Ducks Galore


We had it all. It was a winter that just wouldn’t quit. Snow drifts and slick ice. Dark nights and darker days. And I couldn’t find within that kindly fire of Spirit to lift me up and warm my hands.  Midwest Winter Blues? Feeling thrown out like an empty grocery bag, all alone and worthless, drifting along the highway of life while everyone speeds by. That was about it, for my communication trip. Zero. Mood not good.

Then came the ducks. Oh, those ducks that I so love. Mom, it was almost two years ago that together we filed your forwarding address to God. I didn’t want to, but I respected your wishes to go on and live again. And the Angels came.

Today I drove over to Jamestown, out into the country – God’s country. Blue skies streaked with white clouds painted by the great artist Himself….I felt at ease. Finally. Finally, I felt at ease. Finally, instead of waking up early in a cold sweat. Instead of feeling ill at ease and quivering inside my own skin, smiling while waiting for approval. Finally, hearing the sounds of silence as I thought of my college roommate, who had recently died. Finally understanding that I produce my own anxieties much of the time. Finally – I’ve stared the enemy down…and the enemy is ME.

I remember that night of your passing over, Mom. Never will I forget it. Strong, blustery winds. Kind people who wheeled you out of your earthly room on a steel cart. My taking time with you. Telling myself not to feel guilty for taking time with your earthly body that no longer held life of any kind. I stayed right there beside you. I worried that I stayed too long…but I stayed just long enough with you to love you just a little bit longer. God approved of us, we two.

Time went by. I cried my tears and let my heart flood. Then I called my brother to tell him that our time together was finally up. Al’s voice was so soothing to me. I knew he stood strong beside me. You always wanted us both to stay close, Mom, and so we shall. Al’s attitude, too, was to celebrate you. Dad was waiting for you, there in Heaven. Without him, none of this would have been possible. Dad and I sat like stones on ice-logged lakes, catching fish that you would cook up with pepper, and then you added French fries to make the family dinner taste so-o good.

My life has been a bit of a stress mess lately…THANKS to me. (I won’t pack my guilt bags, quite yet.) Heeding your coaching on your life-bed, I have chosen to take the road less traveled; a road that will bring healing, adventure, wealth, and health to anyone who ventures to go there. Today, too, was the first day of spring, 2009. I’m a little older now, a little more settled in my own skin, not needing the love and approval of others to make me strong.

Mom, sometimes I am brokenhearted and fractured into a million separate pieces. I was just ready to give up and stop daring to care, when you sent the duck brigade. You told me that fowl, such as ducks, just let the bad moods roll off their backs like damp and dreary, foul weather. You are a DECENT soul, Mom, who condemned no one, especially nice guys like me (good people) who sometimes feel bad, blue, burdened, beaten, or bewildered.

And so today, as a reminder, you sent me the duck brigade. Not just one pair of ducks, but two pair of – no, three – no, wait – four sets of ducks….All told, with all their quacking, 13 pair of ducks to let me know what I was to do. What a lucky number. Thirteen.

Wish I could be with you there right now, Mom. Who knows – just suppose I am on a long-distance phone call with you? I love you, Mom. Give my love to Dad, who protected us all with his life, all his life long…just like the lighthouses during stormy times, blazing their bright lights, guiding us all home.

Right now, I am hearing the calls of all those ducks, seeking to settle into the safe night. The killdeer, too, are talking to me about you and higher powers.

Ducks galore. Don’t worry! Blessings abound!

I will continue to Dare To Care. When life throws you hurts, continue to swerve, on the two-way communication highway.


Dr. Dennis O’Grady is the founder of New Insights Communication, a coaching and relationship counseling practice located in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Dennis O’Grady is the author of three works, the most recent being Talk to Me: Communication Moves to Get Along with Anyone, which is a communication training book. Dr. Dennis O’Grady is a corporate trainer, keynote speaker and motivational speaker. His executive coaching and business consulting programs are targeted at the areas of leadership development, communication, change management and conflict resolution.

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