February 2, 1997

Dear Diary:

Weather today -- clear and cold
Mood today -- peevish
Fly count for yesterday -- 0
HF Today -- 48374653%

Well, here it is: the official welcome to Page One to the dreamdweller domain. For those of you who are fans of The Maestro, his wonderful site is now right here on this domain, at http://www.dreamdweller.com/scott/ For those of you who have not visited Page One and Waking In the Blue, please do so! I think you'll find yourself spending some time there. :) It's a great site, put together and brought to the Web community by a wonderful guy.

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Tomorrow I have the dubious honor of seeing the American judicial system in practice in the form of a trial. Today I am my own judge and jury. For some reason, my lovebirds are still weighing heavily on my mind. You may recall that I spoke briefly about them here a few days ago. If you're just joining the story now, you can find more information about the lovebirds and all my birds in my Diary Archives and on the page called Lessons We've Learned. The facts that are germaine to the discussion at this point are that 1) the lovebirds are dead and 2) I had to euthanize them myself. And after two years, I'm having a horrible timing dealing with both still.

All this got started as a result of a visit to my shrink about a week ago. I told him that ever since the PBFD ravaged my aviaries and I had to destory 83% of my birds that I've been detached from everything: birds, friends, emotions, life. I told him I can't seem to move past what happened and that I don't feel like there is ever going to be a sense of closure for me, that I don't think I'm ever going to heal from what happened. He told me that I'm holding myself hostage and to just get on with it. For some reason, that made me sad and a bit angry. I guess I can't expect anyone other than another bird person to understand what this whole experience did to me and to my entire existence.

It isn't a matter of just moving on. It's a matter of having acted in what I believe to be a morally criminal manner and having to live with the knowledge and consequences of those actions. And it's about all that has transpired since then as a result of that event. The course of my life was effected in a rather permanent way by those experiences and that isn't something one can take lightly and blithely write off as "taking myself hostage." Or maybe it is. Maybe Dr. Cervantes is right and I'm making too much out of it. But it goes to the very core of all I believe: that life is sacred and I took that from those birds.

You have to understand why I was involved with raising exotic birds in the first place. It sure wasn't to make money, because bird farming ain't lucrative. It was because it allowed me to be intimately involved with the miracle of birth and life over and over and over, day after day after day. Yes, the birds were the ones who, for the most part, hatched their chicks without my assistance. And yes, for the most part they fed them and cared for them for the first ten days to two weeks. But then I got to take over and feed these tiny chicks, teach them how to eat on their own, teach them how to be a bird in a domestic environment, socialize them, love them, play with them. I never sold a hand fed baby bird that wasn't bonded to me at least to some degree. And that was part of it, too: helping the new stewards, the people who bought my babies, and the birds transfer that bond from me to the steward. It was a *very* fulfilling life for me. I didn't mind the occasional problem baby that meant 'round-the-clock feedings from the moment the baby hatched. To hold a newborn baby lovebird in the palm of your hand, a baby that is not much bigger than a pea and is blind, naked, completely vulnerable... well, I can't tell you how honored I was to be able to do that not just once but many times. And then to feed the little one every two hours or so for the next several weeks and watch it grow... well, they grow to adulthood in about six weeks' time, so you can literally see changes in their growth from one day to the next. Amazing and awesome, I gotta tell you. So you see, it was the means that I lived for, not the ends.

And like a puff of dust, it was gone. I think about little Merula, my feisty little double dark factor blue female.... dead. And Tweety, the most beautiful creamino female ever... dead. And Homer and Marge, the Simpsons... dead. All my birds are dead. And I killed them. Not because I wanted to but because I had no alternative in the face of the disease running rampant through my aviaries and threatening anyone who had a bird and came in contact with me or my birds. And while I stood in the lovebird aviary in the moonlight in my white nightgown, catching my beloved babies and euthanizing them one by one, the person who should have been there for me, who *knew* what effect those actions would have on me, was not. He was too busy on IRC with his friends to give a rat's ass about his wife. And that, that very night, was the beginning of the end of my marriage.

Am I pissed? You bet. I'm pissed at Martin and I'm pissed at God. And I'm pissed at myself for not standing up to Martin and insisting on spending the two thousand dollars it would have taken to test every single bird on my property. I'll bet 80% of those birds that died did not have Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease. But because he was too cheap to allow me to have them tested, my life, was as well as the lives of my birds, was destoryed.

Holding myself hostage? I suppose so. Move on? I have tried, am trying. It's not working and I don't know how to just let go. I just wish it could have been me who died that night and that my birds were still alive. For that matter, I large part of me *did* die that night. Life/death, love/hate, sadness/joy, approbation/condemnation. It's a balance I've lost and don't know how to regain.

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Copyright (c) 1997 Elaine M. Jordaan

This page last updated April 18, 1997