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As one who lost a beloved child 20 years ago after his sweet life of seven years, and as a birdwatcher myself, I loved your analogy. I also appreciated your deep understanding of how even the cowbird sometimes has needs unseen by others to care for other young, perform other duties, etc. I was a mockingbird in the early years of my son's frequent hospitalizations; in the final years, as I tried to balance life at the hospital in another state with life three hours away at home, I probably became more of a bluebird and occasionally was forced to be a cowbird. The bluebird role for the most part is a good one, although in retrospect I have to say that there were moments in those final years when I should have let the mockingbird back in. In saying that, I mean that I wish I had known more then about patients' rights and about palliative care. Considering what he endured (a rare hereditary disease), Andrew had a good though short life with parents and providers who loved him. But palliative care might have given him a softer pillow for his journey...
As a postscript, I have to always smile about the mockingbird. I got to know one well on the Gulf Coast after Katrina: we worked out of a trailer for one long spring, a trailer parked unfortunately close to a lone remaining shrub in the flattened town of Biloxi. A mother mockingbird succeeded in raising a brood in that shrub and everytime I left the trailer, she nosedived me! Yes, the mockingbird is quite fierce:)

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