Today our little cockatiel Squeaker passed away. He had been in Eric’s life for almost 18 years, and in mine for over five.
Our house is quiet without the sound of that little bird, and it will take a lot of getting used to.
Birds can live long lives-parrots can live to be almost 80 years old.
I don’t really have words to better express how sad this is, other than reposting what my husband wrote, it’s beautiful. This picture was taken right before little Squeak left us.
For most of you this story won’t matter. For a few of you it will. About 17 years ago, in the dead of winter, my girlfriend at the time, Maya Cayaba, heard a squealing and squawking outside our apartment window. She opened it up and there stood a bird, a tropical bird, half starved, freezing obviously. She put out her hand and it crawled up into her hair. It stayed there for a bit while we figured out what to do. Maya put out a little plates of water and rice and that bird crawled down and chowed down. I went off to the pet store and bought a cage, perches, toys, bird seed, and rushed home. I put the cage on the counter and the bird just went right in. And there he stayed…we found out later he was a he. The next morning, around 5am, there was this ear splitting sound of screaming coming from the other side of the loft. We threw off our covers and rushed out thinking the bird was dying. It turns out he was very much alive, this was his way of waking up in the morning. Whew, this was going to be tough. We attempted to find the owners and called everywhere we could think of to report a found bird. No one claimed him. He was an orphan. We had a favorite animated film at the time, “All Dogs Go To Heaven”. The main dog character was called Charlie…the name of my childhood dog…and he rescued an orphan, a young girl, who he called Squeaker. It fit. Squeaker would be his name. Soon, he became part of family and eventually figured out that we didn’t scream in the morning…so he stopped doing that. When the weather grew warmer, Squeak…his nickname…liked to be outside hanging with my neighbor’s dog, Shine, a huge and brilliant Shepard/Lab mix. My neighbor would eventually give Shine to us because, well, all Shine wanted to do was be with us. Time went by, I got sober, Maya and I parted ways, and Squeaker, Shine, and myself moved into a two bedroom apartment in Long Island City. Those two guys basically saved my life as I dealt with overcoming my addictions and being on my own for the first time in a long time. They kept me company, gave me structure, got me outside, and, most of all, taught me how to love and laugh again. The most fantastic nights went like this. We would always eat together. It became a ritual. Squeak eating his seed, Shine eating his dog food, and me usually some sort of salad. Then I’d \end up on the couch reading a book, have some music playing, and Shine and Squeak would fall asleep next to me. Shine was the first to die. I miss him to this day. And, today, squeaker died. He wasn’t feeling well this morning, so we wrapped him in blankets and he fell asleep on Randi’s chest. He loved her. We all crowded together on the bed. Even Max, our dog, curled up next to us and kept watch. I was about to head out to get Squeak some medicine and I went to move off the bed and he suddenly sprung up from underneath the blankets and ran to me. I put my head down to his and we sat like that for a long while. I told him I’d be right back and that I loved him. He died while I was gone. Rest in peace, Squeaker. I never thought I’d have or love a bird but you flew into my life, an orphan, and today when you flew out you left me with some of the most beautiful memories of my life and I hope I left you with some, as well.