From Pot plant Owl FB page
I've waited as long as I could to write this entry. Months of waiting, hoping, searching...against all odds. Finally it is time to say a few words about our Pot Plant Owl family....
I've started this entry in my mind a hundred times over. Each time is different. Each starting point takes me an inch closer to the truth of what I'm feeling. This process has taken me to the knife's edge of loss and, coupled with the grief of losing my mother months earlier, has left my emotions raw.
I started off with the simple, factual entry in my mind:
“The PPO owls never returned and, presumably, the last of the PPO line in the area were taken by the Trich disease. The end.”
That didn't sound right at all, so I added in:
“We were so privileged to have the owls nest with us for over a decade but there is a season for everything in Life and it had to end eventually.”
Nope, this entry was no good either. It sounded like the final announcement for a TV show. Then I thought of what many viewers and readers might say:
“We were so lucky and have so many wonderful memories about the PPO owl family.”
Hmmm, because those memories somehow make it so much easier to process and deal with the end of the owls? I think not. The trap in that line of thinking, as I found out, is that the more you ponder on these memories from a place of raw grief and loss, the more these memories take your breath away. Try as you may, you can't exhale to find relief. So, you look the other way and try to forget.
But soon I found myself trapped by one of Life's magical laws - the one that goes:
What you resist, persists.
I looked in my phone gallery – owls. I opened my writing notes – owls. I looked in our bookshelf – owls. I cleared up my jewellery box – owls. Owl pictures, owl photographs, owl trinkets, owl salt n pepper shakers – the list goes on and on. The very first night we moved into this house, Pappa and Mamma (original PPO) visited our balcony and I fell asleep to their hoots. Until recently, this owl family has been right here – all the time. Now they are gone. And as much as I tried to keep my eyes shut and walk through my house, I couldn't do it. So, it was time to face it head on.
The next entry I tried in my head went something like this:
“I'm really sad about the loss of our owls but I know that their deaths helped educate people about diseases like Trich.”
'Sad? That's all you got?' said the voice inside my head. 'You can do better than that! Say what you are really feeling.'
So, my entry changed:
“While I am sad, I am actually pretty angry if you must know the truth. I'm frustrated that I couldn't save them, mad as heck that people in general don't seem to care about helping Nature and the Planet. I'm peeved at being unwittingly drawn into wildlife politics. Instead of just being supported and allowed to grieve, we had to defend ourselves and our actions.”
Now I'm on a roll so out it all comes:
“I wish we had known more about Trich and could have done something to prevent the owls from dying. I wish we had spent more time watching the owls in the last two years.”
Here comes the guilt:
“I wish we had never started thinking that it would be nice one year not to have to fret 24/7 about wayward owl chicks disappearing, getting trapped under cars, being attacked by dogs, getting caught in electric fences. I wish I had never said, never thought, that I wanted a small break from the responsibility that went with this PPO venture.”
Followed by the pain:
“I can't bear looking onto the balcony now. It hurts too much to take down all the perches and covers that prevented the chicks from falling off the balcony.”
We are so conditioned in society to answer “I'm fine / We're fine”, swallowing our deepest hurts and upsets. This is why now is the time to write this entry:
For people who haven't gone through it to appreciate what it is like to grieve and feel loss, and
For those of you who have followed our dear PPO family over all these years who are grieving too
Am I okay? I'm better than I was yesterday, and tomorrow I'll be better still. This is all I can hope for you out there who loved these sweet PPO owls as much as we did.
There's nothing left to say but THANK YOU to each and every one of you who followed our owls; delighted in their mischievous behaviour; revelled in their growing up and comings of age; learnt a thing or two about the owls; paid closer attention to your gardens / parks / nature reserves; made new global and local friendships; and found a place of belonging in the PPO family. You are all very special to us and we honour and appreciate every one of you.
We will keep this page open to remind people of our precious Pot Plant Owl family.
Thank you all!
Tracy (and Allan)