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The Feather and the Leaf

Calista Stuttarad

My mother passed away from COVID complications Nov. 4, 2020.

She was in an aged care facility, quarantined after requiring fluids in hospital. Soon after, on Oct. 30, she was diagnosed with asymptomatic COVID.

She was unable to have family visits, which was horribly frustrating because I already felt helpless being so far away in Melbourne, Australia. To make my mother feel at ease, we were supposed to have a FaceTime call on Nov. 5.

The night before, I got the worst call of my life.

Not only was my worst fear that something would happen to my mother while I lived abroad, but I couldn’t even fly home when she was diagnosed. To watch a funeral via Zoom was unfathomable.

The pain was the worst I’ve ever felt in my life.

Fast forward several months, while walking to work, I stumbled across a beautiful autumn maple leaf. I picked it up and took it with me to work.

Sitting at my desk watching the cars driving by, a white feather trickled in front of my office window, just for me. (I always asked Mom in spirit to show me signs, either with a white feather or white butterfly.)

I bolted outside, grabbed the feather, and rested it on top of my autumn leaf.

When I walked into work feeling heavyhearted the following week, I saw my feather being delicately hugged by my autumn leaf. This could only be the work of my mother. No doubt, I am the delicate feather, and she is the maple leaf wrapping her energy around me. The feather and leaf still rest on my desk.

The photo shows the tattoo I had created in her memory. The 11’s represent the month she passed and the time the FaceTime call never happened, 11am, Nov. 5, 2020.

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