I first saw a Cardinal back in 1994 in the parking lot of AOL headquarters in Tyson's Corner VA and was thrilled! I wasn't yet an official "birder," but seeing the Cardinal inspired me to devote more time to bird watching, and within a few years I was following the birder message boards and skipping work to pursue rarities.
Later I learned that when a Cardinal appears, an angel is near.
When those I love lose someone close, I send them a Cardinal memorial item. The specific item varies, but the sentiment is the same. When my husband died, they returned the favor and that gave me comfort.
Well, except that I've never lived in an area that has Cardinals.
I found myself so so sad that I would not have a real live Cardinal to let me know when Jeff was near. I told myself that maybe here the Stellar's Jay could be a stand-in. But it's not quite the same. Alternatively, switching species, I wondered if Buck--my favorite local male deer--could be the one who shows up when Jeff is near....because Buck and I always share a big kiss on the nose when he drops by. Maybe it's a kiss from Jeff?
OK, maybe not.
You can buy the Cardinal greeting card here. It's 5-1/2" square on premium heavyweight 16pt cardstock.