There is an old folklore saying that, “When God sends a cardinal, it’s a visitor from heaven.”

My mother was a collector of cardinal figurines and placed them in pairs throughout the house. For the most part, I paid little credence to her red-feathered friends until after her death in 1999. A week following her service, I was walking from the mailbox and a female cardinal landed on the front porch. She began chirping wildly, as if she was saying, “Good morning, Helen!”

Another amazing appearance of my “cardinal family” happened in March of 2001, two months after my father passed away. My sister and I were in Florida facing the task of taking care of our parents’ house. I stayed at the house alone the final two days. As I left their house that final time, two cardinals were perched on the front porch railing. My eyes filled with tears, and I sat down with the overwhelming realization that Mother and Dad were telling me “Everything will be okay,”

The most pointed cardinal experience happened in August of 2006, after returning home from a ten-day stay in the hospital. On my first short walk around the driveway, a pair of cardinals landed about ten feet away as if they were saying, “Everything will be okay.”

I still see a pair of cardinals from time to time landing close to my feet or directly outside the window. They have shown up on my son’s wedding day, at a granddaughter’s birthday gathering, and during an eleven-day power outage after a severe ice storm. At such moments, I smile and simply say, “Hi, Mom and Dad.”