The Birdies

A Father's Story
by LLoyd Glenn

On July 22nd I was enroute to Washington, DC for a business trip. It was all
so very ordinary, until we landed in Denver for a plane change. As I
collected my belongings from the overhead bin, an announcement was made for
Mr. Lloyd Glenn to see the United Customer Service Representative
immediately. I thought nothing of it until I reached the door to leave the
plane, and I heard a gentleman asking every male if they were Mr Glenn. At
this point I knew something was wrong and my heart sunk. When I got off the
plane a solemn-faced young man came toward me and said, "Mr. Glenn, there is
an emergency at your home. I do not know what the emergency is, or who is
involved, but I will take you to the phone so you can call the hospital."

My heart was now pounding, but the will to be calm took over. Woodenly, I
followed this stranger to the distant telephone where I called the number he
gave me for the Mission Hospital. My call was put through to the trauma
center where I learned that my three-year-old son had been trapped
underneath the automatic garage door for several minutes, and that when my
wife had found him he was dead.

CPR had been performed by a neighbor, who is a doctor, and the paramedics
had continued the treatment as Brian was transported to the hospital. By the
time of my call, Brian was revived and they believed he would live, but they
did not know how much damage had been done to his brain, nor to his heart.
They explained that the door had completely closed on his little sternum
right over his heart. He had been severely crushed. After speaking with the
medical staff, my wife sounded worried but not hysterical, and I took
comfort in her calmness.

The return flight seemed to last forever, but finally I arrived at the
hospital six hours after the garage door had come down. When I walked into
the intensive care unit, nothing could have prepared me to see my little son
laying so still on a great big bed with tubes and monitors everywhere. He
was on respirator. I glanced at my wife who stood and tried to give me a
reassuring smile. It all seemed like a terrible dream.

I was filled-in with the details and given a guarded prognosis. Brian was
going to live, and the preliminary tests indicated that his heart was OK,
two miracles in and of themselves. But only time would tell if his brain
received any damage. Throughout the seemingly endless hours, my wife was
calm. She felt that Brian would eventually be all right. I hung on to her
words and faith like a lifeline.

All that night and the next day Brian remained unconscious. It seemed like
forever since I had left for my business trip the day before. Finally at two
o'clock that afternoon, our son regained consciousness and sat up uttering
the most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken. He said, "Daddy hold me"
and he reached for me with his little arms.

By the next day he was pronounced as having no neurological or physical
deficits, and the story of his miraculous survival spread throughout the
hospital. You cannot imagine we took Brian home, we felt a unique reverence
for the life and love of our Heavenly Father that comes to those who brush
death so closely..

In the days that followed there was a special spirit about our home. Our two
older children were much closer to their little brother. My wife and I were
much closer to each other, and all of us were very close as a whole family.
Life took on a less stressful pace. Perspective seemed to be more focused,
and balance much easier to gain and maintain. We felt deeply blessed. Our
gratitude was truly profound.

Almost a month later to the day of the accident, Brian awoke from his
afternoon nap and said, "Sit down Mommy. I have something to tell you." At
this time in his life, Brian usually spoke in small phrases, so to say a
large sentence surprised my wife. She sat down with him on his bed, and he
began his sacred and remarkable story.

"Do you remember when I got stuck under the garage door? Well, it was so
heavy and it hurt really bad. I called to you, but you couldn't hear me. I
started to cry, but then it hurt too bad. And then the 'birdies' came."

"The birdies?" my wife asked puzzled.

"Yes," he replied. "The birdies made a whooshing sound and flew into the
garage. They took care of me."
"They did?"
"Yes," he said. "one of the birdies came and got you. She came to tell you I
got stuck under the door." A sweet reverent feeling filled the room. The
spirit was so strong and yet lighter than air. My wife realized that a
three-year-old had no concept of death and spirits, so he was referring to
the beings who came to him from beyond as "birdies" because they were up in
the air like birds that fly.
"What did the birdies look like?" she asked..
Brian answered, "They were so beautiful. They were dressed in white, all
white. Some of them had green and white. But some of them had on just
white." "Did they say anything?" "Yes," he answered. "They told me the baby
would be all right." "The baby?" my wife asked confused..
Brian answered. "The baby laying on the garage floor." He went on, "You came
out and opened the garage door and ran to the baby. You told the baby to
stay and not leave." My wife nearly collapsed upon hearing this, for she had
indeed gone and knelt beside Brian's body and seeing his crushed chest
whispered, "Don't leave us Brian, please stay if you can." As she listened
to Brian telling her the words she had spoken, she realized that the spirit
had left his body and was looking down from above on this little lifeless
form. "Then what happened?" she asked.. "We went on a trip." he said, "Far,
far away."

He grew agitated trying to say the things he didn't seem to have the words
for. My wife tried to calm and comfort him, and let him know it would be
okay. He struggled with wanting to tell something that obviously was very
important to him, but finding the words was difficult. "We flew so fast up
in the air. They're so pretty Mommy," he added. "And there are lots and lots
of birdies." My wife was stunned. Into her mind the sweet comforting spirit
enveloped her more soundly, but with an urgency she had never before known.

Brian went on to tell her that the "birdies" had told him that he had to
come back and tell everyone about the "birdies." He said they brought him
back to the house and that a big fire truck, and an ambulance were there. A
man was bringing the baby out on a white bed and he tried to tell the man
that the baby would be okay, but the man couldn't hear him. He said the
birdies told him he had to go with the ambulance, but they would be near
him. He said they were so pretty and so peaceful, and he didn't want to come
back. Then the bright light came. He said that the light was so bright and
so warm, and he loved the bright light so much. Someone was in the bright
light and put their arms around him, and told him, "I love you but you have
to go back. you have to play baseball, and tell everyone about the birdies.
"Then the person in the bright light kissed him and waved bye-bye. Then
woosh, the big sound came and they went into the clouds.

The story went on for an hour. He taught us that "birdies" were always with
us, but we don't see them because we look with our eyes and we don't hear
them because we listen with our ears. But they are always there, you can
only see them in here ( he put his hand over his heart ) . They whisper the
things to help us to do what is right because they love us so much.

Brian continued, stating, "I have a plan, Mommy. You have a plan. Daddy has
a plan. Everyone has a plan. We must all live our plan and keep our
promises. The birdies help us to do that cause they love us so much."

In the weeks that followed, he often came to us and told all, or part of it,
again and again. Always the story remained the same. The details were never
changed or out of order. A few times he added further bits of information
and clarified the message he had already delivered. It never ceased to amaze
us how he could tell such detail and speak beyond his ability when he talked
about his birdies. Everywhere he went, he told strangers about the
"birdies." Surprisingly, no one ever looked at him strangely when he did
this. Rather, they always got a softened look on their face and smiled.

Needless to say, we have not been the same ever since that day, and I pray
we never will be.