My sweet little lovebird, Yuuki, died at the end of last week. His health had been declining over the past few months and though he seemed to be recovering from a recent stroke, on Friday morning things suddenly took a turn for the worse. He suffered a series of seizures that took his life. I was home at the time, a bit of timing for which I am extremely grateful, and I held him as his tiny life ebbed away.
I am deeply saddened by this loss because though Yuuki was just a small bird he’s been a big part of me for the past ten years. He came into my life as a shy and skittish ten week old who was terrified of people, especially their hands. He was a green peach-faced lovebird at the time, and through some form of magic eventually changed his colour to bright yellow. As he grew older it was beautiful to see him develop a much bolder, cheekier, and goofier personality, but always with a sweet temperament.
Yuuki made the move from Ontario to Vancouver with me, tucked into a small travel cage as we flew across the country. (His longest flight ever!) He made it feel more like home while I adjusted to life in a new place, and we were never far apart in my series of tiny apartments.
He loved to stand on people’s heads (especially mine) because it was the best way to be social and have a good view of the action. He loved splashing in water and would make do with the tiniest drinking glass if he could stick his head into it. Yuuki was completely obsessed with the fish bowl when we had goldfish and would perch on the edge drinking and splashing in the water oblivious to the fish.
After Boris and I moved in together we had the habit of allowing Yuuki to hang out at the table with us during meals. He would inspect the plates for imaginary crumbs, and sometimes attempt to bathe in our mugs of coffee and tea. He was always very bossy with Boris, biting at his hand and reminding him of his status of low bird in the flock.
As Yuuki’s health declined his colour began to change from yellow to red, which was an indication of issues with his liver. He also lost the ability to fly, and after the stroke he became really uncoordinated with his footing. He wasn’t the same independent little bird anymore, and wanted to sit and cuddle into my neck or be held constantly. I hated seeing him this way and though his loss is devastating, I’m glad he didn’t have go on like this indefinitely.
Boris helped me bury Yuuki in a lovely spot in the back garden of Anne and Horst’s place on Bowen Island. I couldn’t imagine leaving him anywhere else but there.
There are many people who met Yuuki over the years, or became familiar with him through Flickr and Instagram. I would love to hear from you if you have a special memory or funny story about Yuuki. It would be a small comfort as I continue to grieve.