Bluebirds, which were his wife's favorite, are a symbol of joy and happiness.

By Kelly Vaughan
December 20, 2019

Grieving the loss of a loved one is never easy, but one man has found a way to turn his pain into good. Ron Rudolph lost his wife, Pat, of 35 years to brain cancer in 2018 and decided to honor her life by creating bluebird houses. The birds, which were Pat's favorite, are a symbol of joy and happiness. After his wife's funeral, Ron struggled with anxiety and had trouble sleeping. During one restless night, he got up and went to his woodshop where he began building birdhouses. "I had no idea what I was doing. No idea at all," Ron told CBS Minnesota.

Larry Keller/Getty Images

After Ron had created dozens of bluebird houses, his daughter, Kristy Boike, started selling them on Facebook's Marketplace. Thanks to the power of social media, Facebook users started reaching out to request more and more bluebird houses. "My dad needed something to keep his heart, hands, and mind busy," Kristy told Today.

Since starting his project in 2018, Ron and his family—including Kristy's four children and Ron's 90-year-old father—have created more than 3,000 bluebird houses. Buyers often tell Ron that they're purchasing a birdhouse in honor of someone that they have lost, too.

Related: A Guide to Bird Seed and Other Foods—Plus, Which Species Each Will Attract

"I feel like our grief process has been catapulted forward by being surrounded so many people who have been touched by the loss and can share in that pain," Kristy shared with Today.

Pat is still the driving force behind Ron's work—he keeps a framed photograph of her in his woodshop. The bluebird houses come with a blue plaque that reads "Made By Ron Rudolph, In Loving Memory of his Wife, Pat."

A portion of the proceeds from the birdhouse sales go to Our Lady of Peace, a non-profit hospice care center where Pat spent her final weeks. Visit Rudolph's Bluebird Houses on Facebook to learn more and purchase a birdhouse.

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