On Eagles’ Wings was the closing hymn of our baby granddaughter’s funeral earlier this year. The song – it’s melody and lyric – always touches my heart, but on that day it was especially poignant.
Little Olivia came to us several months early, too early to sustain life on her own for long. But we were able to see her and hold her for a couple of hours. The time with her was a gift.
Olivia’s small family came from across the country to attend her funeral mass. Afterwards, as we were all standing outside the church, not wanting our time together to end – we’d said multiple goodbyes already; we seemed to be waiting for something special, something significant to release us and send us on our way – someone looked up in the sky and saw an eagle flying above, not far off. It circled a couple of times, then flew away.
Eagles are not uncommon where we live. But they are not so common that we don’t all point them out whenever we see one. On this day we remarked with awe of the beauty of this image, this seeming coincidence after having just sung the song for Olivia.
A few weeks later Olivia’s mother and father visited the cemetery where they had decided they would eventually bring Olivia’s ashes to be buried. She would soon get to rest next to her great grandfather’s and great grandmother’s graves.
The cemetery is beautiful. And her great grandparents’ graves are in an especially beautiful spot, atop a hill toward the back. The hill overlooks the valley below with a large snow-capped mountain sitting majestically off in the distance.
While Olivia’s parents were visiting their grandparents’ graves that day, as they stood looking up into the sky, they saw two eagles circling nearby. As they watched, a third, smaller eagle flew to meet the first two. All three circled a bit and then flew away together.