Nursing Igor

She was once the head of Labour and Delivery at North York General Hospital...probably delivered as many, if not more, babies than the doctors.

After finding herself at the epicentre of the SARS crisis, she opted for an early retirement.

Now by this time, Terry had nursed, that includes IV and dialysis procedures, both a beloved cat named Moonie and a great big black dog named Snoop.

A revered nurse whose students she trained and colleagues she worked with, keep in touch to this day,

She is my oldest and dearest friend whom I met while working at the Red and White grocery store as high school students more than 40 years ago.

Christmas Eve parties in her parents rec room with her dad tending bar, we dressed alike, wore the same size, dated boys who drove the same sports cars and marvelled at how much we had/have in common: one of three sisters; would give birth to one son and inevitably, though we ended up living more than 90 minutes away from each other, would discover we had the same living room carpet and had bought the same dress on sale at Winners.

Our lives went separate ways during first marriages and career demands but today we live (part-time for me) four doors down from each other in cottage country. Our sons are grown, we have found our life partners and enjoy paddling down the lake for visits on hot, sunny days and cross-country skiing when the temperature plummets on a gorgeous frozen landscape.

We have shared life triumphs and tragedies...she more than I.

There were days when life seemed senseless and almost unbearable.

We propped each other up....and looked for the small joys, when one flew....or rather fell into her life.

A tiny newborn bird, tumbled from its nest, discovered by her son, featherless, near death.

He rushed it to his Mom....the nurse.

With her finger nail she pried open its tiny beak, feeding it pureed chicken every 20 minutes around the clock.

She folded the tiny broken creature into a sock, held it to her breast while she watched TV.

Six weeks later Igor regales me by treadmilling on a roll of toilet paper...he/she is a saucy little character playfully landing on our heads and pecking at our watches and rings.

We discover starlings are known for their intelligence; their ability to learn to talk and interact with humans.

Igor flies around the sunroom, and broke free one day when he/she figured out how to open his/her cage door while on the back deck.

Igor, Iggy for short, flew off

to the lilac bushes and had rounded the corner

towards the road; hearts stopped for a few short seconds before he/she flew back to the porch and...back to his/her cage.

Terry smiles telling the story and we marvel at this tiny bird brain which isn't so tiny after all , it seems.

For two hours, along with her husband and her dear dad, up for a visit from the nursing home he now calls home, we laugh at the antics of this little spirit.

Life's trials and tribulations and almost overwhelming challenges are forgotten.

Terry says she feels like her old carefree and happy self again.

One day we will learn if Iggy is a boy or a girl.

In the meantime, when you consider starlings can live for 30 years, well that's a lot of smiles and moments of pure, unbridled feathery joy.

And now we marvel at the incredibly unbelievable yet undeniable power of a near broken tiny being to give purpose, offer hope, dry up tears, release us from stresses far greater than we can ever imagine and...make us smile.