Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My Loki

Many of my friends don't even know Loki from his early years, when he would fly around my room, climb out of his cage to come sleep on top of my (still sleeping) head. He would preen my arm hairs. He did interesting things on the bathroom towel-rack... He chewed up my book spines and my antique wood dresser... He sang with me, he snuggled with me, he listened to me as I went through all the wonders and hell of being a teenager.
Losing him now is kind of like putting a lid on my childhood...
For the sake of "history" and his place in my life, I suppose I should post my announcement of Loki's death. Most of you who are my friends have already read this... And at the end are some photos of my little Loki-Lokster. *sigh*
---Dated 1/10/06 @ 11:30 PM---
My beloved Loki died tonight... in my hands. He would have been 20 years old next month on Valentine's Day. I got him when he was 9 weeks old from my good friend's Dad, who bred cockatiels. He knew all my secrets growing up -- he was a constant sound in the background... I thought he had another 10 years in him. I've always been so afraid of this day... not knowing what to expect or what would happen. I've always read and been told that birds generally don't show any signs of sickness or impending death until it just... happens. And that's pretty much how it happened tonight. All I can say is I'm sooooooo eternally grateful that we were home... that I was holding him... that we were with him and we know what happened. Peter and I had been downstairs in the basement for 2 hours tonight, taking turns on the exercise bike while watching TV. We never would have heard anything from Loki from down there. We came upstairs at about 10:20 PM, and at about 10:45, Loki fell ill. I'm thinking it was probably a heart attack, but there's no way to be sure (beyond an autopsy, which I don't feel the need for). He fell from his perch to the floor of his cage -- something he does all the time and it's very weird but normal for cockatiels to do that in their sleep. Honestly, I don't know if he was sleeping when it happened, or if he was awake... Peter went to his cage to see that he was okay, but he wasn't able to stand up. His wings were outstretched sort of to catch himself... but he couldn't stand up. Peter called me over from the computer and I hesitated in getting up. Partly because I figured it was nothing, but partly because I felt dread and denial and didn't want to know something was wrong... I picked him up into my hands and it was so strange that he couldn't stand up on my hand. He just sort of rested in the cup of my right hand, and his feathers and wings were sort of poofed out a little bit. He was breathing really hard -- panting. I didn't know what to do for him. I tried dipping my finger and a paper towel in water and putting it by his beak, but he wasn't interested. He was alert, but not moving... he was very focused on his breathing. I could feel his little heart just pounding out of his chest against the palm of my hand. At this point, I knew he was dying... I couldn't realistically see him recovering from this attack... I felt very helpless. I kept petting him gently and reassuring him. It reminded me of when I held him for 2 hours repeating "it's ok" to him after a big middle-of-the-night earthquake back in like 1988 or 89. Meanwhile, Peter was on the phones trying to track down an emergency vet specializing in birds and he finally found one. While they were talking, Loki had some sort of seizure or something. It was kind of like in the movies when someone has some weird jolt of movement and then dies. Loki stood up, sort of, and stretched his wings, and his claws gripped me tightly, and then... he just... passed away... and fell gently back into my hand. It was totally surreal. The whole thing from when he fell until when he died was less than 10 minutes. Maybe even less than 5... we're not sure. Poor Sammi didn't know what was going on, but when I started crying, she was whining and running around trying to help. After my moment of hysteria passed and Peter hung up the phone on the specialist, I just kept holding Loki for at least 30 minutes. I just didn't want to put him down, knowing I'd never hold him again. And, now he's in the refrigerator. We made space by moving out his food containers... how ironic is that?

I miss him already. I miss his little noises, running back and forth across his cage, batting his swing around, and his inane banging of his head into the ground. And of course, his singing and greetings when we'd come into the room. First thing when I walk into the house when I get home, I say "hi Loki!" and he'll chirp and sing in response. In the morning, when one of us pulls his cover off the cage, he'd always greet us with a cheerful chirp to say HI.

I know people don't think birds are much for pets, but he was my boy -- for such a huge chunk of my life. I found his name in my 7th grade history book -- "Loki: the Norse God of Fire, and a mischief maker."

Please do me a favor to honor Loki...
The next time you see a bird singing... whistle for Loki... my little mischief maker...

Goodnight Loki... I love you!

No comments:

Post a Comment