make you silly, mommy!
I smiled, realizing it was my daughter’s voice from heaven. She’s spoken to me a few times like this. Carlie had given me hiccups to make me silly. I laughed quietly to myself, and my hiccups immediately ceased.
I got into the car, listening to the radio since my cell phone data has ended until the 15th. I usually listen to Spotify, but the radio was my only noise. I usually switch between stations when there’s a commercial, but lost in Carlie thoughts, I left it on.
102.3. The rocket. Where the last time we said ‘Free Bird’ was when we drove off from KFC without paying.
I laughed loudly to myself. Here was Carlie, trying to make me laugh again! My nickname for her is Free Bird, and I consider it her song. We even played it at the conclusion of her memorial service.
Then I got home, posted the picture above, and my sister smartly noticed that above Carlie’s name are mine, and hers.
Donna Jean Strayhorn
Ashley La’ Star Fly
That’s the day I realized I will never lose my baby bird.
I just have to listen a little harder, in between the hustle and bustle of everyday life.