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A Father’s Day Tribute to my Dad ~ The Flight of the Pheasant

Updated: Mar 21

My dad passed away suddenly of a heart attack in April of 2012.  A few days later I had a dream about him in which he was joking and laughing.  He had always been a jokester and it was wonderful to see him that way again as the last few years of his life had been difficult.

I had asked for a sign from his spirit, and my husband, Rod said he saw a pheasant on our farm soon afterwards. This was remarkable because in the twelve years we had lived on the farm, we had heard a single male pheasant occasionally but never seen him. But I didn’t see the pheasant so I couldn’t be sure the message was for me.

The next day Rod and I were going to dinner, and we got in the car and sat in the driveway for a few moments, talking. I was remarking about Dad’s upcoming memorial.  I was talking about wishing that our family challenges had enabled us all to be together in different circumstances.

As Rod started the car and we turned out of the driveway, the male pheasant suddenly appeared, gliding with wings outstretched, about 8 feet above the ground directly in front of our car.  He was crossing from our neighbor’s yard over their high wire fence, into our pasture where he landed and proceeded to feed  The vision was stunning, with the light of the setting sun illuminating his wings and his long beautiful tail.  The timing of the conversation and the sign was so clear to me that I couldn’t mistake it, and I realized with a smile that Dad would be there at his memorial to witness us all celebrating his life.  I realized it was only when I looked with a limited perspective that I thought he wasn’t near; because he was in the call of the pheasant and the light through its beautiful wings.

Four years later in 2016 I received another confirmation of messages from Spirit. Since that first sighting we had only rarely seen the male pheasant during those years and I often remarked I wished he could find a mate. When my father died in 2012 he was survived by his wife Donna who had been admitted into a nursing home with a sudden onset of Alzheimer’s. One morning in May I saw a large bird under the bird feeder and realized with surprise it was a female pheasant. I was so pleased that there was now a female in our neighborhood.

Later that same morning, I received the news that my step mother had passed away.  I knew then that the message was from her. I emailed Donna’s son Bill and his wife Anne to share the story of the pheasant.  Anne wrote back with the following note:

Dear Kim

I loved hearing about the pheasants in the lovely card you sent. When I looked at the picture just now, I recalled that yesterday morning, shortly after Donna passed, (but before I knew that she had), I was teaching my 1st graders how to spell words with “ph” in them. We spent a great deal of time on the word “pheasant”, and we were all drawing pheasants on our whiteboards. 30 first graders drawing pheasants. Yesterday morning around 10:00 am. Wow.

Our female pheasant Phryne (after molting her tail feathers)

She continued to visit for many months


Dear Dad, As I grew up I lost you for awhile, but then I found you again,

and discovered you were there, all along.

I love you, 


“A child looks up at the stars and wonders. Great fathers put a child on his shoulders and helps them to grab a star.”– Reed Markham

Teaching the Steps of the Dance 1974

Jim and Kim 2003

Dad meeting Darma for the first time in 2009

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