A few weeks ago, my fiance lost his brother, my good friend lost her husband, and my new friends lost their son/brother/friend. We drove way out East to Eager, Arizona to celebrate his life and remember our sweet Kimmel.

Throughout this sad time, I was reminded of other special people in my life who have passed on, Darrell's mom, Lottie Faye, his brother, Jojo Black, and my Grandma Pat (just to name a few). Each death was very sad and traumatic and not one was easier to handle than the other. However, I have heard so many stories and have had my own experiences that finding peace in our losses almost instantly comes when a bird comes and visits. On her last days of fighting cancer, my grandma would tell us, "When you see a dove from above it will be me with love." 

On our trip home from Eager, we decided to take a detour through the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. A brief stop at the Visitors’ Center came with a strong recommendation to visit the "Blue Mesa" scenic view. As we circled this view a large raven landed and perched upon the sign.  We parked and enjoyed his company... our 3 daughters giggled, saying "I've never seen a wild bird get so close to us!"  I loved hearing their laughter after all of the sadness we had experienced over the days prior and I couldn't help but think of my special bond with Kimmel.  He had asked me so many times to give him photography tips and I remember him mentioning how pretty the scenery was where he lived. I was happy to capture that bird "enjoying the view."

This photograph is more than just an image of a bird, a sign, and the Painted Desert. It's a story of how one can find peace through the memory of a friend.  Through the advice of my grandma and the love of God, it is now easy for me to see that we all have a special way to stop and visit with those we have loved and lost. When you're feeling sad and missing your friend/family - take a moment to stop and talk to them. They are always with you - seen or not.

By: Jennifer OBoyle